Signs and symptoms depend on the type of adjustment disorder and can vary from person to person. You experience more stress than would normally be expected in response to a stressful event, and the stress causes significant problems in your life.
Adjustment disorders affect how you feel and think about yourself and the world and may also affect your actions or behavior.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) was published by the American Psychiatric Association. The adjustment disorder DSM-5 lists six different types of adjustment disorders. Although they’re all related, each type has unique signs and symptoms.
- Adjustment disorder with depressed mood. Symptoms mainly include feeling sad and experiencing a lack of pleasure in activities you used to enjoy.
- Adjustment disorder with anxiety. Symptoms mainly include nervousness, worry, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, and feeling overwhelmed. Children who have an adjustment disorder with anxiety may strongly fear being separated from their parents and loved ones.
- With mixed anxiety and depressed mood. Symptoms include a combination of depression and anxiety.
- With disturbance of conduct. Symptoms mainly involve behavioral problems, such as fighting or reckless driving. Youths may skip school or vandalize property.
- With mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct. Symptoms include a mix of depression and anxiety as well as behavioral problems.
- Unspecified. Symptoms don’t fit the other types of adjustment disorders, but often include physical problems, problems with family or friends, or work or school problems.
Symptoms of an adjustment disorder start within three months of a stressful event and last no longer than 6 months after the end of the stressful event. However, persistent or chronic adjustment disorders can continue for more than 6 months, especially if the stressor is ongoing, such as unemployment.