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Adjustment Disorder involves a set of symptoms in response to a highly stressful situation in daily life. These situations are within the range of experiences. They can include emigration, changing workplaces, marriage, divorce, moving to a new locality, conflicts at home/workplace, etc. Adjustment Disorder always revolves around a psychosocial stressor.
The responses to these situations reflect subjective perceptions and their experiences of distress associated with them. The person is usually always thinking about the stressor. This can be seen as constant worries about the stressor, intense and recurring thoughts about the stressor, and ruminations (a process involving negative thoughts forming a loop in the mind, stemming from previous thoughts with no end in sight). The individual can have fluctuating moods – going from sad to irritable to anxious. All of this arises due to the inability of the individual to adapt to the stressor. This can be highly distressing for the individual going through it. This distress impairs their daily functioning in significant areas of life – occupational, personal, and social. This distress also does not meet any criteria for any other psychiatric condition.