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How is an adjustment disorder diagnosed?

Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

Adjustment disorders are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and a thorough psychological evaluation. To be diagnosed with adjustment disorder, someone must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

  • Having emotional or behavioral symptoms within three months of a specific stressor occurring in your life; 
  • Experiencing distress that is in excess of what would normally be expected in response to the stressor or that causes significant problems in your relationships, at work or at school; 
  • An improvement of symptoms within six months of the stressful event coming to an end.

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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.