SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Adjustment disorders symptoms vary from person to person. The symptoms you have may be very different from those of someone else with an adjustment disorder. But for everyone, symptoms of an adjustment disorder begin within three months of a stressful event in your life.
Emotional symptoms of adjustment disorders
Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder may affect how you feel and think about yourself or life, including:
- Lack of enjoyment
- Crying spells
- Thoughts of suicide
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed
Behavioral symptoms of adjustment disorders
Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder may affect your actions or behavior, such as:
- Reckless driving
- Ignoring bills
- Avoiding family or friends
- Performing poorly in school or at work
- Skipping school
- Vandalizing property
Length of symptoms
How long you have symptoms of an adjustment disorder also can vary:
- 6 months or less (acute). In these cases, symptoms may go away on their own, especially if you actively follow self-care measures.
- More than 6 months (chronic). In these cases, symptoms continue to bother you and disrupt your life. Professional treatment can help symptoms improve and prevent the condition from continuing to get worse.
When to see a doctor
Sometimes the stressful change in your life goes away, and your symptoms of adjustment disorder get better on their own. But often, the stressful event remains a part of your life. Or a new stressful situation comes up, and you face the same emotional struggles all over again.
You may think that an adjustment disorder is less serious than other mental health problems because it involves stress, but that's not necessarily true. Adjustment disorders can affect your whole life. You may feel so overwhelmed, stressed and hopeless that you can't go about your normal daily activities. You may skip work or school, for instance, or not pay your bills. You may drive dangerously or pick fights.
Talk to your doctor if you're having trouble getting through each day. You can get treatment to help you cope better with stressful events and feel better about life again.
If you or someone you love has suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately.
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