How is adjustment disorder diagnosed?

Adjustment disorder is diagnosed by a mental health professional during a therapy session. The following symptoms must be present for a diagnosis:

  • Distress that is disproportional to the intensity or severity of the stressor when cultural and other external factors are considered.

  • Significant impairment in occupational, social, or other areas of functioning.

Mental health professionals also look for distress or impairment associated with adjustment disorders such as low productivity at work or radical shifts in social behavior. They must first rule out other mental disorders or the escalation of a pre-existing disorder, as well as symptoms of normal loss or bereavement.

Adjustment disorders tend to have higher occurrence rates among individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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