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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is adjustment disorder?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 4

    Thanks

    Damien Haines

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Damien Haines is a registered Clinical Psychologist who brings a warm and empathetic approach to therapy. He emphasises engagement in the world and encourages clients … View Profile

    Adjustment disorder is where someone has greater difficulty than others in dealing with a change in circumstances. I realise that that explanation doesn't really help. It is probably best explained through examples.

    It is normal for someone to become depressed (not “Clinical Depression”) as a result of a death of a loved one. However, if the depression, lasts for too long, or is too intense, thoughts of self-harm arise or suicidal ideation, then it would suggest that a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder would be appropriate. However, what is too long, or too intense is a clearly subjective distinction. Factors need to be taken into account around (eg) cultural norms.

    Other types of situations I have helped people with that has led to an adjustment disorder include job promotions, moving home, chronic pain, loss of independence, changing jobs, relationship break-ups, pregnancy/birth of a child, starting a university course etc. As you can see, a lot of things can trigger an adjustment disorder.

    Hopefully that gives you some helpful information around what it is. If you can follow up with more specific information, I or others may be of more assistance to make the explanation more personal for yourself.

    I wish you well

  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr David Wells

    Clinical Psychologist, Counsellor, Psychologist

    Dr David Wells is a fully registered Psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia. David has experience in both private practice and public sector work.Although … View Profile

    Well explained by Damien. AD can be helped by a good therapist.

  • 5

    Thanks

    Dianne Zebic

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    Dianne Zebic has retired as of 31/01/2015 View Profile

    Adjustment Disorder is where a person struggles to cope and deal with things in a particular situation now that has been bought by new life changes to the persons circumstances. 

    This then leads to the person feeling overwhelmed as their coping skills are less effective in these new challenging situations, than before which can lead to the person feeling depressed, anxious, helpless, and feel that things are out of their control.

    For example : Person suffers  work related injury to their spine:
    3 months after this persons injury, due to their high levels of pain and restriction, this person is no longer able to sleep well as their pain wakes them up as they have a difficult time adjusting whilst turning in bed. This then leads to sleep disturbances and pain, which leads to chronic tiredness the next day.The person then can no longer sleep as well as before prior to their injury, and now this person has a chronic pain condition where many new adjustments need to be made to help the person overcome their difficulties in their new disturbed sleep patterns. This then leads to an Adjustment Disorder, as person feels unhappy and depressed that their sleep has now become a problems for them.

    This person then is required to pace themselves during the day as they cannot stand or sit as before they could do these activities prior to their injuries. This then causing an adjustment disorder as the person struggles to adjust to their modified new lifestyle. Depression and anxiety can then tend to follow as the person finds it overwhelming to cope in these new situations which leads to an adjustment disorder.

    From my personal life experience I suffered from an Adjustment Disorder after I had a serious injury to my neck and back 13 years ago, however this disorder was treated with Counselling & Psychotherapy using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ,Relaxation Therapy & Stress Management. 

    After this injury I decided in becoming a  Professional Counsellor,Psychotherapist & Coach, as I wanted to help people to recover from things in life that were causing them concerns and unhappiness. 

    If you like please feel free to give me a call for your first initial brief telephone assessment and I can check if counselling & psychotherapy is suitable for your needs.

  • Nestor1968

    HealthShare Member

    Dear Dianne,
    Your answer has given me some hope in life. I too had an accident which left me with depression and anxiety. I can no longer work in the entertainment industry due to physical work loads etc and counselling has been a passion of mine. I continuously read books and blogs and see a counsellor regularly to study her treatment methods as well as treating my condition.
    Now I am adamant I should go off and study psychology or something along those lines.
    This could be my life saver.
    Thank you!

  • Nestor1968

    HealthShare Member

    Dear Dianne,
    Your answer has given me some hope in life. I too had an accident which left me with depression and anxiety. I can no longer work in the entertainment industry due to physical work loads etc and counselling has been a passion of mine. I continuously read books and blogs and see a counsellor regularly to study her treatment methods as well as treating my condition.
    Now I am adamant I should go off and study psychology or something along those lines.
    This could be my life saver.
    Thank you!

  • Nestor1968

    HealthShare Member

    Dear Dianne,
    Your answer has given me some hope in life. I too had an accident which left me with depression and anxiety. I can no longer work in the entertainment industry due to physical work loads etc and counselling has been a passion of mine. I continuously read books and blogs and see a counsellor regularly to study her treatment methods as well as treating my condition.
    Now I am adamant I should go off and study psychology or something along those lines.
    This could be my life saver.
    Thank you!

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