Treatment

Many people with adjustment disorders find treatment helpful, and they often need only brief treatment. Others, including those with persistent adjustment disorders or ongoing stressors, may benefit from longer treatment. Treatments for adjustment disorders include psychotherapy, medications or both.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, is the main treatment for adjustment disorders. This can be provided as individual, group or family therapy. Therapy can:

  • Provide emotional support
  • Help you get back to your normal routine
  • Help you learn why the stressful event affected you so much
  • Help you learn stress-management and coping skills to deal with stressful events

Medications

Medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs may be added to help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.

As with therapy, you may need medications only for a few months, but don't stop taking any medication without talking with your doctor first. If stopped suddenly, some medications, such as certain antidepressants, may cause withdrawal-like symptoms.

March 10, 2017
References
  1. Adjustment disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Oct. 31, 2016.
  2. Gabbard GO, ed. Adjustment disorders. In: Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2014. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Oct. 31, 2016.
  3. Casey P. Adjustment disorder: New developments. Current Psychiatry Report. 2014;16:451.
  4. The road to resilience. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx. Accessed Oct. 31, 2016.
  5. Fighting stress with healthy habits. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/StressManagement/FightStressWithHealthyHabits/Fight-Stress-with-Healthy-Habits_UCM_307992_Article.jsp#.WBeRM2dTHRE. Accessed Oct. 31, 2016.
  6. Sawchuk CN (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 18, 2016.