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Adjustment Disorder Diagnosis

(Also Known As: Situational Depression Diagnosis, Adjustment Reaction Disorder Diagnosis)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

How is Adjustment Disorder Diagnosed?

There are several factors for a diagnosis of adjustment disorder. First though, it is necessary to differentiate the symptoms from those of other diagnoses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Acute Stress Disorder (both caused by extreme stressors and characterized by intrusive recurrent thoughts, avoidance, etc.), and other, general types of Clinical and Personality Disorders (which are not necessarily caused by a readily identifiable, recent stressful event). 5

The diagnostic factors for Adjustment Disorder are:

  • Development of symptoms within three (3) months as a response to identifiable stressor(s).
  • The distress experienced is in excess of what can normally be expected as a response to the stressor(s).
  • There is a significant impairment of social and occupational functioning.
  • The disturbance does not meet the criteria for other clinical diagnosis (such as other Mood or Anxiety disorders).
  • It is not merely a worsening of existing clinical or personality disorders.
  • The symptoms do not represent Bereavement (expected reaction to loss of a loved one).
  • Acute Adjustment Disorder: If the stressor and its consequences already stopped, the symptoms do not last for more than six (6) months. However, it may also take the form of a Chronic Adjustment Disorder, when the stressor is ever-present or enduring—then the symptoms can be expected to last for more than six months.

Could You Have Adjustment Disorder?

Adjustment Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Acute Stress Disorder – Mental Shock, Psychological Shock, Traumatic Event, Fearful Experiences
Anxiety Disorder NOS – Pathological Fear, Anxiety, Excessive Worry, Phobia, Unpleasant Emotional State
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Nightmares, Insomnia, Sexual Abuse, Irritation, Social Impairment, Problems with Memory and Concentration, Intrusive Memories, Hyper-Vigilance