Adjustment Disorder Signs, Symptoms & Effects

Often times the signs of adjustment disorder can be difficult to identify. One of the most important steps in the recovery journey is understanding the signs, symptoms and side effects of adjustment disorder.

Understanding Adjustment Disorder

Learn about adjustment disorder

Many individuals assume that the birth of a new baby, moving to a new home, changing careers, and/or retiring are all things that everyone looks forward to and are easy circumstances to adjust to. However, there are individuals who have these sort of life changes happen to them, but instead of celebrating, these individuals are unable to adapt to the differences in their lives without their functioning and emotional wellness being negatively affected. With these types of symptoms, adjustment disorder may be at work.

Adjustment disorder is a mental health condition that happens when an alteration in life occurs, but a person is unable to adapt to what’s transpired. If you’ve experienced one of the previously mentioned life changes or some other new circumstance in your life, but now you’re struggling to uphold daily responsibilities, feel overly worried or sad, experience feelings of hopelessness, frequently cry, or feel physical aches and pains for seemingly no reason, you may be struggling with adjustment disorder and could benefit greatly from accessing treatment. When you continue to grapple with this illness without getting help, a variety of detrimental effects may happen, which can then further hinder your ability to adapt to change and compromise your overall quality of life. What’s important to know, however, is that you can heal and have a healthy and happy future.

When treatment for adjustment disorder is received within a reputable mental health clinic or effective rehab center, it’s possible that you can become well again. Professional services can offer you the support you need during this tumultuous time in your life, the resources required to help you cope with your current emotional pain, and the skills necessary for handling stress and life changes in the future. Therefore, if you suspect that the symptoms of adjustment disorder are impacting your ability to live the life you want, it would be to your advantage to get help as soon as you’re able.


Adjustment disorder statistics

Studies show that nearly half of all people admitted for inpatient treatment meet diagnostic criteria for adjustment disorder. Considering the high rate of this condition, adjustment disorder is one of the most common mental health disorders impacting people today. Additionally, this illness is said to be comorbid with other disorders, which means men and women alike often suffer from adjustment disorder and various other illnesses and substance abuse concerns at the same time. Finally, researchers have concluded that men aren’t as prone to suffering from the symptoms of adjustment disorder, as more women are treated for this disorder within treatment settings.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for adjustment disorder

While some kind of life change must precipitate the onset of adjustment disorder symptoms in order for you to be diagnosed with this illness, there are certain factors and influences that can make you vulnerable to suffering from this disorder after enduring a life-altering change. For example, if you’re exposed to a great deal of stress and chaos, a life change can be a tipping point for you in terms of what you’re able to handle emotionally. Furthermore, if you don’t possess the skills required for coping with emotional upheaval or if you lack the support of others when major alterations in your life happen, the potential for experiencing symptoms synonymous with adjustment disorder increases.

Risk Factors:

  • Having a baby
  • Experiencing the loss of a loved one
  • Experiencing the end of a romantic relationship
  • Surviving a trauma
  • Retiring from a job
  • Going through a divorce
  • Suffering from a medical condition
  • Moving to a new community

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder

Sometimes the symptoms of adjustment disorder are severe and can be obvious to others who are close to you. On the other hand, the symptoms affecting you may not be as apparent to your closest friends and loved ones, though that doesn’t negate the need for treatment when this disorder is impacting your daily functioning. If you’re unsure whether you’re struggling with adjustment disorder following a change in your life, note the presence of the following behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms, and seek an assessment for treatment:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Emotional outbursts
  • Drop in performance at work
  • No longer adhering to daily responsibilities
  • Tearfulness
  • Making attempts at suicide
  • Onset of self-harming behaviors
  • No longer participating in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Failure to attend work

Physical symptoms:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Muscle tension
  • Chest pains
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Persistent headaches
  • Bodily aches and pains

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory problems
  • Poor decision making
  • Poor concentration
  • Inability to make good decisions

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Emotional instability
  • Depression
  • Feelings of nervousness
  • Feelings of worry


Effects of adjustment disorder

As with other mental illnesses, treatment is needed to prevent the symptoms of adjustment disorder from adversely impacting several areas of a person’s life. In the absence of professional services, however, the following effects may begin to happen and compromise your quality of life:

  • Poor occupational performance
  • Self-harm
  • Onset of symptoms of other mental health disorders
  • Job loss
  • Problems within interpersonal relationships
  • Social withdrawal
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance abuse

Co-Occurring Disorders

Adjustment disorder and co-occurring disorders

It’s not uncommon for the symptoms of adjustment disorder to exist at the same time as other mental health concerns or substance abuse issues. Given this fact, you may need additional services if you’re grappling with adjustment disorder and one or more of the following co-occurring disorders:

  • Specific phobias
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Depressive disorders
What Past Clients Say

The staff is cordial and caring. They helped me through a difficult time in my life and offered great out patient care programs that continued my treatment.

– Alumni
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We accept all major insurances, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, most Medicaids, and TRICARE.  Please contact us for insurance verification and to learn more about treatment at MeadowWood Behavioral Health.

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