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Neurofeedback Registered Therapist

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Adjustment Disorder (Situational Depression)

 

Adjustment disorder is an abnormal and excessive reaction to an identifiable life stressor. The reaction is more severe than would normally be expected and can result in significant impairment in social, occupational, or academic functioning

Why It's Important to Recognise and Treat?  

Unlike clinical depression, adjustment disorder is often triggered by a significant change in a person's life.

Treatment is important.

Major Depressive Disorder is diagnosed when you experience five or more of the following symptoms over a two-week period that impact your ability to function day to day.

 

Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder

The signs and symptoms that are indicative of the presence of adjustment disorder will vary from person to person, but may include combinations of the following:

Behavioural symptoms:

  • Social isolation

  • Being overly fearful

  • Jitteriness

  • Acting out in aggressive behaviours

  • Engaging in risky, impulsive behaviours

  • Substance use and abuse

  • No longer participating in activities one once enjoyed

  • Participating in self-harming behaviours

Physical symptoms:

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Chronic headaches

  • Pervasive stomach aches

  • Chest pains

  • Muscle tension

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Disturbances in one’s ability to concentrate

  • Memory impairment

  • Lacking proper decision-making skills

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Paranoia

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Emotional instability

  • Depressed mood

  • Intense feelings of anxiety

  • Chronic, overwhelming feelings of worry

  • Feelings of desperation

  • Increased separation anxiety

  • Feelings of hostility

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness

  • Decreased ability to experience pleasure

There need not be a trigger or obvious cause for these symptoms to develop.

Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood, also called Situational Depressionmay sometimes feel nearly as bleak as MDD, but a major difference is that it does not arise out of the blue.  Rather, situational depression occurs after there is a specific trauma–divorce, accident, death of loved one, a major life change…

The good news is, situational depression is not permanent. Typically it has an onset within three months of the upset and the symptoms usually begin to recede within six months.

If You Undergo a Life-Changing Trauma

Acknowledge the loss and that things will never be the same – cry, scream, most importantly don’t instantly return to life as normal. Take time to heal.

Go to individual and/or group therapy.

Get a check-up—the physical and emotional are very connected and you want to ensure you take care of all parts of yourself.

Be physical—exercise is vital.

Eat healthy and do your best to maintain good sleep patterns.

Don’t depend on alcohol and/or drugs as a crutch.

Stay connected to people who care about you versus isolating.