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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is adjustment disorder?

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  • 5


    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


    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.

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