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  • Adjustment Disorder

  • Adjustment Disorder

    An adjustment disorder is a short-term psychiatric disorder which develops in response to a stressor, whether it be a natural disaster (such as losing a house or valuables in a flood), an event or crises (car accident, diagnosis of a major medical problem), or interpersonal problems. Bereavement is not a stressor leading to the development of an adjustment disorder. The person often exhibits signs of major distress, usually within three months of the termination of the stressor, such as crying or yelling, and their normal routine is disrupted.

    Others usually understand when a person is having difficulty "adjusting" to their present situation. Some, however, especially in cases of abuse, or personal matters, people might think that the afflicted individual is "overreacting" or that they should stop whining and get on with their life. Adjustment disorders usually last less then six months. If the symptoms persist for more than six months, perhap the person has a different disorder, such as a mood or personality disorder. Lack of understanding in others can often be detrimental to the progress of the individual, and could actually lead to the development of another disorder.

    Adjustment disorders are less severe than other disorders. If the person had no previous history of psychiatric disorders, they will usually make a full recovery to their premorbid state. People with behavior disorders are more likely to develop antisocial personality disorder later in life, and those affected by multiple personality disorders are significantly less likely to return to their previous level of functioning.

    Although adjustment disorders are short-term, and not as severe as other disorders, if effective treatment is not sought, then the individual becomes more likely to develop major depression.

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