The Best Treatment Plan for Adjustment Disorder

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This is the second article in a two-part article series. Read part one here.

Get Help from the Pros

A treatment plan for adjustment disorder (also known as situational depression) involves talking to a trained mental health professional who is capable of managing the patient’s symptoms through therapy and providing them with effective coping mechanisms. Once the patient learns to deal with the issue that brought about the disorder in a healthy (and sometimes slightly detached) manner, they will most often be fully recovered from the grim effects of it in three to six months.

Asking for help may be the hardest hurdle to overcome for some folks who have situational depression. But it’s essential to do so; and to try as many different solutions or a combination of treatment techniques until the suffering is alleviated and finally terminated. They will need the help of a trained therapist, psychologist, or psychotherapist who knows the most effective way to handle grief, loss, or the disabling upheaval of what brought about the condition. Trained mental health professionals will also be able to determine that this is indeed what the patient is suffering from and not a more serious mental disorder.

In many cases, adjustment disorder is the result of some sort of loss which results in Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s widely accepted five stages of grief that include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

So the goal is to get that person over the bridge to acceptance. As the Buddhists believe, non-acceptance is largely the root of all humanity’s troubles and there is a lot to be said for that ancient wisdom. While we’re on that topic, along with all the positive effects of regular and sustained exercise for attaining mental wellness, the ancient practice of Yoga is also ideal for healing a troubled mind. You can learn a whole lot more about that by reading Yoga has Far-Reaching Benefits on your Mental and Physical Well-Being. If it helps heal combat veterans who witnessed the horrifically depressing attributes of war, it can work for anyone else too.

Psychotherapy is the most common and trusted treatment plan for an adjustment disorder because the patient will begin to come to terms with how the external stressor affected them. A patient will learn to unravel the discouraging and bleak reoccurring thoughts until they gain a more healthy perspective.

Anti-depressants, medications to help with sleeping problems, and/or anxiety might be needed in some cases to bring a patient around. A psychotherapist will point out valuable insights that the patient is unable or incapable of seeing and understanding. Plus, they know effective coping mechanisms to employ such as cognitive therapy.

In many ways a person with situational disorder is his or her worst enemy. But the new skills learned to cope with this condition will actually improve their lives when they do overcome it. Some of our greatest lessons are learned after coming out of dismal anguish and when you realize that you can help someone who is going through the same thing. You are plugged into what Abraham Lincoln deemed “the better angels of our nature.” Lincoln was no stranger to depression either; he was bipolar.

Alternative Courses of Action

Some people with this disorder will not want to discuss their feelings so alternative coping remedies will need to be explored. Support groups are a viable solution because hearing others going through similar circumstances can help the depressed individual come to terms with their own suffering. Things could always be worse; it’s sometimes a good idea to gently nudge that idea into the head of someone who is suffering. Although you have to be careful because that might make them feel even worse or guilty about their own feelings. But the fact that there is still wide-spread famine, war, and hospitals filled with dying children due to terrible diseases may help put things in perspective. This is a time for caring friends and family to listen, show empathy, and understanding to walk the downtrodden person through this period if they won’t seek help from professionals.

Finally, there are nutritional supplements and homeopathic remedies that can help. Time Tested & Trusted Ways of Treating Depression Holistically provides some excellent supplements and practices that can help a person when they are suffering. A friend of mine who happens to be a psychologist at the VA at Fort Harrison in Helena Montana, recently told me that studies are about to come out which show that vitamin D may help elevate a person’s mood too. The long and the short answer is to learn to adjust to circumstances, accept what is, and ask for help until the effects of situational depression are adequately managed or eliminated completely. Most people fully recover from it in three to six months by seeking and adhering to these treatment methods.


Dr. Amen: Depression & Mood Disorders:

VA Behavioral Health, Fort Harrison MT

This post is part of the series: The Road to Recovery: Successfully Treating Situational Depression

Situational depression, which is also known as adjustment disorder, is a condition that can be coped with and overcome if the patient is willing approach recovery proactively and follow the detailed treatment plans outlined in this series dedicated to helping people reestablish mental wellness.

  1. Successful Treatment Plans for Adjustment Disorder