Jul 01, 2009
I have been researching and have found that are aren't enough forums which discuss Adjustment Disorders specifically. I suffer from this disorder and know that support is number one in coping with it. I encourage anyone who has been diagnosed with an Adjustment Disorder (there are several) or feel that they may be experiencing the symptoms, to please follow this journal. We all need the support.
Work problems, getting married, going away to school, an illness — any number of life changes can cause stress. Most of the time, people adjust to such changes within a few months. But if you continue to feel down or self-destructive, you may have an adjustment disorder.
Adjustment disorder is a short-term condition that occurs when a person is unable to cope with, or adjust to, a particular source of stress, such as a major life change, loss or event. Because people with adjustment disorders often have symptoms of depression, such as tearfulness, feelings of hopelessness and loss of interest in work or activities, adjustment disorder is sometimes called "situational depression." Unlike major depression, however, an adjustment disorder is triggered by an outside stress and generally goes away once the person has adapted to the situation.
It is a stress-related mental illness. You may feel anxious or depressed, or even have thoughts of suicide. You may not be able to go about some of your daily routines, such as work or seeing friends. Or you may make reckless decisions. In essence, you have a hard time adjusting to change in your life, and it has serious consequences.
An adjustment disorder is characterized by the development of emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor (or stressors) occurring within 3 months of the onset of the stressor. A stressor is anything that causes a great deal of stress in the person's life. It could be a positive event, like a wedding or purchasing a new home, or a negative event, like a family member's death, the breakup of an important relationship, or loss of a job.
The signs and symptoms of adjustment disorders vary from person to person. The symptoms you have may be very different from those of someone else with an adjustment disorder. But for everyone, symptoms of an adjustment disorder begin within three months of a stressful event in your life.
Emotional symptoms of adjustment disorders
Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder may affect how you feel and think about yourself or life, including:
* Lack of enjoyment
* Crying spells
* Thoughts of suicide
* Trouble sleeping
* Difficulty concentrating
* Feeling overwhelmed
Behavioral symptoms of adjustment disorders
Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder may affect your actions or behavior, such as:
* Reckless driving
* Ignoring bills
* Avoiding family or friends
* Poor school or work performance
* Skipping school
Length of symptoms
How long you have symptoms of an adjustment disorder also can vary:
* Six months or less (acute). In these cases, symptoms may go away on their own, especially if you actively follow self-care measures.
* Longer than six months (chronic). In these cases, symptoms continue to bother you and disrupt your life. Professional treatment can help symptoms improve and prevent the condition from continuing to get worse.
When to see a doctor
Sometimes the stressful change in your life goes away, and your symptoms of adjustment disorder get better on their own. But often, the stressful event remains a part of your life. Or a new stressful situation comes up, and you face the same emotional struggles all over again.
You may think that an adjustment disorder is less serious than other mental health problems because it involves stress, but that's not necessarily true. Adjustment disorders can affect your whole life. You may feel so overwhelmed, stressed and hopeless that you can't go about your normal daily activities. You may skip work or school, for instance, or not pay your bills. You may drive dangerously or pick fights.
People with adjustment disorders also may abuse alcohol or drugs, engage in violence, and have thoughts of suicide. If you or a loved one has suicidal thoughts or is seriously considering hurting someone, seek help immediately.
Talk to your doctor if you're having trouble getting through each day. You can get treatment to help cope better with stressful events and feel better about life again.