Adjustment disorders are a group of conditions that can occur when you have difficulty coping with a stressful life event. These can include the death of a loved one, relationship issues, or being fired from work. While everyone encounters stress, some people have trouble handling certain stressors.

The inability to adjust to the stressful event can cause one or more severe psychological symptoms and sometimes even physical symptoms. There are six types of adjustment disorders, each type with distinct symptoms and signs.

Adjustment disorders can affect both adults and children.

These disorders are treated with therapy, medication, or a combination of both. With help, you can usually recover from an adjustment disorder quickly. The disorder typically doesn’t last more than six months, unless the stressors persists.

The mental and physical symptoms associated with adjustment disorder usually occur during or immediately after you experience a stressful event. While the disorder lasts no longer than six months, your symptoms may continue if the stressors isn’t removed. Some people have just one symptom. Others may experience many symptoms.

The mental symptoms of adjustment disorders can include:

  • rebellious or impulsive actions

  • anxiousness

  • feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or being trapped

  • crying

  • withdrawn attitude

  • lack of concentration

  • loss of self-esteem

  • suicidal thoughts

 

There is one type of adjustment disorder that is associated with physical symptoms as well as psychological ones. These physical symptoms can include:

  • insomnia

  • muscle twitches or trembling

  • fatigue

  • body pain or soreness

  • indigestion

A variety of stressful events can cause an adjustment disorder.

Some common causes in adults include:

  • death of a family member or friend

  • relationship issues or divorce

  • major life changes

  • illness or a health issue (in you or someone you’re close with)

  • moving to a new house or place

  • sudden disasters

  • money troubles or fears

Typical causes in children and teenagers include:

  • family fights or problems

  • problems in school

  • anxiety over sexuality

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