Adjustment disorder

Put your life back on track

After moving, losing your job, a friend or family member passing away or a severe physical disorder, suddenly everything isn’t what it once was. If this event takes you off the familiar path all of a sudden, you’ll sometimes need to find a completely new one. Most people get used to this change in lifestyle after some time. Other people have difficulties trying to adjust. They become nervous or depressed, and withdraw from their social environment.

Luckily, adjustment disorders are only temporary. At Schoen Clinic, we offer the specialist help you need to fully recover your life.

Causes & symptoms

Adjustment disorders – why do they affect some people but not others?

The fact that losing a job really upsets some people but not others is down to different reasons. People who have social support, are part of a social circle, pursue hobbies and interests and have a suitable daily schedule can overcome all kinds of roadblocks more easily. After a short reorientation period, things are typically fine again for these people. They can fall back on their resources and adjust to stressful life events. Two to eight per cent of children, teenagers and adults can’t do this.

Causes: how does an adjustment disorder develop?

An adjustment disorder is a reaction to different stresses, which can include divorce, bullying or being dismissed from work. But the death of a family member, severe illness or marriage can also trigger this disorder. Other stressful events include accidents, assaults or surgery.

Adjustment disorder: symptoms indicating a disorder

When you can’t pull yourself out of your mental hole through your own efforts after some time, the adjustment disorder is taking its course. Within a month, it can generally be the case that the problems aren’t becoming smaller, but stronger. Depressive moods, nervousness and increased worries are often present. You simply don’t want to do anything in your everyday life. Many patients withdraw from their social environment.
Symptoms typically persist after approximately six months. But they can also develop into a more severe psychological disorder, such as depression or an anxiety disorder. In any case, you should take the adjustment disorder seriously and also receive treatment from a psychotherapist if necessary.


Diagnosis: how we determine an adjustment disorder

A requirement for the diagnosis of an adjustment disorder is a specific stressful event, that leads to the effected person being emotionally impaired for a long period of time and limited in terms of their social ability and performance of tasks. An initial conversation with an experienced specialist and/or psychologist establishes specific symptoms and their severity. Afterwards, we should be able to differentiate your disorder from other psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).   We can carry out this assessment through a questionnaire. Acute stress reaction should also be ruled out – in contrast to adjustment disorders, this is triggered by unusually extreme stresses.  

According to the type and extent of your symptoms, the examiner then makes a decision with you about whether outpatient, day clinic or inpatient treatment is beneficial in your case. It can often be very helpful to be separated from your environment.