Adjustment Disorder

Close up of green leaves. Adjustment disorders can be challenging to navigate and brought on by sudden life changes. Therapy for adjustment disorders in Chicago can help you face these challenges.

What are Adjustment Disorders?

Adjustment disorders are temporary mental health conditions caused by specific life stressors. Common examples of stressors that could cause an adjustment disorder include:


*going through a divorce or breakup

*unexpected job loss

*serious conflict with a close friend or co-worker

*loss of a loved one

*unexpected illness of a loved one

*going through a serious medical condition yourself

During these stressful times, the individual is forced to deal with the fact that their life is not going according to plan. For example, you may feel powerless and confused.  Treatment at Shift Counseling prioritizes giving individuals a place to talk through their complicated feelings. Then provides help with redefining their expectations, and help with learning to cope with these changes. 

Green and white leaves. Has a sudden life change like the loss of a loved one left you reeling? Therapy for adjustment disorders in Chicago can help you grow through and overcome these changes.

What are Common Symptoms of Adjustment Disorders?

There are several different clinical presentations of adjustment disorders including:

Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood:

The person is experiencing some kind of grief due to the unexpected changes in their life. Symptoms could include crying spells, fatigue, isolation, weight loss or gain, feelings of loss or hopelessness, and even suicidal thoughts. 

Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety:

Often with this presentation, you are having a fearful reaction to the unexpected changes in their life. Symptoms could include panic attacks, feeling edgy or “keyed up”, difficulty falling or staying asleep, feelings of powerlessness, and excessive worry.

Adjustment Disorder with Disturbance of Conduct:

Often with this presentation, the individual is having a reaction of anger to the unexpected changes in their life. Symptoms could include lashing out verbally, isolation, damage to property, aggression towards others, or getting into physical fights.

People can also have symptoms from more than one of these categories. It is not uncommon to feel sad, afraid, and angry when going through unexpected changes. Our counselors at Shift Counseling, PC are not here to judge how anyone experiences their emotions. We are interested in listening, understanding, and helping each client find ways to make the changes they seek.

Tree with unripe oranges on it. If you are struggling with life transitions that have left you anxious and depressed, therapy for adjustment disorders can help you process those feelings and come out the other side successfully.

How does counseling help with Adjustment disorders?


Assessment is key. The counselor needs to understand how the person seeking help has been affected by the changes in their life. Everyone responds to changes differently. Different people may want different things out of their counseling sessions. Our counselors at Shift Counseling, PC are focused on accurately understanding what the client is experiencing. In addition they are focused on their goals for treatment.


Some people need a place to talk things out. As well as to process feelings, and find release before they are ready to start looking at ways to cope. Others want help with symptom reduction right away. Through accurate listening and using good clinical judgment, our counselors can help you find the pace that works best for you.


Many times medication is not required for treating adjustment disorders. However, sometimes the person is having significant difficulty with functioning. They can have suicidal thoughts. Maybe even serious sleep issues, or appetite problems. In these instances, medications can be helpful in quickly mitigating these symptoms. None of our staff members at Shift Counseling, PC, can prescribe medications. However, we can help you find someone who can provide this type of service if it is required. 

What kind of outcome can I expect from seeking counseling for my Adjustment Disorder?

One piece of good news about Adjustment Disorders is that the stressors that cause symptoms are often temporary. Therefore, symptoms are generally expected to resolve. What that timeline looks like can vary depending on the nature of the stressors, and how long the stressors last. Not all stressors that cause an Adjustment Disorder resolve on their own.

However, a client can experience a decrease of symptoms if their feelings are adequately processed. Especially if they develop improved coping skills. Seeking treatment for an Adjustment Disorder can help prevent the condition from becoming more serious. Potential conditions such as Major Depressive Disorder, Panic Disorder, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can occur if left untreated. 

Symptom Reduction and Emotional Processing

Treatment of Adjustment disorders is often focused on symptom reduction, which is important. In addition, our counselors at Shift Counseling, PC are listening to make sure our clients suffering from adjustment disorders have been able to process all of their complicated feelings about the changes that lead to their suffering.

In fact, we are also focused on making sure that any ruptures in a client’s relationship with themselves are addressed. If the client is able to accept the changes that have occurred, has found coping strategies to address challenges, and has regained their sense of confidence in themselves, we consider this to be a positive treatment outcome for an adjustment disorder.  

Raspberry bush in bloom. Have you suffered an unexpected and traumatic life change? Are you struggling to adapt? Therapy for adjustment disorders in Chicago can help. Learn more here!

Begin Counseling for Adjustment Disorders in Chicago

Getting started with counseling for adjustment disorders can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Our skilled team of therapists are here to help you on this journey at our North Riverside, IL counseling practice. It is convenient to multiple areas of Chicagoland including Riverside, La Grange Park, Brookfield, Broadview, and more. If you’re ready to begin, simply follow these steps:

  1. Reach out to schedule an initial therapy consultation.
  2. Begin working with a skilled therapist.
  3. Take back your life and thrive!

Other Mental Health Services Offered in Chicago, IL

Shift Counseling, PC specializes in treating young adults with mental health concerns with a variety of techniques. We offer PTSD and Trauma Therapy, Young Adult Focused Therapy, Anxiety Therapy, and Depression Therapy online or in person.

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