How do I move on? Understanding Adjustment Disorder
Dr Jozelle Miller
November 9, 2021
How do I move on? Understanding Adjustment Disorder

Who Is at Risk of Developing Adjustment Disorder?

Anyone can develop an adjustment disorder. There isn’t any way to tell who out of a group of people experiencing the same stressor will develop an adjustment disorder. Your social skills and methods for coping with other stressors may determine whether or not you develop an adjustment disorder.

How Is Adjustment Disorder Treated?

If you are diagnosed with an adjustment disorder, you would probably benefit from treatment. You may require only short-term treatment or may need to be treated over an extended period of time. Adjustment disorder is typically treated with therapy, medications, or a combination of both.


Therapy is the primary treatment for an adjustment disorder. Your doctor or healthcare provider may recommend you see a mental health professional. You may be referred to a psychologist. However, if your doctor thinks that your condition requires medication, they may refer you to a psychiatrist.

Going to therapy can help you return to a regular level of functioning. Therapists offer you their emotional support and can help you understand the cause of your adjustment disorder. This together can help you develop skills to cope with future stressful situations.

There are several kinds of therapies used to treat adjustment disorders. These therapies include:

  • psychotherapy (also called counseling or talk therapy)
  • crisis intervention (emergency psychological care)
  • family and group therapies
  • support groups specific to the cause of the adjustment disorder
  • cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT (focuses on solving problems by changing unproductive thinking and behaviors)
  • interpersonal psychotherapy, or IPT (short-term psychotherapy treatment)

How to Prevent Adjustment Disorders

There’s no guaranteed way to prevent an adjustment disorder. However, learning to cope and be resilient can help you deal with stressors. Being resilient means being able to overcome stressors, on your own; you can increase your resilience by:

  • developing a strong network of people to support you
  • looking for the positive or humor in hard situations
  • living healthfully
  • establishing good self-esteem.

It can be helpful to prepare for a stressful situation if you know you will need to confront it in advance. Thinking positively can help. You can also call your doctor or therapist to discuss how you can best manage especially stressful situations.