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Adjustment Disorder: Latest Medical Breakthroughs

Thursday, 14 Oct 2010 02:39 PM

All of us find it difficult to adjust to new places, new people, and even new jobs and homes, but we learn to deal with it. Some of us deal with it faster, while others take somewhat longer. Adjustment Disorder (AD) is a mental condition where patients develop psychological symptoms because of a known stressful event, for three months to six months after the event has occurred.
 
The symptoms of adjustment disorder usually involve depression, anxiety, headaches, stomach aches, and destructive acts that involve reckless driving, fighting, and even vandalism. Most physicians will recommend detailed psychotherapy as an initial adjustment disorder treatment protocol. Patients are taught how to deal with the stressor and how to find alternative activities to relieve stress. Medications are not recommended as an adjustment disorder treatment. The most common adjustment disorder drugs that are prescribed to patients include Tianeptine, Alprazolam, and Mianserin, but these are usually prescribed for other clinical symptoms that underly the adjustment disorder symptoms. Most patients do recover with the right emotional, medical, and social support. However, continuing stressors like a difficult relationship can aggravate the condition.
 
 
Adjustment Disorder Research: Latest Medical Breakthroughs
There are six different kinds of adjustment disorders that are recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). Physicians will be able to diagnose the category of the disease based on clinical findings and interviews with the patient and his family and friends. As a result, adjustment disorder treatment will vary from case to case. Most physicians will focus on the use of psychotherapy to help the patient. A few of the latest methods that are recommended are:
  1. Self-help therapy techniques. These have been brought into focus over the last few years. Researchers believe that once the stressor has been resolved, most patients can be taught to deal with stressful situations to prevent a relapse. The patient is encouraged to share his or her stress with a help group comprised of individuals who are dealing with the same condition.
  1. Medications. Prescription medicine is not normally used to treat adjustment disorder. But a few patients do improve with medication and psychotherapy combined. Most patients are recommended anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications and these seem to work. With newer and better medications, researchers are trying to find the right therapy that will help patients recover faster. For example, psychotherapy combined with viloxazine (an antidepressant) and lormetazepam (a benzodiazepine), and S-adenosylmethionine seems to have had much better results in treating AD patients.(Source: De Leo D: Treatment of adjustment disorders: A comparative evaluation.) The general consensus, however, is that medication should not be started until the underlying mental condition has been diagnosed completely.
  1. Herbs. The effect of herbs on elevating mood and helping patients adapt to stress is still under research. For example, ginseng, supposed to be an adaptogenic herb, is recommended for AD cases. But there are no clinical trials to prove the efficacy of the herbs on AD. Another recent breakthrough is the use of a herbal preparation called Euphatose that seems to help patients with adjustment disorder. This herbal preparation has different combinations of herbs including Valerian and Gotu Cola.
  1. Bach Flower Remedies. These employ concentrated distillations of flower essences that are supposed to heal emotional imbalances. They have been found to be effective in controlling stress. A popular over-the-counter medication called Rescue® Remedy seems to be very effective in soothing the anxiety that characterizes adjustment disorder, but most researchers do recommend additional research.
Apart from newer methods of psychotherapy, there are other alternative medical treatments for AD that are still being researched.

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All of us find it difficult to adjust to new places, new people, and even new jobs and homes, but we learn to deal with it. Some of us deal with it faster, while others take somewhat longer. Adjustment Disorder (AD) is a mental condition where patients develop psychological...
Adjustment Disorder treatment,Adjustment Disorder drugs,Adjustment Disorder AD,Adjustment Disorder research,Adjustment Disorder breakthroughs.
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