Adjustment Disorders

Also known as: stress response syndrome.

What are adjustment disorders?

An adjustment disorder is an unhealthy, excessive behavioral or emotional reaction, usually in children or adolescents, to a difficult and/or stressful major life event, or change in life, which may be sudden or ongoing for some time (and normally occurs within 3 months of the event). 
 

What causes adjustment disorders? 

Children vary in their temperament, vulnerability and ability to cope with a stressful situation. Divorce, death (or birth), environmental catastrophes, moving to a different city, loss of a pet, or other life change and more, are some of the triggers that may result in adjustment symptoms. 
 

What are the symptoms of adjustment disorders? 

There are a number of ways children/adolescents present. Symptoms may be predominantly associated with:
  • Depressed mood (like tearfulness, sadness, hopelessness)
  • Anxiety symptoms (like worry or  nervousness)
  • A combination of depressed mood plus anxiety symptoms
  • Problems with the way they behave (like bullying, destruction of property, fighting, missing school)
  • A mixture of emotional and conduct symptoms
  • A variety of symptoms that don’t fit into any of the above presentations.
Symptoms may also suggest medical (for example skipped heartbeats) or psychiatric problems.
 

What are adjustment disorder care options? 

Individual psychotherapy with a cognitive behavioral approach, family therapy, talk therapy, self-help peer groups, and possibly medications for a short time for a specific symptom, may all be offered. 

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:19:53 PM


Upcoming Events

2018 Pediatric Autism Symposium: Ensuring Long Term Outcomes in Children Birth to Five

This one day course will include educational sessions, case studies, and panel discussions that highlight evidence-based information for managing Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other related disabilities for children ages birth to 5. Learn more.

Register Online

Grief and Loss: Talking to Your Children About Death

During this program, Nicklaus Children’s bereavement social worker will discuss a wide range of concerns: What do you say to a child about a death? Do you say something different if the loss is a sibling or a parent? How should you approach a child about death and loss? Learn more.

Register Online

Lunch N' Learn

Tune in to this live chat with Yvette Calles and Ranya Alnatour from our Psychology Department as they discuss tips for parents on getting children back into a routine for return to school.

Learn more.

Weekly Support Programs

​F.O.C.U.S. Program

This group therapy program is designed for children ages 7 to 17 with behaviorial issues, including but not limited to ADHD. This support group meets on Wednesdays.   
  Learn more.

Social Skills Group

Children and teens ages 7 to 17 are invited to join this small discussion group to learn how to make, cultivate and maintain friendships. Participants will learn basic conversational skills, and discuss the use of appropriate humor, how to electronically connect with others, and how to manage disagreements. Learn more.

Calm Kids

Calm Kids is a weekly group therapy course designed to teach children strategies on how to take control over anxiety symptoms. Children will learn how to cope with fears and worries, identify anxiety triggers, how to relax the mind and body and maximize their self-confidence. This group meets on Tuesdays. Learn more.

Pain Management Group

This eight-week program is specifically designed to empower children ages 7 to 18 through complex sensory experiences. Learn more.

Teen Sleep Group

This six-week program is designed for teens ages 13 to 16 experiencing difficulties related to sleep, including daytime sleepiness, trouble waking in the morning, difficulty falling asleep and waking in the middle of the night. Learn more.

From the Newsdesk

Psychology- Pain Management
Dr Alvarez Salvat provides pain relief through various techniques.
Lunch n' Learn Chat- Reducing Anxiety for Return to School
Lunch n' Learn Live Chats are brought to you by Nicklaus Children's Hospital's Division of Psychology to raise awareness on issues affecting our children today.

Video

video
Lunch n' Learn Chats are brought to you by Nicklaus Children's Hospital's Division of Psychology to raise awareness on issues affecting our children today.