Adjustment disorder is a stress-related, short-term, nonpsychotic disturbance.
The discomfort, distress, turmoil, and anguish to the patient are significant, and the consequences (e.g., suicidal potential) are extremely important.
DSM-5 diagnostic criteria
- Emotional or behavioral symptoms develop in response to an identifiable stressor or stressors within 3 months of the onset of the stressor(s) plus either or both of: 1) marked distress that is out of proportion to the severity or intensity of the stressor, even when external context and cultural factors that might influence symptom severity and presentation are taken into account; and/or 2) significant impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning. The stress-related disturbance does not meet criteria for another mental disorder and is not merely an exacerbation of a preexisting mental disorder.
The symptoms do not represent normal bereavement. After the termination of the stressor (or its consequences), the symptoms persist for no longer than an additional 6 months.
The following 6 specifiers are used to identify subtypes of adjustment disorder:
- depressed mood
- anxious mood
- mixed anxiety and depressed mood
- disturbance of conduct
- mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct
See reference for details.
Adapted from Medscape Drugs & Diseases. Adjustment Disorders. Available at http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2192631-overview. Accessed February 15, 2016. To view the entire article and all other content on the Medscape Drugs & Diseases site, a free, one-time registration is required.