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Adjustment Disorder

Hemanjani Gonchigar, MD -  - Psychiatrist

Capital Area Psychiatric Services

Hemanjani Gonchigar, MD

Psychiatrist located in Vienna, VA

When you go through a major life change — such as a break-up, death of a loved one, or loss of your job or your health — the stress and challenges of your new circumstances may trigger an adjustment disorder (AD). Expert and caring board-certified psychiatrist Hemanjani Gonchigar, MD, treats adjustment disorders at Capital Area Psychiatric Services (CAPS) in Vienna, Virginia. Using integrative, short-term therapies, she helps you develop strategies to manage your feelings and adjust to the changes in your life. For a consultation, contact CAPS today by phone or online booking form.

Adjustment Disorder Q & A

What is an adjustment disorder?

Major life changes — such as a divorce or death — trigger grief, sadness, and other upsetting emotions. When your emotions are still unstable months after the initial event, and you’re having trouble adapting to your new circumstances or handling other events in your life, you may have an adjustment disorder (AD). 

You don’t have to suffer through or “tough out” an AD. Getting treatment helps you cope with your present circumstances and prevents complications, such as suicidal ideation. If you’re having suicidal or aggressive thoughts or impulses, call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) immediately.

What are the symptoms of an adjustment disorder?

The symptoms of an adjustment disorder vary by individual. However, some common symptoms and signs that may indicate an AD include:

  • Loss of joy 
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Feeling worried or anxious
  • Feeling jittery and unstable
  • Trouble sleeping or eating
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Quitting school or work
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Having suicidal thoughts

Children who have an adjustment disorder may act out, rather than withdraw. Symptoms of AD usually begin within three months of the triggering event. 

Why do I have an adjustment disorder?

Any number of life events can trigger an AD. Some common triggers include:

  • A break-up or divorce
  • Death of a loved one
  • Moving to a new town or state
  • Changing schools
  • Losing or changing a job
  • Business problems
  • Unemployment
  • Domestic problems
  • Health problems

When a stressor is ongoing, such as a high-stress lifestyle, unemployment, or the death of a loved one, the adjustment disorder may persist, too. Failing to achieve a goal, becoming a parent, or being in an unsatisfying relationship can also lead to an adjustment disorder. 

How do psychiatrists treat adjustment disorders?

If Dr. Gonchigar at Capital Area Psychiatric Services diagnoses you with an adjustment disorder, she devises a treatment plan that matches your symptoms, severity of symptoms, and how long the disorder has persisted.

You may only need short-term therapy so that you can get the support you need as you transition to a new phase of your life. Dr. Gonchigar may also recommend behavioral interventions that help you learn new coping strategies. 

To get help with a life transition so you can manage and resolve adjustment disorder symptoms, contact Capital Area Psychiatric Services by phone or online form.