Adjustment Disorder: What is adjustment disorder? Definition, signs, symptoms adjustment disorder.
An adjustment disorder is characterized by the development of emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor occurring within 3 months of the onset of the stressor. (A stressor is anything that causes a great deal of stress in a person's life.)
Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder:
The symptoms would be significant if:
the noted distress is in excess of what would normally be expected from exposure to the stressor; or
there's significant impairment in social or job functioning; and
Adjustment disorders are often diagnosed when it's not clear the person meets the criteria for a more severe disorder, or the actual diagnosis is uncertain (Adjustment Disorder DSM-5 Criteria). This diagnosis often gives the therapist time to further evaluate the client during additional therapy sessions.
Adjustment disorders are further categorized by the specific symptoms experienced:
- 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
Source: American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.