Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood - Discussion

What is adjustment disorder with depressed mood?

Stress is a part of everyone’s life, and each one of us has his or her own way of dealing with it and overcoming the challenges of everyday living. Some people, however, react slightly differently to stressful situations and start slipping into depression, since they are not able to effectively deal with stress.

People who are not able to come to terms with a certain stressful event in life, cannot get past the situation and continue to be depressed are said to suffer from adjustment disorder with depressed mood.

Normally, people take about two to three months to come to terms with the most challenging life situations. This time period for adjustment may be slightly longer in a few, but people suffering from adjustment disorder do not get over the painful or traumatic experience for over four to six months. Depression becomes part of life and these people are not able to get back to normalcy like the rest. This is when it is important to do something or seek help to break the pattern and get out of depression, or else this can lead to serious disruption in a person’s professional and personal life.

Some of the reasons and causes that lead to adjustment disorder with depressed mood include divorce or separation, illness, disability due to an accident, etc. These are scenarios and events which usually require a lot of strength to get over. In such cases, if people cannot get over the loss or are not able to make their peace with the situation, there are high chances of them slipping into adjustment disorder or situational depression.

Children who are separated from their parents and have to live in a residential school or boarding house; teens who leave home for the purpose of higher education, and young adults who relocate to different countries in search of jobs, etc, could also experience adjustment disorder with depressed mood.

Some of the symptoms that manifest in people suffering from this condition include the following:

  • Inability to get over grief, stress, trauma for more than four to six months, despite several attempts from friends and family to console the affected person.

  • Persistent lack of interest in school, work, or household activities.

  • Inability to concentrate and focus their energies into tasks that require attention, thought, and decision making.

Adjustment disorder-related depressed mood might return when the affected persons witness occasions or events which are similar to what they themselves had previously experienced. Therefore, it is important for these persons to learn to get over the experience or trauma and make their peace with the situation.

Diagnosis of such depression typically involves physiological tests to rule out physical ailments. If there are other problems relating to hormonal imbalance, etc, these will be treated accordingly. The person in question will then be assessed for the symptoms of depression such as sleep problems, irritability, eating problems, etc.

Adjustment disorder with depressed mood is often treated by employing counseling, psychotherapy and medication. Our general stand with regard to drug medications as treatment for depression is that they should only be used as a last resort. This is because they usually fail to address the root causes of disease, and also because they have many potentially serious, even fatal, side effects. We much prefer alternative and natural remedies, such as acupuncture, massages, detoxification programs, meditation, nutrition and yoga.

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