Sometimes, life takes us by surprise. The common phrase “life happens” conveys that well enough. But unlike what the carefree saying might suggest, those surprises aren’t always well received by our minds or bodies. And they aren’t always something we can laugh away.
Thriveworks Decatur understands that sometimes, adjusting to a stressful event or series of events isn’t as simple as taking a “me day” or walking through the problem. Sometimes, the anxiety, restlessness, and fear linger, leaving us confused and disorientated.
It is ok if you are struggling to cope after a stressful period. The time after something like a sudden relationship change, financial stress, or a trauma is ripe with the possibilities of developing what is called an adjustment disorder.
What is an Adjustment Disorder?
First, Thriveworks Decatur wants to make it clear that you are not a weaker person or less capable if you take a little longer to adjust to a stressful event. It is a perfectly valid response of the body and mind and says nothing about your personal character.
So, what is an adjustment disorder? Simply, it’s the result of expected or unexpected stress in a person’s life that leaves them feeling confused and disorientated. It may sound simple, but it can severely impair someone from living their day to day life. And it can be the result of any type of stress. Not knowing how you’ll pay for the mortgage, losing a job, or experiencing a traumatic event can all lead to an Adjustment Disorder. It can be a one-time stressor, or something continuous—like living in a violent neighborhood, or bad work relationships. Even the stress of something positive—like marriage or going away to school—can prompt an adjustment disorder.
If you or a loved one is struggling with this impairing disorder, know that there is hope! Our counselors at Thriveworks Decatur know how to walk with you until you’re thinking clearly again and have regained control over your life.
Some signs that may point toward an Adjustment Disorder include:
- Depressed mood
- Feeling trapped and without options
- Feeling isolated
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty concentrating
Adjustment disorders are not fun. They can vary widely in their symptoms, so it can never hurt to give us a call. These emotions don’t have to rule your life anymore.
How Can We Help?
Treatment for adjustment disorders vary greatly depending on the preceding event and individual symptoms. Thriveworks Decatur works to provide a client-first mentality. We understand that no one knows you as well as you know yourself, even in this time of turmoil. Our job isn’t to tell you what to do and not do, but to guide you through a process of healing that we take together.
That’s not to say we don’t have some great tools to help us! In a counseling session for adjustment disorders, you can expect to:
- Develop new, healthy habits. Even one, new healthy habit can be enough to break the funk of an Adjustment Disorder. This can be anything from drinking enough water every day, to going for a walk, calling a friend, or even learning how to cross stitch!
- Talk through the stressful event. Although it may be uncomfortable, unpacking what brought you to this point can be extremely helpful in learning how to move forward.
- Stress the social aspects of your life. We may work on building your social support and connecting on a deeper level with the loved ones around you.
- Learn relaxation techniques. For some people, the anxiety that comes with an Adjustment Disorder is too much to bear. We have many relaxation techniques that can help break through the anxiety and begin truly living again.
Because adjustment disorder oftentimes includes so many facets of different disorders—like depression or anxiety—we will also draw on tools proven to combat those. Sometimes, family therapy or couples therapy proves to be helpful as well, if the symptoms of adjustment disorder are negatively affecting relationships.
No matter what treatment route we take, it will always be geared towards you. It can be frustrating when you don’t see yourself making progress, or just can’t seem to get out of the funk. That’s ok! Be patient with yourself- you’ve gone through an incredibly stressful event. It may feel like your mind and body have betrayed you, but with a little guidance, you can regain control and get back to living the life you deserve.