Signs and symptoms depend on the type of adjustment disorder and can vary from person to person. You experience more stress than would normally be expected in response to a stressful event, and the stress causes significant problems in your life.
Adjustment disorders affect how you feel and think about yourself and the world and may also affect your actions or behavior. Some examples include:
- Feeling sad, hopeless or not enjoying things you used to enjoy
- Frequent crying
- Worrying or feeling anxious, nervous, jittery or stressed out
- Trouble sleeping
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Difficulty functioning in daily activities
- Withdrawing from social supports
- Avoiding important things such as going to work or paying bills
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Symptoms of an adjustment disorder start within three months of a stressful event and last no longer than 6 months after the end of the stressful event. However, persistent or chronic adjustment disorders can continue for more than 6 months, especially if the stressor is ongoing, such as unemployment.
When to see a doctor
Usually stressors are temporary, and we learn to cope with them over time. Symptoms of adjustment disorder get better because the stress has eased. But sometimes the stressful event remains a part of your life. Or a new stressful situation comes up, and you face the same emotional struggles all over again.
Talk to your doctor if you continue to struggle or if you're having trouble getting through each day. You can get treatment to help you cope better with stressful events and feel better about life again.
If you have concerns about your child's adjustment or behavior, talk with your child's pediatrician.
Suicidal thoughts or behavior
If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately, go to an emergency room, or confide in a trusted relative or friend. Or call a suicide hotline number â in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor.