is an Adjustment Disorder?
Adjustment Disorder is, as the name suggests, a problem of adjusting
to a stressful event or one of a threatening nature. The diagnosis
is not made just for general difficulties in adjusting to life but
rather, where associated symptoms are of sufficient severity to
interfere with the persons’ daily functioning, i.e. that their
work, relationships or some other important aspect of their life
is markedly affected.
What are the symptoms?
symptoms of an Adjustment Disorder can be anxiety, depression or
both. There can also be some of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD), but not the full range. The diagnosis of Adjustment
Disorder is only made when the presenting symptoms are of insufficient
intensity or range to meet the criteria for another diagnosis such
as Depression or PTSD.
How long does it last?
of Adjustment Disorder is generally only applicable for a period
of six months after the termination of a traumatic or stressful
event. However, this timescale can be longer if, for example, the
triggering event is prolonged, e.g. if the person has had to deal
with very stressful after-effects of an accident, such as ongoing
pain and disability. In such cases a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder
can be made for as long as the stressor remains present.
What is the treatment?
is mostly used. The precise techniques used will depend on the pattern
of symptoms, and on the nature of the adjustment problem. For example
if the adjustment reaction is mostly associated with a depressive
response then CBT techniques used for depression would be the treatment
of choice. If symptoms overlap with those related to a traumatic
response, such as intrusive imagery then other trauma related techniques
such as EMDR may be utilised.