It can be common for someone to develop anxiety in response to a stressful period of change or shocking news. However, if you continue to suffer from ongoing distress that affects your well-being, you may be experiencing symptoms of adjustment disorder. Getting professional care from a qualified provider may be necessary to help you heal.
Coachella Valley Behavioral Health is a leading treatment center in Indio, California, offering inpatient care for adults age 18 and older who are suffering from adjustment disorder.
Learn More About Adjustment Disorder
Major life changes can lead to distressful feelings. Losing a loved one, moving to a new city, and receiving an illness diagnosis are all examples of events that can cause someone to have difficulty adjusting to a new place or experience. For some, these feelings are manageable, and they lessen over time. For others, adjusting to these sorts of changes can lead them to struggle with adjustment disorder.
There are six subtypes of adjustment disorder listed in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), including:
- Adjustment disorder with depressed mood: Symptoms of adjustment disorder with depressed mood can include bouts of crying, lack of motivation, low mood, and feelings of hopelessness.
- Adjustment disorder with anxiety: Those who have adjustment disorder with anxiety experience distress over change in addition to feelings of nervousness and difficulty focusing.
- Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood: Some people can experience a mix of depressed mood and anxiousness as part of adjustment disorder.
- Adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct: Symptoms of adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct include actions that go against the norms of society or the rights of others, including outbursts of anger, substance abuse, and other rule-breaking behaviors that do not fit with the person’s typical personality or demeanor.
- Adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct: There are times when those who have adjustment disorder suffer from depression, anxiety, and behavioral disturbances such as outbursts of anger or efforts to get revenge on others.
- Adjustment disorder unspecified: This type of adjustment disorder is characterized by various indications that someone is not handling major life events well but does not meet the criteria for other adjustment disorder subtypes. For example, those who have this type of adjustment disorder may have physical, interpersonal, and work problems that arise out of mishandling stress.
Adjustment disorder can negatively impact a person’s well-being and can become a long-term condition without professional treatment. The good news is that it is treatable with the help of experts who provide evidence-based care. Patients who are suffering from adjustment disorder can heal and find hope for a better future.
Signs & Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder
Adjustment disorder is characterized by distressing symptoms that typically develop in response to a triggering event or change in life. Someone who has adjustment disorder can experience a mix of behavioral, physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms.
Examples of emotional symptoms of adjustment disorder include:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Excessive crying
- Extreme worry or nervousness
- Loss of interest in activities
Common physical symptoms of adjustment disorder include:
- Muscle tension
Behavioral symptoms of adjustment disorder can include:
- Reckless or dangerous behaviors
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Increased use of alcohol and drugs
- Difficulty doing daily activities
- Missing school and work more regularly
- New law- or rule-breaking behaviors
Examples of cognitive symptoms of adjustment disorder are:
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory difficulties
- Dwelling on negative thoughts
- Suicidal ideation
Adjustment disorder symptoms typically start within three months of the stressful event or situation that caused them. In some cases, symptoms can go on for extended periods of time.
Acute adjustment disorder occurs when a person has symptoms for less than six months, and symptoms typically resolve with effective behavioral health treatment or once the stressor has been removed. Persistent or chronic adjustment disorder includes symptoms that persist longer than six months, affecting a person’s well-being until they receive the proper professional behavioral health treatment.
If you believe that you are experiencing symptoms of adjustment disorder, it may be time to see a behavioral health professional. If they determine that you have adjustment disorder after a series of evaluations, they can help you learn to manage your symptoms and develop effective coping strategies.
Common Causes of & Risk Factors for Adjustment Disorder
The causes of and risk factors for adjustment disorder can include genetic, environmental, and physical stressors, such as:
- Ending a relationship or marriage
- Losing or changing jobs
- Financial stress
- Experiencing a traumatic event, such as a car accident, natural disaster, or physical assault
- Work-related or academic-related stress
- Discrimination or oppression
- Marital problems
- Interpersonal problems with friends or family members
- Having a baby
- Experiencing emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
- Loss of a loved one
- Chronic illness
While a distressing experience or life change is often the cause of adjustment disorder, there are other factors that can contribute to its development. Those who are more vulnerable to developing adjustment disorder may have other mental health concerns, have poor coping skills, or lack social support from friends and family. Regardless of the causes of and risk factors for it, professional care can help those who are struggling with adjustment disorder to heal and thrive.
Adjustment Disorder Statistics
A study published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine reports these statistics on adjustment disorder in the United States:
- Adjustment disorder affects about 1% of the population.
- Around 24% of adolescents and 7% of adults who have been hospitalized for mental health concerns are struggling with adjustment disorder symptoms at the time of their hospital admission.
- Approximately 4% of those who have adjustment disorder are at risk for death by suicide.
- Nearly 71% of adults and 44% of adolescents experienced improvements in their well-being after completing treatment for adjustment disorder.
Getting Help at Our Adjustment Disorder Treatment Center in Indio, California
We believe that the healing process is best thought of as a journey, and we want to meet each patient where they are as we provide care that is tailored to their needs. Receiving professional help for adjustment disorder can offer hope for a calmer, brighter future.
For those who are experiencing symptoms of adjustment disorder, our inpatient program at Coachella Valley Behavioral Health can help them begin the healing process. Stays in our inpatient program are typically around seven to 10 days, though a patient’s exact length of stay depends on their progress. In our inpatient program, our goal is to help patients stabilize, return home, and move to a lower level of care that can support them as they maintain their daily routines.
Each patient at Coachella Valley Behavioral Health completes a thorough evaluation process that helps our care team understand their medical history, symptoms, and therapeutic goals. Based on this evaluation, we can design a personalized care plan that may include:
- Medication management services: In our inpatient program, we can provide medication management services. If medication is part of a patient’s treatment plan, we can prescribe, adjust, and monitor its effects.
- Basic medical care: Physicians, nurse practitioners, and nurses provide basic medical care as needed throughout a patient’s stay in our inpatient program.
- Group therapy: Nurses and therapists lead group therapy sessions at Coachella Valley Behavioral Health. These groups meet daily and cover topics such as trauma, coping skills, relationship skills, and thought management.
- Family therapy: Depending on their needs, patients can participate in family therapy sessions led by social workers and family therapists.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Our therapists use CBT to help patients identify and alter negative thought patterns that may affect their healing progress.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): Our therapists use DBT to help patients develop coping strategies that can improve their lifestyles.
- Motivational interviewing: Motivational interviewing includes open-ended questions that help the patient take an active part in setting therapeutic goals. This type of therapy is especially useful when a patient has mixed feelings about making the changes that may be necessary to heal.
- Solution-focused therapy: Therapists use solution-focused therapy to help patients make positive changes instead of focusing on the past. In solution-focused therapy, the therapist helps the patient set multiple goals that can be achieved in a short period.
At Coachella Valley Behavioral Health, we strive to provide a safe and comfortable space where you can receive the compassionate, clinically excellent care you need to heal. We take the time to understand each patient’s symptoms and background so that we can provide effective, individualized treatment. We educate patients on their diagnoses, and we monitor their progress so that we can assist them in achieving their therapeutic goals. If you have any questions about how our adjustment disorder inpatient program can help you or a loved one, please contact us today.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Coachella Valley Behavioral Health.