Adjustment Disorder is triggered by a stress factor – it could be divorce, a death in the family, economic crisis, or unemployment. It is not classified as a mental illness because of its short-term nature. If symptoms persist for a longer duration, it is no longer classified as an adjustment disorder.
Adjustment disorder symptoms usually appear within two to three months of the introduction of the stress-causing factor. For example, if you have just suffered from a family crisis of bereavement, you are more likely to suffer from adjustment disorder symptoms within the next three months.
The following is a list of the top five signs of adjustment disorder:
- Depression: This is one of the most common signs of adjustment disorder. Depression constitutes a series of symptoms that are easy to diagnose. Apart from gloomy mood and general anxiety, depression includes a number of other associated symptoms like insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of or increase in appetite, agitation, and easy irritability. Adjustment disorder causes other chronic anxiety syndromes that are unconnected and may get converted into a post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety are known to produce feelings of restlessness or hyperactivity. This state is usually due to some stressful incident that a person has recently experienced.
- Inability to concentrate: Some patients find it very difficult to concentrate on their daily activities. This disrupts their daily schedule and leads to an unproductive and frustrating life.
- A fluttering heart: A common adjustment disorder sign is a fluttering heart. This is a type of irregular heartbeat that is found mostly in patients who have suffered from a stressful situation.
- Boredom: A general apathy and lack of any ambition to do anything is also a symptom of this disorder.
When adjustment disorder is present with anxiety and depression, it can cause suicidal behavior. Adjustment disorder can also result in behavioral symptoms that include reckless driving, fighting, etc. Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and crisis intervention are common options for treatment in most cases of adjustment disorder.
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