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Adjustment disorders are defined as an inability or maladaptive reaction to an identifiable stressful life event(s) / stressor(s). ( e.g., divorce,  family crises,  ... ) Symptoms must occur within three months of the event(s) / stressor(s) and persisted for no longer than six months

This disorder relates to a significantly more difficult adjustment to a life situation than would normally be expected considering the circumstances.  While it is common to need months and perhaps even years to feel normal again after the loss of a long time spouse, for instance, when this adjustment causes significant problems for an abnormal length of time, it may be considered an adjustment disorder.   

The disorders in this category can present themselves quite differently.  The key to diagnosing is to look at:

(1) The issue that is causing the adjustment disorder and
(2) The primary symptoms associated with the disorder.