Adjustment Disorder and Addiction
When significant life changes come too fast or are too radical, stress, anxiety, or depression can become chronic, leading to a diagnosis of adjustment disorder. The temptation to escape from the emotional turmoil with drugs or alcohol can be strong, and that pattern of behavior can quickly degenerate into addiction.
Men and women with adjustment disorder find themselves unable to cope with sudden change or upheaval. Caught in a cycle of misery, they may turn to drugs or alcohol to escape, leaving them highly vulnerable to addiction.
Someone experiencing adjustment disorder and chemical dependency simultaneously will continue to spiral downward unless intervention is swift and targeted at both conditions. While addiction and adjustment disorder is a challenging combination, their debilitating effects can be overcome with assistance from highly trained and compassionate addiction specialists and mental health experts.
Co-Occurring Adjustment Disorder and Substance Abuse
It is normal to feel stress, anxiety, sadness, disquiet, uncertainty, and discomfort following major life changes. But if these feelings continue and alter moods and emotions enough to disrupt normal functioning, it could mean you’ve developed adjustment disorder, which is also known as stress response syndrome or situational depression.
For adjustment disorder to be diagnosed, its signs must manifest within three months of a potential precipitating incident. Symptoms that can reveal the presence of adjustment disorder include:
- Random but chronic anxiety
- Depression, sadness, a sense of hopelessness
- Low energy and motivation
- Poor focus and concentration
- Feeling overwhelmed by normal daily responsibilities
- Isolation, social withdrawal
- Restlessness, vague feelings of dissatisfaction
- Rash decision making, which can often have unfortunate consequences
- Ignoring personal, financial, or career-related problems and making them worse as a result
- Thoughts of suicide
Adjustment disorder develops in response to a specific set of circumstances that involve a significant life transformation or profound perspective-altering experiences. Some of the potential causes of adjustment disorder include:
- Unemployment, or getting a new job with more responsibility
- Exposure to accidents, natural disasters, or incidents of violence
- Encounters with a life-threatening illness
- Being the victim of bullying or harassment
- Moving to a new city
- Changing schools
- Having a child
- Experiencing the loss of an important relationship, by separation or death
The disruptive and radical nature of such events inevitably creates an emotional response. But staying stuck in that response is not normal, signaling the need for mental health intervention.
People often use drugs and alcohol to feel better. But self-medicating with these substances will set you up for addiction, since they can only mask your symptoms temporarily. The adjustment disorder will remain if left untreated, and using drugs and alcohol to make it go away will create a new set of problems that you’ll struggle to manage.
If you’ve been experiencing the signs of adjustment disorder after a major life change, and misusing drugs or alcohol as a way to cope, you should seek integrated treatment services right away. At Alta Mira, we’ll make an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of your condition before treatment begins, which is essential to ensure you receive the appropriate package of comprehensive healthcare services.
Adjustment Disorder and Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. However, in addition to putting users into a more relaxed state, it can also cause feelings of mild euphoria. Consequently, some people drink alcohol to relieve stress and anxiety, while others do it to feel better or to forget their troubles.
Each of these reasons applies to men and women with adjustment disorder, who are often plagued by anxiety and depression at the same time. Alcohol may seem attractive because of its ability to briefly eliminate both, but if alcohol consumption continues the risk of addiction will escalate.
As the symptoms of adjustment disorder persist, the temptation to drink more and more is strong. If you give in to that temptation, a dangerous dependency on alcohol may develop. Using alcohol to escape from adjustment disorder is a poor substitute for getting the expert care and intervention you really need to recover.
Adjustment disorder and alcohol addiction are a powerfully debilitating combination, and when you suffer from both your need for professional alcoholism treatment and rehab services is critical.
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Adjustment Disorder and Drug Addiction
The symptoms of adjustment disorder can be painful, difficult, and highly stressful. This is especially true if your condition is not successfully diagnosed.
In your search for relief, you might be tempted to try mind-altering substances that you think can improve your mood or keep the bad feelings at bay, for at least a little while. The problem is that illicit drugs are highly addictive, as are many prescription medications that may be abused for their capacity to change moods. Their stimulating, relaxing, or euphoric effects will only last for a while, creating a need to use them again and again to ameliorate the impact of adjustment disorder.
Tolerance for such drugs will quickly build if they are used daily or for an extended period. Relying on drugs for imagined medical benefits will set you up for a giant fall, and if you plunge into the abyss of addiction it will make the effects of your adjustment disorder alone seem mild in comparison.
Drug addiction is an enormous complication for those who have adjustment disorder. Addiction is dangerous under any circumstances but is even riskier if it develops as a coping mechanism for an untreated mental health issue.
The good news is that a quality drug addiction rehab for co-occurring adjustment disorder and drug addiction can restore your health and hope, starting from the first day you join us. We’ll give you a detailed diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan that will let you focus entirely on your recovery. The members of your treatment team will act as guides and mentors, helping you actualize a future where drugs, alcohol, and chronic mental health struggles have no presence.