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Adjustment Disorder

It can often be surprising just how common adjustment disorders are. The thing to remember is that life is full of challenges and changes, and these challenges and changes can feel overwhelming at times, leading to emotional and behavioral symptoms that need proper, ideally professional, care and attention. This is where adjustment disorder services just like the ones we offer at Atlantic Behavioral Health come into play, offering what some people might consider a real lifeline when they’re dealing with the impact of a stressful event. Read on to find out more about what an adjustment disorder is and how adjustment disorder treatment can help – you might find it’s time to get in touch, and we’ll be more than happy to help if you do.

What Is Adjustment Disorder?

So just what are adjustment disorders? Adjustment disorder is a term that is actually very broad, and many different emotional or behavioral symptoms come under it. Still, whatever those symptoms might be, they will be emotional and behavioral reactions to stressful life events. Unlike other mental disorders, an adjustment disorder is usually thought of as a short-term, temporary condition that’s triggered by stressors that are relatively simple to understand and detect.

This is very different from other conditions like major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, which can be long-term. Still, even if they are temporary, their underlying cause isn’t always something that’s easy to work out.

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Adjustment Disorder Group Therapy Session in Wilmington
Feel better with adjustment disorder therapy

Who Does Adjustment Disorder Affect?

Adjustment disorders can affect anyone, as vague as that might sound. However, it’s important to know that it doesn’t matter who you are, what your gender is, how old you are, what your background is, how much money you have, what you do for a living, or anything else – you could become an adjustment disorder sufferer. Life events such as a major illness, loss of a loved one, job loss, a big change in life circumstances, and so much more – usually negative, of course – can bring about an adjustment disorder.

Take young people, for example – they could experience adjustment disorder with anxiety when they’re trying to get through school and feel a lot of academic pressure on them from their parents, teachers, or friends. Then there are adults who could develop chronic adjustment disorder when they’re trying to handle the long-term effects of a medically ill inpatient experience, such as an acute myocardial infarction.

What Causes Adjustment Disorder?

Although the exact cause of anyone’s adjustment disorder will be unique to them and down to specific circumstances, in general terms, the cause of adjustment disorder comes from an identifiable stressor. This could be anything from divorce and separation anxiety to traumatic incidents like accidents and natural disasters.

It is important to note that not everyone who goes through a trauma or stressful event will develop adjustment disorder, and it does depend on the individual.

Symptoms Of Adjustment Disorder

Identifying adjustment disorder symptoms is essential if there is going to be any way of treating adjustment disorder, and the sooner a diagnosis is made, ideally by experts using a recognized diagnostic and statistical manual, the better because the sooner treatment can start.

The most common symptoms are a depressed mood and anxiety, but there will usually be a mix of different things, which means emotional or behavioral symptoms persist until a treatment plan is designed and put into practice. People who are suffering from adjustment disorders happen to experience all kinds of different issues, including deep sadness, feelings of hopelessness, irritability, being quick to anger, fatigue, withdrawal from social situations (even those they used to enjoy), and perhaps changes in sleep patterns. Each of these can be different regarding symptom severity, and some people will be dealing with major symptoms. In contrast, others may have less trouble with symptoms and the adjustment disorder with depressed feelings they have to cope with.

Psychiatric Treatment for Adjustment Disorder

Treating Adjustment Disorder

When people are dealing with adjustment disorders and other psychiatric disorders and all the challenges that come with them, it’s good for them to look for adjustment disorder treatments. Not only will this help them feel much better mentally, emotionally, and perhaps even physically, but it will also mean they can regain control over their lives and emotional symptoms. Here are some of the many outpatient treatment options available for adjustment disorder.

There are many different types of therapy that people with adjustment disorder with depressed mood have found useful, and one of these is cognitive behavior therapy or CBT. CBT focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behavioral reaction all come together to create negative emotional symptoms. This is done by looking for specific thought patterns so that people can notice them more easily in the future. When these thought patterns are negative and are triggers for adjustment disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or anything else, they can be changed from something negative into something more positive that doesn’t trigger any adjustment disorder.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is another evidence-based way of helping people with adjustment disorders handle their most intense emotional or behavioral reaction. DBT combines CBT techniques with mindfulness practices and helps people regulate their emotions, tolerate stressful events and stress in general, and even improve their relationships, which means they have better support for their mental disorder or even physical illness.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) takes elements of CBT and adds in mindfulness technique, which helps people with adjustment disorder and depressive disorders become more aware of the present moment, ensuring they’re not focused on past stressful events anymore. This is a particularly good way to treat those who have anxiety disorders, major depression, and adjustment disorder with anxiety.

Equine therapy is a great example of something that can help people get the stress and PTSD treatment they need. This allows people to connect with horses, helping them get more emotional growth and well-being, but also giving them something physical to do, which helps them be more mindful and relaxed. Their stress should reduce, and they’ll feel better if they seek treatment in this way.

Tai chi can also be beneficial, and for some, it’s the ideal thing to look into when it comes to stress recovery and individualized treatment plans. This combines movement with deep breathing, so people feel more relaxed and stress reduction takes place. This can be a good way to get past a traumatic event and start the healing process in a healthy, productive way.

Family therapy plays a huge part in helping people with adjustment disorders, especially when the adjustment disorder is causing problems in the family unit. This kind of therapy looks at different ways of improving communication skills between loved ones and ensuring everyone understands other people’s points of view. Family therapy allows a mental health professional to help work out how a stressful life event will have changed how a family comes together and makes changes to ensure things become more positive moving forward with better communication skills.

Peer group therapy allows people with adjustment disorder to connect with other people just like them who have faced or are facing similar challenges. This kind of therapy has a wide range of benefits, including the fact that people won’t feel so alone when they hear about shared experiences and feelings linked to their mental disorders, such as a depressive disorder. They can also learn from others about various coping skills they might find useful in the future – hearing how others have dealt with a stressful event can give them plenty of insight into what they can do for themselves.

In some cases, where the symptoms of adjustment disorder, such as depressive symptoms, a mood disorder, and even the potential for suicidal process with anxiety and depressed mood, are severe, a clinical practice might suggest that pharmacological interventions like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are necessary. In other words, medication is needed. In some cases, this might be through part of a randomized controlled trial; in others, it might be something specific, like anti-anxiety medicines for mental health conditions. Whatever it is, you’ll need a doctor to examine you and prescribe the medication to you, as well as monitor you, and you must never self-medicate, especially when there are other risk factors involved, such as medical problems, physical symptoms, or substance abuse which could lead to psychiatric morbidity.

The Benefits Of Intensive Outpatient Treatment

On an IOS like the one we offer at Atlantic Behavioral Health, which specializes in adjustment disorder, patients can attend various therapy sessions several times a week, and these sessions are led by a qualified mental health professional who will specialize in treating emotional or behavioral reaction to any kind of stressful event. The focus of an IOS is to work on the symptoms of adjustment disorder so that people can feel better due to the practical advice and suggestions they’re given by experts, helping them to cope more easily with an identified stressful event. Here are some of the benefits of attending our intensive outpatient program for acute adjustment disorder, affective disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, depressed mood, anxiety disorder, major depression, mixed anxiety, adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance, and much more.

Specialized Care For Adjustment Disorders

IOS treatment is designed to offer specialized care that’s perfectly tailored to each individual person with adjustment disorder and mental health problems – this is quite different from more generalized programs that don’t necessarily take the person into account because IOS programs focus on the emotions and behaviors linked to stressful things that have happened in life and that go on to cause adjustment disorders and a potential depressive episode.

This more targeted approach ensures that treatment strategies directly work on the unique challenges that adjustment disorders bring with them, including adjustment disorder unspecified as well as those that can be categorized.

Flexibility In Scheduling

One big advantage that intensive outpatient programs have over inpatient ones is that they are so flexible. These programs and the treatments they offer for adjustment disorders and other mental health conditions understand that people have lives to lead, including various responsibilities and commitments, such as work, studies, and their families. So that’s why IOS programs typically offer flexible schedules, which allow everyone with a mental health condition who needs mental health professional care to get that care but in a way that suits them and their lives much better. They can go to therapy a few times a week and still be at home so they can keep up with their routines. This is ideal for many people, including adolescent outpatients over 18 who need to go to school, medically ill inpatients referred to an IOS, and cancer patients who have important treatments to attend, for example.

Consistent Progress Monitoring

In an IOS, patients can benefit from mental health experts being able to monitor their progress regularly with a systematic review. These professionals closely track adjustment disorder symptoms and their severity, as well as people’s overall emotional well-being, and come up with changes to treatment plans as needed. This ongoing checking and evaluation means that people get the best care to support their adjustment disorder, even if symptoms change or patients have new issues to deal with.

Safe And Supportive Environment

IOSs offer a safe and supportive environment where those with adjustment disorders can openly talk about what’s happening in their lives without any fear of judgment. This sense of safety is often highly encouraging to patients as they can share their thoughts, feelings, and emotions with people who understand what they mean and can empathize because they’ve gone through the same thing. In turn, those people will also talk, and the patient at the intensive outpatient program treatment center can get information about their mental disorder with depressed mood or anxiety that could be useful to them in the future.

Gradual Transition To Independence

As patients start to progress with their adjustment disorder diagnosed by professionals with American Psychiatric Association credentials and treated in an IOS, they’ll have a structured routine to work with and a framework that gives them a chance to recover in the way that works best for them, using a combination of treatments such as the ones we’ve outlined above. This can be a long or a short process. Still, no matter how long it takes, the journey will give patients the confidence they need to go out on their own, using their new coping mechanisms, and they’ll still know they have the support behind them from professionals to help them if needed.

Find Out More Today

If you feel you’re ready to get more information about adjustment disorders, adjustment disorder with mixed symptoms, and other mood disorders, their treatment, and how our specialist Massachusetts intensive outpatient program and experts with knowledge of the American Psychiatric Association can help you, please contact us today. We can discuss your unique situation and determine the best way to move forward together. Reach out now.

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