Let’s be honest. The past year, we have all had to deal with a large amount of adjustment. Probably more than we are used to which is saying a lot, isn’t it? Think about it. Every day, we go through some kind of fear of adjustment.
The adage “the only constant is change” comes to mind.
Change is all around us. It is something that is applicable to every stage of life. And nobody can go through life without making changes.
Now, for some people, this may cause some feeling of anxiety. This can go hand in hand with adjustment; therefore, an adjustment disorder can be a possibility and can be categorized as more than one diagnosis. With an adjustment disorder, a person has little to no ability to adjust or change.
Imagine you are a first-time college student. You are excited to move out of your parents house and live in a dorm. You’ll make new friends and get to live like an adult! You move into your room, bubbling with excitement and a little anxiety. This is unknown territory, but you’re ready.
Only, you’re not. Days go by. Weeks go by. Your excitement dies down, but the anxiety is still there. You begin to wonder why you are still feeling anxious. Shouldn’t you be adjusted by now?
This definitely qualifies as an adjustment disorder because you never adjusted. This feeling is ongoing, and so, symptoms of an adjustment disorders can look like anxiety except they last longer. Your coping mechanism is being anxious over everything, and wanting to be detail-oriented and hyper focused; however, you never get any relief from that anxiousness. You constantly feel a sense of doom and gloom, like something is on the precipice of happening, and it’s going to be bad.
This isn’t a matter of what is considered normal or abnormal. It doesn’t matter if your body doesn’t know when to release so it keeps a higher level of cortisol and other hormones that make you feel more anxiety at a higher level. That boils down to genetics.
In my line of work, I can ask a client if there is anybody in their family who has ever been diagnosed with anxiety? I may go on to ask if there is someone who should have been diagnosed?
Perhaps a grandmother who refused to drive a car. Not because she couldn’t, but because she was too afraid to. This meant someone else did the grocery shopping and things of that nature. This is a type of coping mechanism that people may develop in order to deal with adjustment disorders.
Some people are genetically hardwired to just deal with feeling anxious without needing any type of intervention. It’s normal. It’s natural. Our bodies have the ability to deal with it. If you give it time and space, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, it will happen.
With an adjustment disorder, we may need to employ new coping skills in order to deal with the disorder. We will need to ask why an adjustment can’t be made. Maybe we are uncomfortable being away from home? Maybe you have a terrible roommate situation, and once you switch roommates, you can then make the full adjustment.
Once you find the cause, or what may be lacking, you can identify what coping skill may be lacking as well. The idea is to figure out what the trigger for the adjustment disorder is and make it go away.
You can try journaling. There are so many types of journaling out there. You can try habit journaling or gratitude journaling. This may help you figure out your triggers or even focus on something other than your anxiousness.
You can try also speaking with your doctor about what you are feeling. They may be able to prescribe something or refer you to someone who can help you work through these triggers. This isn’t something that you have to go through alone. There is help out there and resources should you need them.