Adjustment Disorder Causes & Effects

Learn About Adjustment Disorder

Learn About Adjustment Disorder & Treatment at Life Healing Center

Major life changes can include a series of events including, however not limited to, family changes, death of a loved one, migrating to another country, losing one’s possessions due to a natural disaster, or job changes. Whatever the case is, the changes that occur might cause a toll in one’s life and overall disposition, which could lead to the onset of adjustment disorder.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, adjustment disorder is a common type of mental illness that occurs within three months after an individual experiences a stressful or uncomfortable situation. It might start up as soon as the event occurs or even a few months after.

The symptoms of adjustment disorder create severe and marked distress that is abnormal, both culturally and personally. This could also lead to impairment in one’s family life, work life, or social life. The good news is that these symptoms tend to go away or become minimized within six months, especially if the individual is not being continually exposed to new stressors.

While an adjustment disorder is occurring, the individual might feel depressed, uncomfortable, or anxious. That individual might also display strange or unhealthy behaviors or act in a manner that is not helpful to his or her family life or career. Our advanced adjustment disorder treatment offers relief where most individuals with this condition find quality recovery with support and care.


Adjustment Disorder Statistics

Adjustment disorder is one of the most common mental health diagnosis impacting all age ranges. This condition also makes up for as many as 20% of all outpatient mental health visits and half of all inpatient settings.

Causes & Risks

Causes and Risk Factors for Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorder starts when an individual suffers a stressful event or chronic or repeated trauma, which increases the risk of developing this disorder. The individual might respond with behaviors or emotions that lead to discomfort or challenges within everyday life. Additionally, below are some other risk factors that can increase one’s likelihood of becoming diagnosed with adjustment disorder:

Risk Factors:

A series of multiple experiences plus various stressors might lead to the onset of adjustment disorder. While there is not a threshold for the kinds of situations that might cause adjustment disorder, some of the events that can lead up to the development of this condition can include:

  • Community violence or crime
  • Drastic shifts in living or occupational goals
  • Conflict in marriage or any relationships
  • Natural disasters such as fire, storm, or flood
  • Diagnosis of a serious or chronic illness
  • Retirement or any major life changes
  • Business losses or difficulties
  • Problems with school or work
  • End of a romantic relationship
  • Becoming a new parent, or losing a child

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder

The effects of adjustment disorder can vary from individual to individual. The kind of event that caused the symptoms of the adjustment disorder to develop, the individual’s personality, support network, and lifestyle can all impact the type and severity of symptoms that develop in response to the disorder. Some of the various systems of adjustment disorder can include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Aggression or uncharacteristic irritability
  • Decline in work or school performance
  • Crying or tearfulness
  • Isolating oneself from friends or family
  • Refusal to participate in previously enjoyable activities
  • Neglect of daily responsibilities
  • Skipping work, school, or other important events
  • Suicide attempts

Physical symptoms:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Body tension or inability to relax
  • Body pains such as headache and stomachache
  • Chest pains or pounding heartbeat at times

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Lapses in sound judgment
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Lack of concentration when completing tasks
  • Inability to make quick, good decisions
  • Difficulty in retaining information or recalling memories
  • Forgetfulness or losing items

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Feeling hopeless or restless
  • Excessive feelings of dread, worry, or concern
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Unstable emotions
  • Nervousness or jumpiness


Effects of Adjustment Disorder

Most commonly, the symptoms of adjustment disorder will not continue for longer than six months, however there are situations that can prolong this condition and cause it to go well-past six months because of the presence of continued stressors or trauma. In most instances, these symptoms can be uncomfortable and can lead to a series of unfortunate outcomes. Without proper attention and care, adjustment disorder could lead to:

  • Job termination
  • Financial difficulties
  • Onset of other mental health disorders
  • Unpredictable mood swings
  • Difficulties within or lost interpersonal relationships
  • Lower performance at work or school
  • Lowered social contact
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Substance use or abuse

In this case, obtaining professional treatment in order to determine if additional treatments are required will help an individual recover from this mental health illness.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Adjustment Disorder & Co-Occurring Disorders

Adjustment disorder might occur at the same time as other mental health concerns. According to the American Psychiatric Association, some of the possible co-occurring disorders one might experience can include:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic disorder

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After going through a traumatic event, I had a hard time adjusting back to my "normal" life. Only Life Healing Center was able to help me cope with my adjustment disorder. Now, each day is something to look forward to!

– Debra J.