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Adjustment disorder is a group of symptoms, such as stress, feeling sad or hopeless, and physical symptoms that can occur after you go through a stressful life event.

An adjustment disorder is a type of stress-related mental illness. You may feel anxious or depressed, or even have thoughts of suicide. Your normal daily routines may feel overwhelming. Or you may make reckless decisions. In essence, you have a hard time adjusting to change in your life, and it has serious consequences.


Adjustment disorders symptoms vary from person to person. The symptoms you have may be different from those of someone else with an adjustment disorder. But for everyone, symptoms of an adjustment disorder begin within three months of a stressful event in your life. Emotional symptoms of adjustment disorders Signs and symptoms of adjustment disorder may affect how you feel and think about yourself or life, including:

  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Lack of enjoyment
  • Crying spells
  • Nervousness
  • Jitteriness
  • Anxiety, which may include separation anxiety
  • Worry
  • Desperation
  • Trouble sleeping


Although the exact causes of impulse control disorders are unknown, it’s believed that the development of these problems is influenced by both biological and social risk factors. For people with pathological gambling and intermittent explosive disorder, defects have been found in the way the brain processes chemicals called neurotransmitters. Other research suggests that some impulse control problems might be at least partly explained by genetic factors that can be inherited. Disruptive and violent childhood experiences have also been linked to the development of some of these problems. Plus, some researchers believe that problems such as trichotillomania can be learned. They assert that people continue to pull out hair because this action temporarily relieves tension, and so, naturally, the action is repeated.

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