What Is Adjustment Disorder?

What Is Adjustment Disorder

By Manisha Dhingra

Adjustment disorder is defined as a mental health condition where the person finds it difficult to adjust in new situation or circumstances and can undergo severe stress. It is more of a short-term condition but can have great impact on a person’s life.


Adjustment disorder can be caused due to:

  • Moving to new college
  • New group of friends
  • Moving to a new city/country
  • Marriage
  • End of relationship or marriage
  • Loss of loved one
  • Coming out of a trauma
  • Coming out of life threating incident
  • Change or loss of job

Any of these situations can caused severe depression, anxiety or nervousness. Adjustment disorder is associated with high risk of suicidal behaviour and can also result in suicide. It is more common among college students.


  • Symptoms may vary from person to person, while some of the common one’s are –
  • Depression
  • Fluctuating mood
  • Misbehaviour
  • Reckless actions/driving
  • Palpitation
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of confidence
  • Nervousness

Adjustment disorder is also referred as situational disorder.

Is Adjustment Disorder Common?

Yes, adjustment disorder is common. It is more common during transition of life phase, from adolescence to teenage, post-35 changes for women, mid-life changes or late-life changes, from school to college life. Irrespective of gender or age, anyone can go through adjustment disorder.

What should You do?

If you have identified yourself or someone close is a similar situation and you do not find yourself coping up on your own then it is advised to seek professional help or counselling. A doctor may ask a few questions about personal behaviour, your feelings, medical history and may also conduct a physical exam.

It is always advised to be honest and true to one person and that one person is your doctor. You should never hide any feeling or stress or emotion with your doctor, no matter how small or insignificant it may sound to you. Only then the doctor can identify the true and root cause of situation and advice accordingly.

Counselling gives the comfort of expressing the anxiety and fear and putting them in words. Sometimes expressing makes one accept the challenges or fear and help look at the situation with open mind. Knowing and accepting is always a better call then being ignorant and miss-judging.

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