Adaptation disorder is a person’s physiological response when faced with dangerous and threatening situations and events. This reaction manifests itself at a more severe and severe degree than usual, sometimes exceeding expectations, and can cause impairments in social, academic, and occupational functioning.
What is an adaptation disorder?
Adaptation disorder, also known scientifically as Syndrome Général d’adaptation, is a mental disorder that usually begins after a person experiences intense and traumatic events. The patient will have a lot of abnormal expressions, the emotions exceed the allowable level.
In fact, to a certain extent, stress is considered a necessary factor and sometimes it is also a motivation and challenge for people to work harder and try harder to continue to exist, complete good yourself. However, when the stress state exceeds the allowable threshold, it can completely cause many dangers to each individual’s life, even life-threatening because the body cannot well-adapted and no longer able to maintain internal stability.
According to experts, the symptoms of adaptation disorder will usually last for at least 6 months. And if the problems that cause stress and trauma are not overcome and resolved well, they will make the condition even more serious, the risk of developing serious mental illnesses is very high.
Often, after experiencing traumatic events, the patient will no longer be able to cope with life, all daily activities seem to be turned upside down and out of control. Depending on the condition of each person, there are cases where there is only one symptom, but there are also people who have many different abnormal signs at the same time. Symptoms of the disease may be triggered by one or more of the traumatic factors that have accumulated over a long period of time.
According to research and statistics from scientists, it is found that women have twice the rate of adaptive disorder than men. Currently, between 2 and 8% of people suffer from this disease and its effects are immense. Therefore, it is necessary to pay a lot of attention and promptly apply appropriate treatment measures to help patients quickly recover health and stabilize a normal life rhythm.
Stages of adaptation disorder
In the results of many specialized studies, it has been found that patients will have to go through 3 stages of adaptive disorder when faced with situations that cause severe stress. As follows:
1. Alarm response stage
This is the stage that is preceded by a state of shock. Also because, when we face stressful situations and factors, it means that the body has to do how to adapt well to the current situation. Because the body is not foreseen and not specifically prepared for this situation, the first reaction is a state of shock. This is understood as a state that causes the individual to fall into an unbalanced situation in terms of activities and functions of the body, at which time the body will be more vulnerable than usual.
Typically, the alarm period can last from a few minutes to 24 hours. If the state of shock is not fatal, the body will gradually regain balance and the body will begin to take protective measures in a positive direction, also known as the anti-shock phase. This is considered an immediate acute response with the aim of creating favorable conditions for the attack or flight of the threat object. The endocrine and autonomic responses that take place during this phase are called sympathetic responses.
It will start from below and indirectly through the sympathetic nervous system to gradually stimulate the adrenal medulla of the adrenal gland and begin to secrete noradrenaline and adrenaline. At this time, the adrenal medulla is also activated by the nervous system to varying degrees. When these substances are secreted, blood pressure, breathing rate, heart rate increase and blood sugar levels also increase significantly. At that time, the pupils will begin to dilate to see better, reflexes and memory will also work more effectively, but the digestive organs will be impaired.
These changes also aim to better mobilize the internal reserves of the body by breaking down glucogenes and lipids to provide the necessary energy for the body. At this time, the blood flow to the body is also increased, helping to serve well for attacking or fleeing the subject of stress. However, when the concentration of catecholamines is increased acutely, there is a risk of causing some adverse effects such as cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation, cerebral infarction, myocardial infarction due to angina pectoris, etc.
2. Resistance period
When entering this stage, the patient will face most of the non-specific reactions to the effects of stressors. At this point the body will have to start adapting by mobilizing most of the reserves it needs to be able to establish a new balance. When in the resistance phase, stress is seen as a positive factor. For example, when a student has to speak in front of the class, the high adrenaline will increase his memory and thinking, which is a beneficial effect. However, if the student is unable to maintain composure, the stress level increases and is detrimental to the student.
Because in stage 1, the body has lost a lot of energy, so when it comes to this stage, it needs to be compensated. In terms of autonomic and endocrine, in the resistance phase there will be activation of the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. Corticoliberine is secreted by the anterior and hypothalamic nucleus causing corticotropine (ACTH) to also be increased by the anterior pituitary. The presence of ACTH in the blood causes corticosurrenal to rise from the adrenal cortex.
Thus, it can be seen that, in the resistance phase, the body begins to look for a new source of energy to be able to resist the invasion and resistance of harmful factors and agents from outside. and also find ways to compensate and fortify ion deficiencies with the task of combating difficult and dangerous situations.
3. Exhaustion Stage
If the stress factor continues for a long time, the body will fall into a state of exhaustion. At this time, anger, anger, depression can appear at any time. Also because stress not only affects the physiology but also greatly affects the psychological health of people.
When a person has to constantly face stressful situations and events, his or her thoughts, behavior, and perception towards life and the surrounding environment gradually change. However, different individuals will react differently even though they are facing the same stressful situation.
This means that if the stressors persist, the adaptive response will still have to continue. At a certain point, the body will no longer be able to adapt, efforts to balance homeostasis will gradually fail, the body cannot compensate for the lack of energy, strength, and energy. The resistance is gradually weakened and the body loses the ability to cope with external bad agents, at this time the exhaustion will cause the body to return to the original shock state.
However, at this stage, the state of exhaustion and shock will easily lead to dangerous diseases, even death because the body has gone through periods of overwork, no longer being able to function properly. ability to compensate. At this time, many diseases can appear such as asthma, peptic ulcers, high blood pressure, cancer, eczema, etc.
Signs of an adaptation disorder
Most of us, when faced with dangerous problems, traumatic stressful situations, have certain changes both physiologically and psychologically. However, depending on the situation and the tolerance of each person, the abnormal manifestations will be somewhat different. Some people have only one characteristic symptom, but there are also cases where a series of dangerous abnormalities exist.
In fact, there are people who easily overcome stressful situations, they are able to cope and handle their emotional shocks well in a short time. However, there are also many cases where they fall into a deadlock, collapse and are forever engulfed in anxiety, insecurity, and obsession.
When it comes to symptoms of adaptation disorder, each person will have different symptoms. Here are a few signs that can help you identify this mental health problem:
- Mood swings, constantly bored, depressed, moody, tired, may cry continuously but for no specific reason.
- Feeling insecure, anxious, restless, restless, negative thoughts.
- Feeling hopeless, pessimistic, stuck about life.
- Loss of concentration, absent-mindedness, reduced attention, or lounging, looking far away with no clear goal.
- Sleep disturbances, usually insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, having nightmares, waking up many times during the night and worrying about not being able to fall back to sleep.
- The body often falls into a state of exhaustion, fatigue, no vitality, lack of energy.
- Change in eating habits, loss of appetite, loss of appetite, frequent skipping meals, digestive disorders.
- There are abnormal, impulsive words and behaviors that even the patient himself cannot control.
- Tends to live a closed life, does not want to be contacted and often avoids and runs away from people around.
- Always feeling restless, uncomfortable, unstable mood.
- Frequent sweating, irregular heartbeat, shaking hands and feet, maybe even convulsions.
- Constantly having negative thoughts, thinking about death and self-injurious behavior, trying to kill yourself to free yourself.
If the symptoms of adaptation disorder keep appearing and are not intervened and controlled in time, it will cause a lot of negative impacts on the patient’s daily life and activities. Many cases have the potential to develop into complex and extremely dangerous psychological diseases, such as anxiety disorders and major depression.
Adaptation Disorder – What Causes It?
As shared above, stressful situations often happen suddenly, without warning. Even the person who directly experiences it cannot predict or anticipate the serious consequences it can cause. Therefore, they will not be able to prepare both physically and mentally, so it is easy to lead to an adaptive disorder.
When faced with persistent long-term stressors or pent-up with a series of dangerous situations, at some point the disease symptoms will start and be difficult to control well. Here are some common causes of an adjustment disorder:
- The sudden death of loved ones.
- Faced with a diagnosis of serious life-threatening medical conditions.
- Being a victim of school violence, domestic violence for a long time.
- The rift and separation of long-standing relationships.
- Having financial problems, bankruptcy, unemployment.
- Family is separated, parents are divorced
- Anxiety and insecurities about gender
- Difficulty adapting to new environments, such as new school, house, new job.
Being able to specifically identify stressors will play an important part in finding the right treatment, so that better outcomes can be achieved.
Diagnosis of an adaptive disorder
If you notice that the above symptoms persist for a long time and do not show any signs of improvement, you need to proactively conduct an examination at reputable specialist facilities. The diagnosis of adjustment disorder should be made by experienced specialists and done with meticulous care to avoid confusion with similar mental disorders.
If an adjustment disorder is suspected, specialists will begin a general physical examination to make an objective assessment of the patient’s state of health. At the same time, they will rely on the diagnostic criteria of ICD.10(F43.2) to be able to accurately determine the disease status of each person.
If the person meets the following requirements, they will be diagnosed with an adjustment disorder:
A: The patient’s unusual symptoms began to persist for at least 30 days after the traumatic events occurred. Psychological trauma can be empathized and understood, it is not catastrophic.
B: The patient has manifestations of somatic disorder, mental disorder, behavioral disorder. However, they will not experience delusions or hallucinations. For individual disorders, it is often not possible to respond adequately. Each patient is different, and the severity and type of the disease will also be different.
C: After the stressors have stopped or are well controlled, the disease symptoms will no longer be persistent and persistent.
When considering factor B, the manifestations of the disease will be identified in a more meticulous and thorough way. Usually based on the following symptoms:
- Short-term depressive reactions: Some of the typical symptoms of depression will manifest in a mild degree, without causing too much impact, and last up to 30 days.
- Persistent depressive response: Manifestations of mild depressive disorder will persist and appear if the person is continually exposed to the stressors, and these symptoms will persist for up to 2 years.
- Mixed anxiety and depressive reactions: Patients will experience both symptoms of anxiety and depression at the same time, but the manifestations are only mild.
- Mixed Emotions and Behavioral Disorders: Patients will present with predominant behavioral and emotional disturbances.
- Dominant behavior disorder: The patient will appear anti-social behavior.
- Other emotional dominance disorder: Some common symptoms such as anxiety, stress, depression, irritability, anger, agitation, etc.
If the patient fully and meets most of the diagnostic criteria mentioned above, the doctor will continue to order some necessary tests to get the most accurate results. Depending on each patient, the specialist will conduct blood tests, CT scans, electrocardiograms, electroencephalograms, etc. In addition, the specialist will also specifically explore the medical condition and history of the heart. mental health of the patient and family members, for them to perform assessment tests.
The correct diagnosis of the disease will make an important contribution to the treatment and recovery process for the patient. However, the symptoms of adaptation disorder are easily confused with other mental disorders, especially depression and anxiety disorders. Therefore, as soon as you notice the warning signs of the disease, you need to search and choose reputable centers and hospitals to conduct examination and give the most accurate diagnosis results.
How to effectively treat adaptive disorder?
After the doctor has made an accurate diagnosis, they will begin to talk with the patient about the regimen and methods to be applied in the treatment process. Depending on the severity and symptoms of the disease, the duration of treatment will be somewhat different, and interventions will also be carefully considered.
Usually, for cases of adaptive disorder, psychotherapy will be prioritized. When patients have serious symptoms that affect their life and health, they will be combined with some drugs to increase the effectiveness of treatment.
Psychotherapy, or simply understood, is a method of using language and words to influence the patient’s subconscious. In recent years, this method of therapy has been widely used for cases of mental disorders and is highly appreciated for its effectiveness and safety for different patients. .
For cases of adaptive disorder, a psychologist will start a conversation to explore and delve deeper into the cause of stress. Thanks to that, they can help patients gradually untie the knots in their hearts, easily face and overcome traumatic situations.
After the patient has gradually stabilized psychologically, the specialist will help them adjust their thoughts, behaviors and thinking in a more optimistic and positive direction. Patients will gradually understand their own problems and take appropriate remedies for themselves. Moreover, they will also be taught some skills to control emotions and handle difficulties to easily integrate into the current life.
Psychologists will consider each person’s medical condition, personality, and severity to choose the most appropriate therapy. Some common therapies such as cognitive and behavioral therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, talk therapy, etc.
2. Use of drug treatment
If the symptoms of conduct disorder are not well controlled and are severe, a combination of some adjuvant drugs should be considered. Usually, drugs that are prescribed for use in behavioral disorders are only used for a short time to help patients control and stabilize psychologically, and reduce dangerous symptoms.
Several classes of drugs may be considered for treatment, such as:
- Benzodiazepine sedative group
- New generation Nonbenzodiazepine group
- Serotonin SSRI or SNRI . Reuptake Inhibitors
- Medicines have a beneficial effect on mental and physical health.
However, these drugs have the potential to cause some side effects for patients. Therefore, patients need to strictly follow the doctor’s instructions, take the right medicine, the right dose and the time as instructed. In the process of using the drug, if strange and unusual symptoms appear, it is necessary to immediately notify the treating doctor for examination and appropriate treatment instructions.
If the adaptive disorder can be detected early and appropriate treatment measures are applied, it is completely possible to recover well and the patient can integrate into life normally. Hopefully, through the information of the article, readers will understand more about this dangerous mental disorder and have an effective remedy.