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Dealing with big life events / adjustment disorder

A couple grieving
Adjustment disorder

What is adjustment disorder?

Adjustment disorder mainly occurs following a large stressful event such as divorce, death, illness or a big move.

Most of the time people can manage the stress involved in such a big life change, but for 2% of the global population it has more of an adverse effect.

Symptoms of adjustment disorder

How do you know if you have adjustment disorder rather than just normal stress? The answer is that adjustment disorder is a very strong reaction to stress or trauma that doesn’t seem to go away. You may experience symptoms such as feeling sad or hopeless, not being able to sleep, wanting to stay home and not socialise with others, excessive worrying, and being anxious.

Tips for managing adjustment disorder

  1. Talk to loved ones – it is very tempting when we are going through a hard time to isolate ourselves from others. This however can exacerbate your feelings of sadness and will not support your mental wellbeing. Reaching out to trusted friends or family is the best thing we can do to help us work through the challenges we are facing.

  2. Get professional help - if you are struggling to see a way forward seek professional help. Your GP will be able to refer you to a counsellor or psychiatrist. In some cases, medication may be given to you as part of your treatment plan.

  3. Look after yourself – when your mind is full of your troubles taking yourself off for a walk and getting out in the fresh air is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. Listening to music while you walk can also help to quieten the mind.

  4. Try relaxation techniques – yoga and meditation are also great tools to help you relax. There are many free guided meditation resources online which you can listen to in a quiet space at home.

  5. Keep a positive mindset – try to stay positive and eliminate negative thoughts as they come into your mind. Remember that you will get through this difficult time, and everything will be ok.

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