An adjustment disorder occurs when an individual is struggling to cope and adjust to a new environment or life change. Examples of life adjustments include relocating, starting a new job or position, a new school or starting college or university. The possibilities are all different, anyone or any age can be affected. It is essential to pick up on changes in behaviour, especially in children who struggle with starting a new school and having to change friends and environments.
Some other life adjustment stress triggers:
- Having a new baby
- The ending of a relationship or a divorce
- Developing a terminal illness
- Living through a natural disaster
- A new disability
It is normal to be apprehensive about changes in your life, after all, these changes affect your money, your time and possibly your health. These changing factors can bring on stress and anxiety for a period while you try to adjust. Often we will go with the motions in the hope that we will eventually change. However, some people have extreme adjustment problems and need help coping.
People with an adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome often have the same symptoms as someone with depression. Due to these similarities, it is informally called situational depression. The type of symptoms that are found differs for every individual. In an adjustment disorder, the reaction to the stressor is much higher than that which is typically expected for the situation or event.