Adjustment Disorder is characterised by a person’s inability to deal with an event, situation or an experience that has or is causing them stress. Generally they will start displaying symptoms within three months of the event happening. The actual circumstances can be a wide variety of situations including a diagnosis of serious illness like cancer, a marriage, a divorce, starting a new school or a new job. It can also be related to less specific situations for example financial difficulties, a continuous difficult home life or a child watching parents constantly arguing.

The reaction to these situations is much more severe than would normally be expected. The symptoms can be recognised by a significant impairment in the person’s behaviour when at school, at work or in social situations. The sufferer will find it hard to go about their normal daily routine, and daily tasks can seem too overwhelming to them. They display symptoms very similar to that of depression. The sufferer will demonstrate signs of severe anxiety, they will excessively worry, and they will have difficulty in sleeping.
Those suffering from Adjustment Disorder are more at risk of alcohol or substance abuse, more importantly they are at a higher risk of committing suicide and of suicidal behaviours.