Adjustment Disorder

(Also Known As: Situational Depression, Adjustment Reaction Disorder)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Adjustment Disorder?

Adjustment Disorder is a time-limited psychological disorder which is described as an excessive response triggered by one or more stressors in a person's life. Adjustment Disorder is characterized by mental and emotional distress and a feeling of hopelessness which impedes or interferes with the person’s normal functioning. Symptoms are experienced within three months from the onset of the stressor(s).1

The stressors which can trigger Adjustment Disorder are often common events in life which can happen to anyone, but may be perceived by the person as traumatic or as a personal tragedy—such as a loss of job, loss of a romantic relationship, discovery of a serious medical condition, change in living conditions, etc. It may be a single event, a combination of events or something recurrent.

The symptoms of Adjustment Disorder last for about six months from the time the stressor is experienced. If it lasts more than that, the diagnosis may have to be re-evaluated or changed. However if the stressors are chronic or enduring, the symptoms of Adjustment Disorder may last longer than six months.2

Could You Have Adjustment Disorder?

Adjustment Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Acute Stress Disorder – Mental Shock, Psychological Shock, Traumatic Event, Fearful Experiences
Anxiety Disorder NOS – Pathological Fear, Anxiety, Excessive Worry, Phobia, Unpleasant Emotional State
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Nightmares, Insomnia, Sexual Abuse, Irritation, Social Impairment, Problems with Memory and Concentration, Intrusive Memories, Hyper-Vigilance