Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorders are defined as clinically significant emotional or behavioral symptoms that develop "in response to an identifiable psychosocial stressor or stressors". The symptoms of the disorder usually resolve within 6 months, although they may last longer if produced by a chronic stressor or one with long lasting consequences. Among adolescents of either sex, common precipitating stresses are school problems, parental rejection and divorce, and substance abuse. Among adults, common precipitating stresses are marital problems, divorce, moving to a new environment, and financial problems.

Adjustment disorder can vary widely. There are six-adjustment disorders- adjustment disorder with depressed mood, adjustment disorder with anxiety, adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood, adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct, adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct, adjustment disorder unspecified. Besides these there are post-traumatic stress disorder. In such cases people may experience the stressors alone, as in rape assaults, or in groups, as in military combat or death camps, flood, airplane crashes and atomic bombing.

Psychotherapy remains the treatment of choice for adjustment disorders. Group therapy can also be very useful.

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