Adjustment disorder occurs when a person cannot cope with or adjust to a particular stressor in their life, such as a loss, major life change or event. Often linked with depression, adjustment disorder is often called situational depression. It is typically a short-term condition, it differs from major depressive mood in that it is triggered by an outside force and will resolve itself once the person has adjusted to the situation. These 10 signs of adjustment disorder with depressed mood will allow you to see if you may be suffering from this very common disorder.
Before you can discuss the signs and symptoms, you will need to know what can trigger adjustment disorder with depression. While it will vary from person to person, some of the more common triggers include:
- Losing or changing a job
- Ending a relationship or marriage
- Death of someone close to you
- Serious illness in yourself or a loved one
- Crime Victims
- Major life changes: These will include getting married, retiring from a job, having a baby and moving to a new home or job
- Surviving a natural disaster such as a flood, hurricane or fire.
These are certainly not all of the triggers, but it some of the more commons triggers that has been seen.
The person who develops an adjustment disorder typically begins exhibiting the signs and symptoms of emotional/and or behavioral reactions to a stressful event within three months of the event. Typically lasting less than six months after the event or situation, the reaction to the stressor is greater than what it s expected for the situation or event. If often will interfere with the person’s ability to function or perform normal daily activities such as sleep, studying or work.
These 10 signs and symptoms are common in adjustment disorder with depressed mood.
Feelings of hopelessness. The person will often feel that no matter what, there is no hope, no reason to continue on. If this becomes a pervasive thought, the person will need to be evaluated immediately by a qualified mental health counselor.
Sadness. More than just the blues, it will be sadness at the loss of something. Even with a new marriage, there is often sadness at the loss of the single life. Every change, whether for the good or bad will come at the loss of something and there will be a temporary time of mourning that loss.
Frequent crying. Sudden tears at small inconsequential things are a hallmark of this disorder.
Anxiety or panic attacks. This will be something out of the ordinary for them. Suddenly feelings of nervousness or anxiety or having full-blown panic attacks.
Withdrawal and isolation from people and social activities. This could be displayed as a loss of interest in things they once enjoyed or a lack of sex drive.
Destructive and dangerous behavior. This will include things like reckless driving, fighting and “tempting fate”.
Changes in appetite. This will be exhibited either in the loss of appetite and a sudden increase in weight loss, or the sudden gain of weight due to overeating. In the case of overeating, they are using food as a coping tool and crutch and that could lead to other serious health issues.
Sleep disturbances. They may sleep more often or have an inability to sleep. Often couple with nightmares, there may be a need for sleep aids during this period of adjustment.
Feeling tired or fatigued. There will be a feeling of a lack of energy to even do the tiniest of things like getting out of bed, getting dressed or taking care of personal hygiene.
Increased alcohol consumption or the use of illicit drugs. This is one of the most common signs. A person who normally doesn’t drink will begin to drink more frequently. Also, they may turn more often to prescription drugs to deal with their emotions, often dulling them so they don’t have to deal with them.
While these symptoms are common in adults, children and teens will often exhibit behavioral issues. These can include fighting, acting out or skipping school.
Adjustment disorder with depression, also called situational depression can be triggered by several different types of stressors. Understanding the signs and symptoms is the first step to understanding how it works and finding treatment for this very common disorder.