What is Adjustment Disorder?
Adjustment disorder is an emotional and behavioural reaction to a life stress which is stronger than would be expected.
Stressors for people of any age include death of a loved one, general life changes and unexpected disasters. Marital and finance problems are often stressors in adults, and adolescents are usually triggered by family conflict, school problems and sexuality issues.
How common is Adjustment Disorder?
Diagnosis of adjustment disorder is fairly common. There is an estimated 5-21% diagnosis among psychiatric consultation services for adults. Adult women are twice as likely to suffer from adjustment disorder as adult men.
What are the symptoms of Adjustment Disorder?
For an adjustment disorder to be diagnosed the symptoms need to be severe enough to affect his or her social life. Some symptoms include agitation, depression, palpitation, physical complaints and trembling or twitching.
Symptoms of adjustment disorder typically begin within 3 months of the stressor, and usually do not last longer than 6 months. On occasion, symptoms can be severe and the person may have thoughts of suicide.
How is Acute Stress Reaction treated?
The aim of treatment is to relieve symptoms and return the patient to normal. Individual therapy can help the person get support. This may include behavioural therapy, psychotherapy, family therapy and self-help groups.
Medicines can be used in addition to other forms of treatment. These may include anti-anxiety medicines, antidepressant medicines, antipsychotic medicines and stimulants.
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