Adjustment Disorders treatment

Stress Response Syndrome

When someone undergoes stressful situations, it could trigger excessive adverse reactions. When this happens, the person could be suffering from adjustment disorder. Anxiety, hopelessness, and discourteous behaviour, all of which fall under the umbrella of symptoms related to adjustment disorder. A study found that 5 to 20 percent of individuals receiving outpatient mental health treatment were diagnosed with adjustment disorder, making it more common than we realize. If left untreated and symptoms persist, it may lead to a more severe condition such as major depressive disorder.

Adjustment disorders are diagnosed through a careful study of an individual's life stressors, which will eventually impact on your ability to function. Adjustment disorders can be acute, where symptoms can last for up to six months or less. Or the adjustment disorder can be chronic (persistent) where signs and symptoms last for up to 6 months and longer. The DSM-5 lists six different adjustment disorders, each with unique characters and symptoms. Before your condition worsens, we suggest you take back control so that you can lead a healthy and fulfilling life.

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Adjustment Disorders treatment

What is an Adjustment Disorders?

Adjustment disorders are a reaction to having a hard time coping. Signs and symptoms consist of significant stress, feeling miserable, or even hopeless. Physical symptoms can occur after you experience a stressful life event. The symptoms occur because you are having difficulty coping in your current environment. Therefore, your reaction is more substantial than expected for the type of event that occurred.

The extreme response is linked to a stressful event such as a car hijacking or witnessing a violent event, unhappy marriage, divorce, starting school, losing a job, or starting a new career. The extreme response can also be linked to the concurrence of multiple stressful events, such as compounding marital problems coinciding with difficult financial challenges. Or they can manifest from recurrent events, such as a child repeatedly witnessing his or her parents fighting, or continuous, such as living in a crime-ridden neighbourhood. All of which will have a significant impact on your everyday life stressors.

Symptoms of Adjustment Disorders

Signs and symptoms are subject to the type of adjustment disorder and can vary from person to person. You most likely have experienced more stress than would typically be expected in response to a stressful event, and the pressure causes significant problems in your life. Adjustment disorders affect how you feel about and perceive yourself and may also affect your actions or behaviour. Some of the symptoms include the following:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Frequent crying
  • Feeling anxious
  • Unexplained nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Difficulty functioning in daily activities
  • Withdrawing from social supports
  • Avoiding essential responsibilities such as going to work
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Causes of adjustment disorders

Adjustment disorders are triggered by significant changes or stressful events in your life. Genetics may play a role, and so does your life experiences. It is also commonly found that your temperament may increase the likelihood of developing an adjustment disorder. Stressful events such as having marital problems or the loss of work may put you at risk of developing an adjustment disorder too. Another contributor to adjustment disorder can be life-threatening events such as being a victim of physical assault or witnessing a natural disaster. If symptoms do not resolve, it might be time to consider speaking to a professional about it.

Treatments for adjustment disorders

Several people with adjustment disorders find the treatment very helpful, and they often only need brief treatment. Those who struggle with chronic adjustment disorders or any ongoing stress may benefit from more prolonged periods of treatments. Treatments for adjustment disorders typically include psychotherapy, medications or both.


Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, is the primary treatment for adjustment disorders. Therapy sessions are provided in individual, group or family sessions. Therapy can provide you with emotional support. It can help you get back to your routine or help you learn coping techniques so that you're better equipped to deal with future stressful events.


A Doctor may prescribe medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication to your treatment which helps elevate symptoms of depression and anxiety. You may only need medicines for a few months, but don't stop taking any medication without your doctor's consent. If suddenly stopped, some medications, such as certain antidepressants, may cause withdrawal-like symptoms. For more information, contact us or make an appointment.

Natural treatments

When it comes to natural treatments in mental health disorders such as adjustment disorder, exercise and a healthy diet holds immense benefits towards a healthy mental state. When you exercise your body naturally releases feel-good endorphins which aid in relieving everyday stress and anxiety. Practising mindfulness regularly also goes a long way in treating adjustment disorders.

What Happens when adjustment disorder is not treated?

People avoid mental health treatment due to the stigma surrounding mental health in South Africa. They feel ashamed and can't help but see their condition as a weakness. If adjustment disorder is left untreated by a professional medical practitioner, the symptoms may worsen over time.

Finding help for adjustment disorder

You shouldn't let the stigma of mental health get in the way of seeking treatment for adjustment disorders. Even in mild cases, adjustment disorder shouldn't be ignored, because things can escalate without warning, and this makes effective treatment more complicated. If you think you might require psychiatric help, speaking to your doctor is an excellent place to start. They will be able to help you reach out to mental health professionals who will provide you with the best treatment plan. At ZwavelStream, we specialize in mental health treatment and provide our clients with a safe, healthy environment in which they can regain balance in their lives. Therapy, medication, and highly skilled and reliable staff are available to help you on your road to wellness.

Basic Mental Health Quiz

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