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What’s the difference between adjustment disorder and PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition that can occur when you have lived through or witnessed a violent, life-threatening event. Veterans who have had traumatic combat experiences, such as seeing their comrades killed, may suffer the emotional effects long afterwards.

PTSD symptoms are severe and disruptive to your life and relationships. You may re-live the trauma through flashbacks, be constantly anxious and on the alert, and feel detached or estranged from those around you. Adjustment disorder is a far less serious condition. It is an intense response to a specific life change or stress. The symptoms are milder than those of PTSD, although they can interfere with normal functionality. Adjustment disorder is usually very short in duration and has no lasting symptoms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.