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Signs of Adjustment Disorder in Children

It is important to look out for the signs that your child may have an adjustment disorder. Here are a few common signs of adjustment disorder in children.

Recent studies have started to show that online therapy for adjustment disorder is effective. As such, more people are seeking diagnoses and help for this condition. Though if you worry about your own family, what are some of the early warning signs you can recognize in children?

Below you will find a list of the most obvious traits that will display in adjustment disorder in children. As you check each one, think about your own child and whether they match the description. The more they have, the more you might want to speak to a medical professional.

What Is Adjustment Disorder?

Adjustment disorder does not only have one sign. It has many different symptoms and usually occurs after one undergoes a significant, stressful event in one's life.

While some people might have the ability to cope, those who do not end up displaying some of these traits. Regardless of their symptoms, though, there is every chance they might need some form of therapy.

Why It Is Important to Recognize?

Over time, this condition has the potential to impact both a child's mental and physical health. If they do not engage with therapy services, they might suffer from chronic mental health problems later in life. This can include depression and anxiety, impacting their well-being.

By recognizing they are a victim of the condition, you can engage with a child therapy specialist to get them the help they need. Over time, this can return the child to the life they deserve, where they can more easily regulate their emotions and mental state.

Behavioral Traits

Some of the most obvious traits you might see in children impact how they engage with the world around them. This might include not wanting to be around people, or becoming short-tempered when they are.

Irritability and Anger Issues

These symptoms might manifest in becoming angry at members of their family, friends, or authority figures. While this can sometimes be a normal aspect of a child's life, it can grow into an unmanageable issue in some cases. If it goes above and beyond what is normal, there is a chance something else is going on.

Withdrawal From the World

Escaping from human contact might be how they handle their thoughts and feelings about a difficult situation. You might see this if they spend a lot of time alone in their room, or do not wish to do things they once enjoyed such as sports or group hobbies.

Worsening Grades

Children might find it much harder to engage with their schoolwork if they have experienced trauma. The memory of such things might be distracting, and they might not feel comfortable around others at first. This can often lead to plummeting grades or other school issues.

Taking More Risks

Children might do things that are dangerous to both themselves and others, either as a distraction, to get excited or to get attention. With younger children, this might include something as simple as dangerous exploration. As the child gets older, though, it might expand to dangerous driving, alcohol use, or even drug use in extreme cases.

Manic Episodes

Manic episodes are periods of elevated mood. The person usually appears "overly" happy, highly stimulated, animated, and over-energized. In children, this can manifest in hyperactivity and a strong inability to concentrate. 

They may be irritable, very talkative, switch topics constantly, and have unrealistic levels of self-esteem. For instance, they may believe they have superpowers. 

If your child is suffering from bipolar disorder, they might need less sleep. Increased risk-taking behavior is also common during manic episodes. In teenagers, this can trigger behavior they wouldn't usually partake in, such as drug or alcohol abuse, promiscuous behavior, or reckless driving. 

Mental Health Traits

As children try to handle trauma, it can impact their emotional state. This can have a long-lasting impact if not dealt with. The following are some examples of the things a therapist might be able to diagnose in such an individual.

Increased Anxiety

The child might start to have concerns and worries that are out of proportion with the things they worry about. This might be subtle and manifest in general concern, or might even escalate to physical symptoms such as sweating or a fast heart rate.

Clinical Depression

A child with adjustment disorder will often have trouble regulating their mood and emotions. They may start to find it hard to feel positive feelings anymore. This can often lead to feelings of worthlessness or helplessness, which can have a drastic impact on their life.

Feelings of Hopelessness

As adjustment disorder harms a child's mental health, they might start to feel like their future lacks any hope at all. This is a very dangerous feeling as it increases the risk of self-harm and can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts.

Unwarranted Shame or Guilt

Traumatic events can often have serious impacts on how a person perceives themselves and what they should be doing in the world. They might feel they are to blame for the situation they find themselves in, or other issues might cause them to feel guilt even long after.

Over time, this can eat away at the child's self-esteem, causing them to distance themselves from others. It can cause them to feel unworthy of their peers, or seek out "punishment" in many forms. This can lead to further problems.

Physical Traits

Children suffering from adjustment disorders also display symptoms that are physical. These are sometimes easier to spot and are often the first noticed by parents or guardians.

Problems Sleeping

Anxiety or memories from a traumatic experience can make it very difficult for a child to sleep. This might even lead to nightmares or bed-wetting episodes.

Appetite Changes

Children might find they lose their appetite because of the physical effects of anxiety. At the same time, eating more to assuage difficult feelings can also be a reaction to trauma.

Aches and Pains

If a child is experiencing headaches or stomach aches, they may come about due to anxiety and stress. They may occur all the time, or come and go.

Lethargy and Fatigue

Due to both depression and the lack of sleep caused by the disorder, the child may have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. This could also affect other areas of their life and they may feel tired all through the day.

More About Adjustment Disorder in Children

With the above, it should now be much easier for you to recognize an adjustment disorder in children. If you think your child suffers from this condition, now is the time to get in touch.

Our experts are well-trained in both how to recognize and treat this issue as well as many other mood disorders. So, pick up the phone and give us a call today to ensure you get the best care possible.

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