Adjusting to change can be difficult, as even positive life transitions tend to cause some stress. Over the course of a lifetime, a person can expect to experience a significant amount of change. Some of these changes, such as marriages, births, and new jobs, are generally positive, although they may be accompanied by their own unique stressors. Other major life transitions, such as moving, retirement, or entering the “empty nest” phase of life may cause a significant amount of stress.
Those who find themselves experiencing difficulty coping with life transitions may find it helpful to speak to a therapist in order to become better able to adjust to changes they cannot control.
The mental and physical symptoms associated with adjustment disorder usually occur during or immediately after you experience a stressful event. While the disorder lasts no longer than six months, your symptoms may continue if the stressor isn’t removed. Some people have just one symptom. Others may experience many symptoms.
The mental symptoms of adjustment disorders can include:
- rebellious or impulsive actions
- feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or being trapped
- withdrawn attitude
- lack of concentration
- loss of self-esteem
- suicidal thoughts
There is one type of adjustment disorder that is associated with physical symptoms as well as psychological ones. These physical symptoms can include:
- muscle twitches or trembling
- body pain or soreness
Therapy is the primary treatment for an adjustment disorder. Your doctor or healthcare provider may recommend you see a mental health professional. You may be referred to a psychologist or mental health counselor. However, if your doctor thinks that your condition requires medication, they may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner.
Going to therapy may enable you to return to a regular level of functioning. Therapists offer you their emotional support and can assist you in understand the cause of your adjustment disorder. This may help you develop skills to cope with future stressful situation.