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Adjustment Disorders

Abstract: Depression, as we all know it, may be follows a major disappointment such as failing to pass an examination or to secure a promotion.

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Adjustment Disorders

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Written by: Written by: Written by: Petros Skapinakis, MD, MPH, PhD, lecturer of Psychiatry in the University of Ioannina Medical School, Greece.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 22 Jul 2008.

What do we know about adjustment disorders? Are these the same thing with depression?


Depression, as we all know it, may be accompanied by other experiences such as lack of interest in food, lethargy, apathy and inertia, which follows a major disappointment such as failing to pass an examination or to secure a promotion. Experience tells us that certain life events seem intuitively to be more threatening and unsettling than others. Very often such events contain an element of a loss, whether this be a tangible loss such as the death of a loved one or the break-up of a relationship, or a more symbolic loss such as the surrender of an aspiration or a valued ambition. Such happenings affect us and the pattern of mood changes is very similar to those seen in depression, and indeed at times may be prolonged and be considered as such. Usually, however, symptoms would be expected to improve with simple measures such as expressing feelings about the distressing event. Psychiatrists call this reaction a stress reaction to distinguish it from depressive illness which may require a different treatment approach.
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