Adjustment disorders symptoms vary from person to person. The symptoms you have may be different from those of someone else with an adjustment disorder. But for everyone, symptoms of an adjustment disorder begin within three months of a stressful event in your life.
Emotional symptoms of adjustment disorders
Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder may affect how you feel and think about yourself or life, including:
- Lack of enjoyment
- Crying spells
- Anxiety, which may include separation anxiety
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Thoughts of suicide
Behavioral symptoms of adjustment disorders
Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder may affect your actions or behavior, such as:
- Reckless driving
- Ignoring bills
- Avoiding family or friends
- Performing poorly in school or at work
- Skipping school
- Vandalizing property
Length of symptoms
How long you have symptoms of an adjustment disorder also can vary:
- 6 months or less (acute). In these cases, symptoms should ease once the stressor is removed. Brief professional treatment may help symptoms disappear.
- More than 6 months (chronic). In these cases, symptoms continue to bother you and disrupt your life. Professional treatment may help symptoms improve and prevent the condition from continuing to get worse.
When to see a doctor
Sometimes the stressful change in your life goes away, and your symptoms of adjustment disorder get better because the stress has eased. But often, 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'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 suicidal thoughts
If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, get help right away. Consider talking to your doctor, nurse, a mental health professional, a trusted family member or friend, or your faith leader.
If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or call a suicide hot line number. In the United States, you can call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (toll-free) to talk with a trained counselor.
Apr. 02, 2014
- Adjustment disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed Oct. 20, 2013.
- Hales RE, et al. The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2008. http://www.psychiatryonline.com/resourceToc.aspx?resourceID=5. Accessed Oct. 20, 2013.
- Casey P. Adjustment disorder: Epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment. CNS Drugs. 2009;23:927. Accessed Oct. 20, 2013.
- Strain J, et al. Considering adjustment disorders as stress response syndromes for DSM-5. Depression and Anxiety. 2011;28:818. Accessed Oct. 20, 2013.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 30, 2013.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ Accessed Oct. 24, 2013.
- Kung S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 30, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.