Adjustment disorders, which may also be called stress response syndromes, and a form of mental illness which can be caused by many things including substance abuse. These disorders are characterized by reactions to an identifiable stressor in life which are extreme, excessive, and abnormal. The individual has difficulty adjusting to the stressor the way that most people would, and treatment may be required to get through this type of mental disorder. Adjustment disorders usually have an onset that is within three months of the stressful event or circumstance, and thee mental disorders do not usually last for more than six months. Some common types of stress which can bring on this type of disorder include natural disasters, accidents, a major illness diagnosis, or even the death of a loved one or a recent divorce.
Substance abuse can also cause adjustment disorders in some cases, and when this happens it can take longer because a dual diagnosis may be required. The mental health professional will need to treat both the adjustment disorders and the substance abuse, and also determine which of these conditions occurred first. This type of mental illness can cause both emotional and behavioral symptoms, and it can occur even in young children or in older adults. Some symptoms that may be exhibited include acting out, poor performance at work or school, sadness or anger that is out of proportion to the situation, fighting, aggression, frequent crying, and other problematic symptoms that can interfere with daily life and the usual activities.