Adjustment disorder (AjD) is diagnosed when a person starts showing an excessive, extreme reaction to a stressful life event such as the death of a loved one, a job loss, or divorce.
While each of these examples can cause considerable distress, having AjD means the person can’t function at an expected level in a job, learning environment, social setting, or other important area of functioning.
Adjustment disorder is a type of anxiety disorder. It’s characterized by:
Emotional and behavioral disturbances such as:
- feeling sad, anxious, or overwhelmed
- social withdrawal
Difficulties with activities of daily living such as: washing and cleaning
Adjustment disorder is a common condition that has a prevalence that ranges from 3 – 10% in regular healthcare settings. It is often undiagnosed by family doctors. Adjustment disorder can be diagnosed in both children and adults; however, children with AjD tend to show it through their behavior (acting out) rather than through their emotional state (a depressed mood). Adult women are diagnosed with adjustment disorder twice as often as adult men.