Stress coping is a muscle, and no matter how strong that muscle is, you may someday experience an event that is simply too heavy for your coping muscle to handle. This may trigger sadness, nervousness, hopelessness, or anger. If you have a difficult time controlling these negative emotions after a stressful life event, you may have an adjustment disorder.

What Are Adjustment Disorders?

Adjustment disorders refer to symptoms of depression, anxiety, or recklessness that occur after undergoing a very stressful life event. For example:

  • The ending of a long term relationship.
  • Diagnosis of a serious health problem.
  • Witnessing a violent event.
  • Loss of a loved one.
  • Becoming laid off from work.
  • Living through an accident or trauma.

What all of these experiences have in common is that they trigger significant stress. Often, you’ll find that the stress is so severe that you are simple unable to cope. That extreme stress may then trigger many different symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, including:

  • Anxiousness, tension, and trembling.
  • Sadness, emptiness, and loss of energy.
  • Recklessness and defiant behavior.

There are usually physical and emotional symptoms as well. These symptoms tend to be more severe than expected given the situation, and you may find that they are difficult to control.

Treatment for Adjustment Disorders in Kansas City and When to Seek Help

Adjustment disorder is related to both anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also sometimes referred to as “reactive depression,” because the symptoms are specifically brought on as a reaction to some type of event.

Many of those that struggle with adjustment disorder do not seek treatment. If you find that you recently experienced a major stressor or life event, and it is causing you to feel extreme emotions that are difficult to control, it may help to talk to someone that you can talk to in order to see if you would benefit from further treatment.

As a Kansas City psychologist that specializes in adjustment disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, I can offer you an experienced perspective to determine if you would benefit from treatment, or if you simply need time to cope with your stress. I’m also happy to lend an ear so that you have someone to talk to you about what you’re experiencing.

If you’d like to talk to someone, and you’re located in or near Kansas City, MO, please call me today at 858.224.3767 or email me at Let’s talk about what you have been feeling and determine if you would benefit from an evidence based therapy or counseling.