Sometimes an individual’s reaction to life stressors or a tragic event can lead to mental health symptoms.  Therapy can help address any cognitive distortions or stop medications may also be helpful to overcome the illness.

Symptoms

Symptoms of adjustment disorder are often severe enough to affect work or social life. Symptoms include:

  • Acting defiant or showing impulsive behavior
  • Acting nervous or tense
  • Crying, feeling sad or hopeless, and possibly withdrawing from other people
  • Skipped heartbeats and other physical complaints
  • Trembling or twitching

To have adjustment disorder, you must have the following:

  • The symptoms clearly come after a stressor, most often within 3 months
  • The symptoms are more severe than would be expected
  • There do not appear to be other disorders involved
  • The symptoms are not part of normal grieving for the death of a loved one

Sometimes, symptoms can be severe and the person may have thoughts of suicide or make a suicide attempt.

Adjustment disorders

Treatment

The main goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and help you return to a similar level of functioning as before the stressful event occurred.

Most mental health professionals recommend some type of talk therapy. This type of therapy can help you identify or change your responses to the stressors in your life.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy. It can help you deal with your feelings:

  • First, the therapist helps you recognize the negative feelings and thoughts that occur.
  • Then, the therapist teaches you how to change these into helpful thoughts and healthy actions.

Other types of therapy may include:

  • Long-term therapy, where you will explore your thoughts and feelings over many months or more
  • Family therapy, where you will meet with a therapist along with your family
  • Self-help groups, where the support of others may help you get better

Medicines may be used, but only along with talk therapy. These medicines may help if you are:

  • Nervous or anxious most of the time
  • Not sleeping very well
  • Very sad or depressed