Adjustment Disorder

What is adjustment disorder?

Following a life stressor, such as divorce, bereavement, illness or work stress it is normal to go through a period of adjustment. Most of the time people adjust to these changes within a few months, but for some people it can cause on-going distress and begin to cause emotional and behavioural disturbances. An adjustment disorder is a short-term disorder that can be diagnosed if the symptoms occur within 3 months of the identifiable stressor. They rarely last more than 6 months but can lead to more significant mood and behavioural changes if not addressed.

What are the symptoms?

An adjustment disorder can have a wide variety of symptoms that are changes from someone’s usual self, which may include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Sadness
  • Worry/anxiety
  • Withdrawal/social isolation from people and social activities
  • Change in appetite, either loss of appetite or over eating
  • Problems sleeping
  • Feeling tired and having no energy
  • Increase in the use of alcohol or drugs to manage symptoms
  • Headaches or stomach aches 

What are the therapies that can help? 

Related issues


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