Adjustment disorders are stress-related conditions. You experience more stress than is normally expected in response to a stressful or unexpected event. As a result, the stress causes significant problems in your relationships, at work, or at school. They affect your feelings and thoughts about yourself and the world.
Work/school problems, an illness, death of a close family member, or any number of life changes can cause stress. Most of the time, people adjust to such changes within a few months. But if you have an adjustment disorder, emotional or behavioral reactions can continue to contribute to feeling anxious or depressed.
Signs and symptoms depend on the type of adjustment disorder and can vary from person to person. How long you have signs and symptoms of an adjustment disorder also can vary. Symptoms can be acute or persistent. Acute symptoms last less than six months. Persistent symptoms last longer than six months.
If adjustment disorders do not resolve, they can lead to more serious mental health problems such as anxiety disorders, depression, or substance abuse. Regain your emotional footing with brief treatment.