Change Management/Adjustment Disorder
Adjustment disorder is a short-term condition that occurs when a person has great difficulty coping with, or adjusting to, a particular source of stress, such as a major life change, loss, or event.
The type of stress that can trigger an adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome varies depending on the person, but can include:
What Are the Symptoms of an Adjustment Disorder/Stress Response Syndrome?
An adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome can have a wide variety of symptoms that are changes from someone’s usual self, which may include:
Symptoms in children and teens tend to be more behavioural in nature, such as skipping school, fighting, or acting out. Adults, on the other hand, tend to experience more emotional symptoms, such as sadness and anxiety.
How Common Is an Adjustment Disorder/Stress Response Syndrome?
Adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome is very common and can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, or lifestyle. Although an adjustment disorder can occur at any age, it is more common at times in life when major transitions occur, such as adolescence, mid-life, and late-life.
How Do I Find Out if I Have an Adjustment Disorder/Stress Response Syndrome?
If you suspect you may have an adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome, see your doctor. If symptoms are present, your doctor may perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical and mental health history.
How Is an Adjustment Disorder/Stress Response Syndrome Treated?
Psychotherapy (a type of counselling) is the most common treatment for adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome. Therapy helps the person understand how the stressor has affected his or her life. It also helps the person develop better coping skills. Support groups can also be helpful by allowing the person to discuss his or her concerns and feelings with people who are coping with the same stress. In some cases, short-term medication may be used to help control anxiety symptoms or sleeping problems.
If you have symptoms of adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome, it is very important that you seek medical care. Adjustment disorders also can sometimes turn into major depressive episodes in people who are at risk for developing mood disorders. Plus, you may develop a substance abuse problem if you turn to alcohol or drugs to help you cope with stress and anxiety.
Can an Adjustment Disorder/Stress Response Syndrome Be Prevented?
There is no known way to prevent adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome. However, strong family and social support can help a person work through a particularly stressful situation or event. The best prevention is early treatment, which can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms, and teach new coping skills