Adjustment Disorder Signs and Symptoms

Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center is a leading provider of comprehensive mental health treatment services for individuals who have mental health concerns that have prevented them from leading productive lives. At our facility, we proudly provide superior services that help adolescents and adults who are struggling with adjustment disorder find healing.

Learn About Adjustment Disorder

Learn About Adjustment Disorder

Oftentimes, major life changes can lead to feelings of distress. These life events may include a chronic illness diagnosis, the death of a loved one, or moving to a new city. Feelings of stress that stem from change may be fleeting for some, but for others, adjusting can be difficult. When someone is unable to effectively cope with a major life stressor or event, they may struggle with adjustment disorder. Adjustment disorder signs and symptoms occur in the aftermath of a stressor and can be vastly different for each person.

Similar to symptoms of depressive disorders, adjustment disorder signs and symptoms may include crying spells, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and feelings of hopelessness or being overwhelmed. However, unlike depression, adjustment disorder develops as a result of an outside stressor and tends to resolve when the person adjusts to their situation.

There are six subtypes of adjustment disorder listed in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which include:

Adjustment disorder with depressed mood: Symptoms can include low mood, lack of motivation, feelings of sadness, and loss of self-esteem.

Adjustment disorder with anxiety: Symptoms can include excessive worry, nervousness, and jumpiness.

Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood: Symptoms include a combination of depression and anxiety.

Adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct: Symptoms include behaviors that violate the norms of society or the rights of people, such as substance abuse, outbursts of anger, and efforts to seek revenge on others.

Adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct: Symptoms include a combination of anxiety, depression, and behavioral concerns.

Adjustment disorder unspecified: This subtype is characterized by maladaptive responses to major life events that do not meet the criteria for other adjustment disorder subtypes.

People may struggle with adjustment disorder symptoms for varying lengths of time. Acute adjustment disorder occurs when a person has symptoms for six months or less, and those who have chronic adjustment disorder experience disruptive symptoms for longer than six months.

Adjustment disorder can impact all aspects of a person’s life, and without a prompt diagnosis and treatment, it can become a long-term condition. However, at Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center, you can receive care that can help you find relief from adjustment disorder symptoms and build a foundation for a bright future.

Adjustment Disorder Statistics

Adjustment Disorder Statistics

According to the DSM-5, an estimated 5%-20% of people who participate in outpatient services for mental health concerns receive a diagnosis of adjustment disorder.

One study published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine reports the following statistics:

  • Adjustment disorder affects roughly 1% of the general population.
  • Approximately 34% of adolescents and 7% of adults who are hospitalized for acute mental health concerns struggle with adjustment disorder symptoms at the time of their admission.
  • There is a 4% risk for suicide for those who have adjustment disorder.
  • 71% of adults and 44% of adolescents continued to do well five years after completing programming for adjustment disorder.

Causes of & Risk Factors for Adjustment Disorder

Causes of & Risk Factors for Adjustment Disorder

Whether a person is dealing with adjustment disorder with depressed mood, adjustment disorder with anxiety, adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct, or another subtype of adjustment disorder, the causes and risk factors likely include a complex combination of genetic, environmental, and physical components.

Examples of common types of stressors that can put a person at increased risk for developing adjustment disorder are listed in the DSM-5. They include:

  • Ending a relationship or marriage
  • Losing or changing jobs
  • Moving away to attend school
  • Ongoing medical illness
  • Living in a crime-ridden area
  • Financial difficulties
  • Living through a natural disaster
  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Retirement

If you or someone you love is exhibiting the signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder, please reach out to our team today. We can help you manage your symptoms and get on a path to lasting wellness.

Adjustment Disorder Signs & Symptoms

Adjustment Disorder Signs & Symptoms

Adjustment disorder signs and symptoms vary from person to person, often so much so that adjustment disorder can be challenging to diagnose. To meet DSM-5 criteria for adjustment disorder, symptoms must be present within three months of the major life event occurrence and disproportionate to the stressor.

Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Frequent crying
  • Conflicts with other people
  • Being unusually argumentative
  • Ignoring bills or other financial obligations
  • Avoiding friends, family, and loved ones
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Being late to work or school frequently
  • Excessive absenteeism
  • Vandalizing or destroying property

Physical symptoms:

  • Trouble eating
  • Changes in sleep patterns

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Trouble concentrating

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Sadness
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Feeling isolated
  • Hopelessness
  • Inability to feel joy or pleasure
  • Anxiety or nervousness
  • Feeling on edge
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Self-harm
  • Thoughts of suicide

While many people experience relief from symptoms of adjustment disorder six months after the occurrence of the event, there are others who may suffer for an extended period of time. To avoid the development of chronic mental health concerns, we encourage those who are struggling with adjustment disorder symptoms to seek professional care as quickly as possible.

Effects of Adjustment Disorder

Effects of Adjustment Disorder

When a person who is exhibiting adjustment disorder signs and symptoms does not find the mental health support they need, they may be putting themselves at greater risk for the worsening of symptoms or development of negative long-term effects. For those who have a co-occurring mental health disorder or medical illness, coping with adjustment disorder symptoms can become increasingly difficult without the help of a professional.

Some of the more common effects of untreated, chronic adjustment disorder are:

  • Social impairment
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal ideation

As defined in the DSM-5, adjustment disorder symptoms can severely impact a person’s functioning. If symptoms of adjustment disorder have disrupted your ability to carry out day-to-day responsibilities, you may benefit from our services. At Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center, our team can teach you strategies to help you become the most productive version of yourself.

Adjustment Disorder & Co-Occurring Disorders

Adjustment Disorder & Co-Occurring Disorders

It isn’t uncommon for those who develop symptoms of adjustment disorder to have another co-occurring mental health disorder. Examples of co-occurring concerns include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Phobias
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder

Adjustment disorder impacts people differently, and a person may develop symptoms at any age. For this reason, knowing about adjustment disorder symptoms can help you recognize when someone is in need of professional care.

Some of the subtypes of adjustment disorder listed in the DSM-5 have similar symptoms to those of the disorders listed above. Knowing the difference between adjustment disorder with depressed mood, adjustment disorder with anxiety, adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct, and other co-occurring disorders can be beneficial for understanding your diagnosis.

At Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center, we will take the time to educate you on a variety of topics related to your healing journey so that you can learn to manage your symptoms effectively.

What Happens if Adjustment Disorder Symptoms Return?

What Happens if Adjustment Disorder Symptoms Return?

Seeking professional intervention for adjustment disorder symptoms is a brave first step on your journey to lasting healing. At Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center, located in Belton, Texas, we are committed to providing focused, transformative care that can help you overcome obstacles and live a life filled with joy.


We understand that a person’s healing journey isn’t always linear. Even as your health continues to improve, adjustment disorder symptoms may return when specific situations arise. Stressors that may cause certain adjustment disorder symptoms to reappear are known as triggers, and when you participate in programming with our team, you can learn to identify and avoid triggers successfully.


Through focused care, we teach our patients valuable coping skills they need to continue achieving success in the face of adversity long after their programming ends. We will also ensure that you have the resources you need to accomplish milestones after your time with us. Continuing care plans include a variety of recommendations, like support groups and lower levels of care.


We understand that people may face challenges after treatment and require additional help. For this reason, we strive to provide a warm, welcoming environment where people feel comfortable returning when they need support. Returning to our facility for follow-up care is not a sign of failure; it shows that you are committed to your healing journey.

This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center.

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I was having a hard time adjusting in my new job. It was only through Cedar Crest that I was able to get my adjustment disorder treated effectively.

– Anonymous Patient
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