Adjustment disorder

Adjustment disorder happens when people do not recover from a big change or difficult experience. Doctors often find refugees and immigrants have this condition.

woman wearing glasses drinking from a cup

“Disorder” means something is wrong. “Adjustment” means making a change to a situation. Adjustment disorder is when it is difficult for you to adjust to a big change or experience a large event. Some examples of a big change or event are moving to a new country, getting married or getting divorced, losing your job, or when someone dies.

Symptoms of adjustment disorder

Symptoms are the feelings and behaviors you have because of an illness. You can have symptoms within 3 months of the stressful event happening. But symptoms usually do not last longer than 6 months.

Some symptoms of adjustment disorder are:

  • feeling sad
  • feeling tired
  • feeling worried
  • feeling like you cannot do normal activities
  • stopping activities you like to do
  • trouble sleeping
  • not wanting to eat
  • crying a lot
  • having problems at work or school

If you experience a stressful event and you have some of these symptoms, you may have an adjustment disorder. For example, if you just moved to the United States from another country, you may feel sad and worried. But if you feel so sad and worried that you cannot do your everyday activities, you can talk to your doctor about ways to get help. If you continue to feel very sad and worried for more than 6 months, that is not normal. You should find ways to take care of your mental health.