What is Adjustment Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Adjustment disorder is the intense reaction to traumatic and stressful events. Those stressors could be health changes, job problems, relationship issues, and other positive and negative events in life. Today, we’ll discuss what is adjustment disorder; its symptoms, causes, types, and treatment.

What is Adjustment Disorder? 

Adjustment disorder comprises a group of conditions that can occur when it’s difficult for you to manage the stressful events of life. Those events could be like being fired from the job, relationship issues, or the death of a closed person. When we all experience stress in our lives, some people have difficulty managing those stressors.

The incapability of a person to manage stressful events would cause many psychological symptoms and sometimes physical symptoms. The adjustment disorder has got six types, and every type exhibits different types of symptoms. It could impact both children and adults equally.

Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder 

The psychological and physical symptoms relevant to the adjustment disorders usually happen during or immediately after the stressful events. The symptoms don’t persist for more than six months; the symptoms would persist if the stressful events (stressors) are there. Some people would experience only one type of symptom and others would experience many.

Psychological Symptoms

Some of the main psychological symptoms of adjustment disorder are as follows;

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Lower self-esteem
  • Limited focus and concentration
  • Withdrawing attitude
  • Crying
  • Feeling trapped, hopeless, and sadness
  • Anxiousness
  • Impulsive actions and rebellious

Physical Symptoms

  • Indigestion
  • Soreness or body pain
  • Fatigue
  • Trembling or muscles twitches
  • Insomnia

Types of Adjustment Disorder 

Some of the main types of adjustment disorder (AD) are as follows;

AD with Depressed Disorder

It’s a type of AD where people experience feelings and emotions of hopelessness and sadness. It has relevance and association with crying and weeping. You would find that you don’t enjoy activities that you used to in the past.

AD with Anxiety

It’s a type of AD where you would experience the symptoms of anxiety like worrisome, anxious, and overwhelming feelings. People with this type of disorder would have difficulty with memory and focusing. Usually, the diagnosis has got associated with separation anxiety from their parents and loved ones among children.

AD with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood

People with this type of AD would experience the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

AD with Disturbance of Conduct

It is a type of AD comprising of behavioral issues like starting a fight and recklessness driving. Teenagers with this type of condition would engage in vandalizing property and stealing activities; they also miss their schools and classes.

AD with Mixed Disturbance of Emotions & conduct

It’s a type of AD that exhibits the symptoms of behavioral issues, anxiety, and depression.

AD Unspecified

It is a type of AD where you exhibit symptoms that don’t have any type of association and link with other types of AD. Often, it comprises physical symptoms and problems with friends and family members in the school or workplace.

Causes of Adjustment Disorder 

Various types of stressful events would cause the development of adjustment disorders. Some of them are as follows;

  • Fears of financial problems
  • Sudden disasters
  • Moving to a new place or house
  • Health issues or sickness with someone you’re very closed to
  • Major changes in life
  • Divorce or relationship issues
  • Death of a friend or family member

Some of the main causes among teenagers and children are as follows;

  • Anxiety over sexuality
  • Having problems in the school
  • Problems and fights with family

Diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder 

A person should meet the following criteria for the diagnosis of adjustment disorder;

  • Symptoms aren’t caused by other diagnoses
  • After removing the stressors, the patient would experience improvements
  • Going through a very stressful situation and they’re relevant to the stressors like problems with work, school, or relationship
  • Exhibiting behavioral and psychological symptoms within 3 months of recognizable symptoms

Treatment of Adjustment Disorder 

The treatment plan for adjustment disorder comprises medication, therapy, or a combination of both. They’re as follows;


The medicines would help people with AD condition to deal with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Your doctor would suggest the following medicines;

  • SNRIs or SSRIs like Sertraline
  • Nonbenzodiazepine anxiolytics
  • Benzodiazepine


Therapeutic treatment is the primary treatment approach for dealing with adjustment disorder. The therapy would help you to return to your normal life. Your therapist offers you the required emotional support and helps in dealing with the symptoms. Some of the main therapeutic approaches that your doctor would suggest are as follows;

  • Interpersonal psychotherapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Support group
  • Group and family therapies
  • Crisis interventions
  • Psychotherapy or counseling  

Conclusion: What is Adjustment Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is adjustment disorder; its symptoms, causes, types, diagnosis, and treatment; we have realized that AD could badly disturb your life. If you’re experiencing its symptoms; then you should consult with a therapist and work on a treatment plan.