Adjustment Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment

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Adjustment Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment

Adjustment disorder is a mental disorder that results from unhealthy responses to stressful or psychologically distressing events in life. This failure to adapt then leads to the development of emotional and behavioral symptoms. All age groups are affected by this disorder; and children have the same chance of developing the illness. While difficult to determine the causes of adjustment disorder, researchers suggest that genetics play a large part, as well as chemical changes in the brain, life experiences and mood. Some common stressor contributing to the disorder includes; the ending of a romantic relationship, loss of a job, career change, an accident, relocating to a new area or loss of a loved one. (Mayo Clinic, 2010)

An adjustment disorder causes feelings of depression, anxiousness, crying spells, sadness, desperation, lack of enjoyment, and some have reported experiencing thoughts of suicide. Additionally, the illness causes one to be unable to go about their normal routine or work and visit with friends and family. The lengths of symptoms vary from zero to six months (acute) and longer than six months (chronic). In the cases of acute adjustment disorder, symptoms can go away eventually; however, in chronic cases, symptoms begin to disrupt your life whereas, professional treatment is necessary to prevent the illness from worsening. Lastly, this disorder carries the possibility for abuse of alcohol and drugs, and eventually could result in violent behavior.

According to a report issued by Tami Benton of WebMD, “the development of emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor(s) occurs within 3 months of the onset of the stressor(s). These symptoms or behaviors are clinically significant, as evidenced by marked distress in excess of what is expected from exposure to the stressor, or significant impairment in social or occupational (academic) functioning. The...
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