Problematic adjustment occurs when an individual is unable to adjust to or cope with a particular stressor, such as a major life event. Individuals struggling with adjustment problems often have symptoms that depressed people do, such as the following:
- General loss of interest
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Frequent crying
This disorder is also sometimes known as situational depression. Unlike major depression however, the disorder is caused by an outside stressor and generally resolves once the individual is able to adapt to the situation. Therefore, adjustment problems are typically less intense and shorter in duration than an anxiety disorder, which lacks the presence of a stressor, or post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder, which usually are associated with a more intense stressor.
Common characteristics include mild depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and possibly traumatic stress symptoms or a combination of the three. There are many different types of adjustment disorders that depend on the type of stressor and symptoms an individual displays.
Getting Help for Adjustment Problems at the Institute for Human Adjustment
To help adult individuals experiencing anxiety or depressive symptoms associated with adjustment problems, we offer anxiety and depression psychotherapy at the U-M Psychological Clinic. In addition, we offer adults help with the life transitions that might be challenging for the individual struggling with adjustment.
For families who are having adjustment problems associated with negotiating a life transition, at the University Center for the Child and the Family (UCCF), we offer help with family transition issues. At the UCCF, we also offer therapy for the symptoms of anxiety and depression in children and families that can be caused by adjustment problems.