Adjustment Disorder

Life changes—work, family, parents, children—each can cause a great deal of stress in life. An adjustment disorder means you have trouble dealing with change and stress. This problem can have serious results. You may feel helpless, depressed, make bad decisions, or even feel like you want to hurt yourself.

Adjustment disorder can cause anxiety or depression. It's triggered by stresses such as:

  • Death of a loved one

  • Divorce

  • Marriage

  • General life changes such as changing or leaving a job

  • Moving

  • Illness or other health issue for you or a family member

  • Sex

  • Money

Symptoms may include:

  • Sadness or crying

  • Anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Poor concentration

  • Trouble doing simple things

  • New problems at work or with family or friends

  • Loss of self-esteem

  • Sense of hopelessness

  • Feeling trapped or cut off from others

With this condition, it's common to feel sad, guilty, hopeless, and restless. These feelings may continue for weeks or months. It can be helpful to identify what's causing the additional stress and take steps to get extra support. If new stressful events don't happen, it's likely that you will gradually start feeling better.

Home care

  • If you have been given a prescription for medicine, take it as directed.

  • It helps to talk about your feelings and thoughts with family or friends who understand and support you.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or therapist as advised. Let them know if this condition doesn't improve or gets worse.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these happen:

  • Worsening depression or anxiety

  • Feeling out of control

  • Thoughts of harming yourself or another

  • Being unable to care for yourself

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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