Treatment for Adjustment Disorder

Do You or Someone You Love Need Adjustment Disorder Treatment?

If you or your loved one has been struggling with adjustment disorder, you may understand how difficult and overwhelming it can feel to live life on a daily basis.  It is likely that you have experienced hopelessness, despair, and sadness, and other extreme emotions that have made daily living a struggle.  The ways in which your life can be altered by this mental illness are numerous, and for this reason, it is crucial that you seek the help and support from an adjustment disorder treatment center for guidance in your healing and recovery journey.  If left untreated, an adjustment disorder can negatively impact various aspects of your life, including physically, emotionally, and socially.  By recognizing the severity of this disorder, you will be taking the first and most important step towards healing and recovery.  If you are not sure that you or your loved one needs professional treatment for adjustment disorder, be aware of the signs and symptoms that are present.  Often, a person with adjustment disorder may have recently experienced a traumatic event or been involved in a difficult transition period.  If they lack appropriate coping skills to healthily deal with these stressors, they can develop adjustment disorder, which would include symptoms of depressiveness, lack of motivation, crying episodes, or suicidal ideations.  Unlike depression however, adjustment disorder can progress suddenly and can be acute or chronic, depending on the length of time needed for an individual to adapt to changing stressors.  Having professional treatment during this time can promote healing and offer guidance so that the effects of adjustment disorder are minimized.

Treatment Plan for Adjustment Disorder

It is necessary to enlist the help of loved ones and professionals alike in order to overcome and heal from an adjustment disorder.  By creating a skilled team of specialists, you will have a comprehensive foundation to your recovery and healing journey.  This team will consist of loved ones, a therapist, an adjustment disorder healing program, and a support group. These four components will contribute tremendously to your ability to heal from an adjustment disorder.

  • Friends and Family – Friends and family are important in the healing process and should not be underestimated. When therapy and healing becomes difficult, they can provide the inspiration to continue.
  • Find a therapist – A therapist who specializes in adjustment disorders will be able to create an individualized treatment plan. They will also help find and provide the resources needed for healing.
  • Search for an adjustment disorder treatment facility – An adjustment disorder program will assist with working through any physical or psychological issues that are present. It will also assist in addressing any ongoing co-occurring issues.
  • Support group – A support group can provide accountability and guidance which is important. They will provide assistance when facing the trials of stopping therapy and taking medications. They will be important in assisting to continue abstinence.

Treatment Levels for Adjustment Disorder

Various levels of treatment are available for the treatment of adjustment disorders, ranging based on needs and symptoms of an individual diagnosed with this disorder. In the case that one and one supervision is needed, medical stability for health issues or co-occurring disorders, a more acute level of care will be recommend.  On the other end of the spectrum, if on-going support is desired and needed, a less acute level of care in an outpatient setting will typically be sufficient.  Your doctor or therapist can help in determining what level of care you might need for addressing your adjustment disorder.  The following are common levels of care for adjustment disorder treatment, in order of acuity:

  • Inpatient / Hospital Treatment – Continuum of care for 24 hours per day in a hospital setting. The primary focus of this level of care is medical and psychological stabilization with stays less than three weeks.
  • Residential Treatment Center (RTC) – This kind of facility provides the patient an extended overnight stay for 30 to 90 days. An RTC will focus on the main issue and any other co-occurring concerns that may also be present.
  • Partial Hospitalization Level of Care (PHP) – This level of care is conducted in a residential center or hospital and incorporates group and individual therapies. The program runs five days a week either all morning, all afternoon, or all day.
  • Programs Focused on Intensive Outpatient Care (IOP) – This form of intensive outpatient treatment concentrates on personalized services and support while avoiding pharmacological detoxification. The patient’s daily routines can sometimes be maintained since sessions are conducted in the mornings or afternoons.
  • Outpatient Level of Care – This level of outpatient care is much like an IOP but not as intense. There are fewer individual limits placed on the patient, but personal treatment and group sessions are still applied.
  • Treatment with Support Groups – This type of treatment is important as the members help alleviate the trials of relapsing. The group can supply much needed care and compassion on the road to recovery.

Types of Pharmacological Therapy for Adjustment Disorder Treatment

Minimal research has been done to determine what types of medications may be helpful in the treatment of adjustment disorder.  While the recommended treatment is psychotherapy for symptom relief and behavior change, small doses of antidepressants are sometimes used as a part of treatment plans.  Due to lack of evidence, use of medication in treatment is typically determined on a case by case basis by the evaluating treatment team.

Types of Therapy for Adjustment Disorder Treatment

Psychotherapy may be the most effective resource and tool for treating adjustment disorder.  An adjustment disorder treatment center will incorporate a variety of psychotherapy techniques to promote healing in the life of an individual dealing with adjustment disorder.  The following are the main types of psychotherapies that may be used for the treatment of adjustment disorder:

  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) – This rehabilitation type pays attention to the interpersonal relationships and cultural roles using concise supportive analysis and works to assist patient’s to uncover better tools to address problems and issues that currently exist. IPT has four main elements which are relationship shortcomings, unresolved grief, role disputes, and role changes.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This level of treatment works toward changing maladaptive thinking patterns so the patient can modify their behavior in a positive way. This also allows negative coping skills to be replaced with positive coping skills.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – This type of cognitive behavioral treatment uses mindfulness and acceptance approaches mixed in multiple ways with strategies of commitment and behavior-change. The emotional and mental flexibility should be increased.
  • Supportive Programs – These are programs like family therapy, group therapy, support groups, etc. These types of supportive programs are beneficial for both the family and the person suffering from adjustment disorder.

If you are seeking help and healing from an adjustment disorder, you are choosing to find hope, health, and healing through your difficulties.  While you have undoubtedly suffered much due to this mental disorder, you do not have to bear this burden alone.  With the availability of help and resources for overcoming adjustment disorder, you can get your life back on track and learn healthy ways to cope with stressful circumstances.  An adjustment disorder treatment center can be invaluable to helping you get started on the right track of recovery.  Consider taking the first step towards healing today and access the resources available on Addiction Hope to get started on your recovery journey.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 15th, 2013
Published on, Addiction Help Guide