Types of Adjustment Disorders

What are the types of adjustment disorders?

An adjustment disorder (AD), also sometimes referred to as reactive, exogenous, or situational depression, occurs when a person is unable to cope with a particular fatal and stressful event. This can be the death of a loved one, loss of a job, or relationship issues. What are the types of adjustment disorders?

Because some people experience difficulties handling specific stressors, this unusual turn of events usually trigger one or more substantial psychological symptoms and sometimes even exhibit physical symptoms.

Symptoms of adjustment disorders

There are many psychological symptoms experienced by people suffering from an adjustment disorder.

Symptoms include

  • Crying
  • Loss of self-esteem,
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Withdrawn attitude

Some individuals may also develop much more substantial physical symptoms.

Other symptoms include

Anyone can experience an adjustment disorder. There is no clear way of telling whether a particular group of people, going through the same stressor will suffer from an adjustment disorder. On the other hand, a person's social skills and means of coping with other stressors can determine whether or not they'll likely experience an adjustment disorder.

Types of adjustment disorders

Below is a summary of the six types of adjustment disorders, each associated with its signs and symptoms.

Adjustment disorder with depressed mood

A wide range of symptoms show signs of depression, such as severe tearfulness, a sense of hopelessness, depressed mood. Some people lack interest in things they used to enjoy and love playing with before.

Adjustment disorder with anxiety

Symptoms that are typical with adjustment disorder with anxiety include excessive or frequent worry, feeling nervous or anxious, and a lot of restlessness. Patients suffering from this disorder may experience problems with memory and concentration too. In children, such symptoms occur after a sudden or unusual separation from parents and loved ones.

Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood

Patients who suffer from this disorder often experience symptoms of both depression and anxiety.

Adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct

Many times, this kind of disorder usually show signs of both emotional and abrupt behavioral changes. A person usually feels depressed, anxious, and may often get into fights.

Adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct

Symptoms of this kind of disorder usually involve a series of behavioral issues, like picking fights or driving carelessly. Among teens, these disorder symptoms may pose episodes of stealing or vandalizing property. Such kids may also start skipping school or work.

Adjustment disorder unspecified

Patients diagnosed with this kind of disorder develop symptoms that aren't usually present in other types of adjustment disorder. Many times, these symptoms occur when there is a clear stress reaction, and a person may show signs of unjustified complaints, throwing tantrums, and social isolation. They may also find it hard or impossible to cope with some family members, friends, school, or work.

Types of adjustment disorders forecast

Above are some of the most common adjustment disorders people usually experience after going through a shocking, stressful event. The emotional or behavioral reaction acquired from this stressful situation makes people exhibit certain signs and symptoms that negatively impact their health and personal life. Although the most affected are children and adolescents, a great number of adults experience these disorders as well. Adjustment disorders are treated with medication, therapy and, sometimes, a combination of both.

All the same, the symptoms associated with each disorder should subside within six months after treatment unless the stressor persists further. Also worth knowing, there's no actual way a person can prevent an adjustment disorder from occurring after going through a fatal, stressful event. However, learning to cope with and being strong in such situations can help people manage stressors.

A person can increase their strength or resilience by living healthy, building a strong network of supportive and caring people, establishing good self-esteem and so on. Sometimes, even preparing for a stressful situation beforehand can prevent a person from developing any alarming disorder symptoms. A person may also call their therapist to discuss how they can best manage or cope with their stressful situation that's causing problems.

Last Reviewed:
August 27, 2017
Last Updated:
April 26, 2018