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Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

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According to research, 6.9% of adults in the US are annually diagnosed with adjustment disorder. Following a traumatic incident or major life changes, an individual may develop an adjustment disorder. Keep reading to learn more about this condition mixed with anxiety.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: February 15, 2023

Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety: What Is Adjustment Disorder or Stress Response Syndrome?

What Are Adjustment Disorders? According to research, 6.9% of adults in the US are annually diagnosed with adjustment disorder. Following a traumatic incident or major life changes, an individual may develop an adjustment disorder.

Adjustment Disorder Definition: Relationship difficulties, job loss, a loved one’s death, or a move is common activation triggers. Because each person is unique, different circumstances may activate distinct events in adjustment disorder.

What Is Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety? Stress is different from adjustment disorder with anxiety. When a person finds it difficult to cope with or adjust to a specific change in circumstance, the former arises.

Define Adjustment Disorder: Adjustment disorder typically manifests in emotional and mental ways, but those who have it may also have physical symptoms.

Criteria For Adjustment Disorder: DSM Adjustment Disorder (Adjustment Disorder Criteria DSM or Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety Criteria)

Adjustment Disorder DSM 5 (Adjustment Disorder Dsm-5): If symptoms continue after the stressor, the person may have an adjustment disorder.

Adjustment Disorder With Mixed Anxiety And Depressed Mood Dsm 5: According to research, symptoms of adjustment disorder with anxiety must endure for at least six months in order to meet the diagnostic adjustment disorder criteria (Dsm 5 Adjustment Disorder). If symptoms continue after this time, a new diagnosis must be made.

What Is An Adjustment Disorder? Adjustment Disorders

Anxiety Adjustment Disorder: People might react in a variety of ways when they go through a significant shift in their lives. The stress of these adjustments can occasionally result in a substantial emotional or behavioral change that impairs daily operations.

In this situation, the person may be suffering from an adjustment disorder, which is characterized by a collection of symptoms that appear three months after a shift and may be marked by worry.

The beginning of worry, uneasiness, anxiety, and irritability that characterizes adjustment disorder with anxiety is frequently linked to a particular incident.

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Anxiety Fact Sheet

Anxiety Overview

Your brain and behavior are both impacted by the condition of addiction. Substance addiction makes it unable to resist the impulse to use the drug, regardless of how harmful it may be. The sooner you receive treatment for drug addiction, the better your chances are of avoiding some of the disease’s more serious side effects.

Anxiety Symptoms

Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness.

Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts.

Whole body: fatigue or sweating

Also common:  anxiety, excessive worry, angor animi, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling

Anxiety Treatment

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Anxiety Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.

6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health

10.3 %

19 million adults experience specific phobias, making it the most common anxiety disorder in America.  

Source: ADAA2020

17.3 million

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults or about 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Adjustment Disorder Symptoms (Symptoms Of Adjustment Disorder)

Those who have chronic adjustment disorder may have symptoms for a prolonged period of time.
Adjustment Disorder In Adults: Those who have chronic adjustment disorder may have symptoms for a prolonged period of time.

Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety SymptomsAdjustment Disorder With Anxiety In Adults

Adjustment Disorder Anxiety: Those who have chronic adjustment disorder may have symptoms for a prolonged period of time. Long-lasting symptoms are probable if the stress factor continues. The following are typical signs or Adjustment Disorder Examples:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Feeling overwhelmed with everyday activities
  • Feeling worried or anxious
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle twitching or trembling
  • Finding sleeping difficult or experiencing insomnia
  • Frequent crying
  • Loss of appetite
  • Suicidal ideation

Traumatic circumstances like the death of a loved one or the loss of a career might set off adjustment disorder.

It can have a considerable negative influence on your capacity to manage your daily obligations, and in some situations, it might give rise to suicidal or self-destructive thoughts.

How are Symptoms Similar to Anxiety? Adjustment Disorder With Anxious Mood

Adjustment Anxiety Disorder: Anxiety sufferers may have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). While GAD symptoms resemble those of adjustment disorder, they are more persistent and frequently not brought on by a single, distinguishable event.

Some signs and symptoms are shared by adjustment disorder and anxiety. These signs of anxiousness are frequently present:

  • Feeling hopeless or sad
  • A change in sleeping patterns
  • Feeling worried, nervous, or jittery

Adjustment Disorder Timeline

Within three months of a stressful incident, symptoms of an adjustment disorder begin, and they endure for no more than six months. However, chronic or persistent adjustment issues can last longer than six months, particularly if the stressor is a recurring one like unemployment.

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Types Of Adjustment Disorders

Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety And Depression (Adjustment Disorder With Depressed Mood)

Adjustment Disorder With Depression: Some symptoms of adjustment syndrome/stress response syndrome are also present in major depressive disorder. An adjustment disorder, in contrast to major depression, doesn’t contain as many of the physiological and psychological signs of clinical depression (such as altered sleep, food, and energy levels) or high degrees of severity (such as suicidal thinking or behavior).

Adjustment Disorder Depressed Mood: According to research conducted over the past 50 years, psychiatrists define depression as difficulties controlling one’s emotions. On the surface, adjustment disorder and depression look very similar, yet their causes and symptom durations are different.

Adjustment Disorder With Mixed Anxiety And Depressed Mood: Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety And Depressed Mood

Adjustment Disorder Vs Depression: Adjustment disorder is typically caused by a specific change in circumstances and lasts up to 6 months. Long-lasting depression can be brought on by environmental, psychological, or hereditary reasons.

Adjustment Disorder With Depressed Mood And Anxiety: If someone is depressed, recommendations suggest getting both medical and psychological assistance.

Adjustment Disorder With Mixed Emotional Features: Due to the possibility that the symptoms are comparable to those of depression but do not stay as long, experts occasionally refer to adjustment disorder as situational depression.

Adjustment Disorder With Mixed Disturbance Of Emotions And Conduct (Adjustment Disorder With Disturbance Of Conduct)

A person with adjustment disorder who also has mixed emotional and behavioral disturbances may exhibit a variety of depression, anxiety, or behavioral disruption symptoms of adjustment disorder.

Adjustment Disorder Unspecified (Unspecified Adjustment Disorder)

A person with an adjustment disorder unspecified has a significant reaction to a stressor but it does not fall under one of the other categories mentioned above.

Adjustment Disorder Vs PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder is distinct from adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome (PTSD). The symptoms of PTSD typically remain longer than those of adjustment disorders or stress response syndromes because it is a reaction to a potentially fatal event that occurs at least one month after the event. Adjustment disorders and stress response syndromes, in contrast, rarely survive more than six months.

Adjustment Disorder VA Rating (Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety Va Rating)

The classification of adjustment disorder as a psychological disorder ranges from 10, 30, 50, 70, or 100%. Here are the monthly disability compensation rates as of December 2019: Disability grade of 10%: monthly income of $142.29 At 30% disability, the monthly rate is $435.69.

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Adjustment Disorder Diagnosis

Consult your doctor if you believe you may have an AD/SRS. Your doctor may do a physical examination and inquire about your medical and mental health histories if you are experiencing symptoms.

The doctor may occasionally use laboratory tests, such as blood tests or imaging tests, like CT or MRI scans, to rule out physical illness or other medical causes of changes in mood or behavior (like head trauma), as the cause of your symptoms, even though there are no imaging or lab tests specifically designed to diagnose the syndrome.

If AD/SRS is suspected, your doctor will probably suggest that you seek treatment from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health specialist who has the training to assist people who have problems managing stressful life situations. Avoid making an “Adjustment Disorder Test” online, it is always better to directly consult a specialist.

Consult your doctor if you believe you may have an Adjustment Disorder. Your doctor may do a physical examination and inquire about your medical and mental health histories if you are experiencing symptoms.
Consult your doctor if you believe you may have an Adjustment Disorder. Your doctor may do a physical examination and inquire about your medical and mental health histories if you are experiencing symptoms.

They will search for further mental diseases including major depressive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, or anxiety disorder. Based on the following criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) your doctor will determine that you have AD/SRS:

  • A change in emotional or behavioral symptoms that happens within 3 months of a stressful event in your life
  • Showing a level of distress that’s more intense than would normally be expected in response to what happened
  • Having significant problems in your personal life and/or at work or school
  • Symptoms that aren’t related to another illness or mental health disorder

Adjustment Disorder Treatment: Adjustment Disorder Treatment Plan

Treatment Plan For Adjustment Disorder: It’s critical that you get medical attention if you experience AD/SRS symptoms. In persons at risk for mood disorders, adjustment disorder can occasionally develop into major depressive episodes. You might become addicted to alcohol or drugs if you use them to cope with your stress and anxiety.

Treatment for AD/SRS could consist of:

  • Psychotherapy or talk therapy
  • Medications, including antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs
  • Support groups

You can also take steps to build your resilience and feel better. Try these tips:

  • Connect with friends and family.
  • Find activities that give you purpose.
  • Eat right and exercise.
  • Sleep well.
  • Work on your coping skills.
  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Recognize and build your strengths.
  • Face your fears.
  • Work to problem-solve.

Adjustment Disorder Medication

The use of medicines helps some persons with adjustment issues. Some of the symptoms of adjustment disorders, including sleeplessness, sadness, and anxiety, are treated with medications. These medicines consist of:

  • Benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam (Ativan) and alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Nonbenzodiazepine anxiolytics, such as gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • SSRIs or SNRIs, such as sertraline (Zoloft) or venlafaxine (Effexor XR)

Adjustment Disorder Treatment Plan PDF

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The definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions. However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.

Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success.  A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment. At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. 

We recognize the fragile complexities of how mental and substance abuse disorders can influence others and sometimes result in a vicious cycle of addiction.  That’s why we offer specialized treatment in dual-diagnosis cases to provide the most excellent chance of true healing and long-lasting recovery.

It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

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Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety FAQs

  1. Acute Stress Disorder Vs Adjustment Disorder: What’s the difference?

    Adjustment Disorder Vs Acute Stress Disorder: In contrast to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder refers to a disorder that lasts for three days to one month following a stressful event.

  2. What is Adjustment Disorder Vs MDD?

    What distinguishes MDD from adjustment disorder? Situational depression, also known as adjustment disorder with depressed mood, can occasionally feel almost as gloomy as MDD, but a key distinction is that it does not appear out of the blue. Instead, situational depression happens after a specific trauma, such as a divorce, accident, a loved one’s death, or a significant change in one’s life.

  3. Is Adjustment Disorder A Mental Illness? Mood Adjustment Disorder

    A maladaptive reaction to a psychosocial stressor is adjustment disorder. It is categorized as a mental illness.

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