Diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder

A diagnosis is made via a medical professional’s evaluation based on specific criteria.

Medical professionals base the diagnosis on criteria recommended by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM, latest version) or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD, latest version).

Individuals must have emotional or behavioural symptoms within three (3) months of having been exposed to a stressor.

Symptoms must be clinically significant as shown by one or more of the following:

  • Marked distress that is out of proportion to the stressor (taking cultural and other factors into consideration); and/or
  • The symptoms significantly impair social or occupational functioning.

Individuals who have impairment or marked distress following a traumatic event but without meeting criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or acute stress disorder (ASD) may be diagnosed with an adjustment disorder.

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