Adjustment disorder is a condition commonly referred to as acute stress reaction attributed to changes in one’s life. It occurs when the person fails to adjust to a new situation or an environment, which could be either positive or negative. Adjustment disorder can have negative long-term effects on a person’s mental health and quality of life. Nursing care plans (NCP) are critical for nurse practitioners and other healthcare providers to assist them in assessing, treating, and managing patients with adjustment disorder.
History: Collect information regarding the condition onset, duration, severity, contributing factors, duration of predisposing events, prior illnesses/diagnoses,related hospitalizations/tests, prior treatments/attempts of treatment, patient’s/family’s expectations of treatment and response to prior treatment.
Physical/mental status: Assess physical and cognitive ability, difficulty adjusting to changes in environment image, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Disturbed thought processes: The patient has difficulty focusing, concentrating, and attending to tasks and decisions made. This can lead to decreased academic/work performance.
Impaired social interaction: The patient has difficulty communicating with others, participating in leisure activities, or forming relationships due to being overwhelmed by the changes in their environment.
Patient will demonstrate adaptive coping skills: The patient will utilize available supports, explore self-care practices and participate in positive leisure activities.
Patient will experience improved social functioning: The patient will be able to express emotions and work cooperatively with people from different backgrounds.
- Provide psychoeducation about symptoms associated with adjustment disorder: Explain how symptoms may vary, the duration of the disorder, the importance of seeking professional help, and the availability of support.
- Suggest coping resources: Assist the patient in creating strategies to manage feelings and stress, such as journaling and relaxation techniques.
- Encourage social interaction: Suggest ways that the patient can interact with others, such as joining support groups or engaging in recreational activities.
- Conduct individual or family counseling: Help the patient and/or family understand underlying conflicts and dynamics that may be preventing successful adjustment.
- Psychoeducation: By educating the patient about their condition, they can become more aware of their emotions and learn to cope better.
- Coping resources: Patients need to learn new ways of managing stress in order to improve their mental wellbeing.
- Social interaction: Socialization is essential for successful adjustment, and building relationships can help reduce feelings of isolation.
- Counseling: Therapy can provide insight into the patient’s thoughts and feelings that they may not have been aware of, and help to resolve issues related to the condition.
The patient has demonstrated a decrease in stress levels, is more engaged in activities, and is forming relationships with others. The patient is able to identify situations that trigger distress, address issues related to the condition, and find strength in their support system.
Developing a nursing care plan for adjustment disorder is essential for helping patients to deal with the disorder and its associated symptoms. A comprehensive NCP helps the patient and healthcare professionals to identify potential issues, create an individualized plan of care and teaching, and monitor progress towards adjustment. An effective NCP can greatly improve the patient’s outlook on life.
- Q. What types of therapies are used to treat adjustment disorder?
A. Commonly used therapies are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and psychotherapy.
- Q. What medications may be prescribed for adjustment disorder?
A. The type of medication prescribed varies as per the individual’s needs. The most commonly prescribed medication for this condition include antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and short-acting benzodiazepines.
- Q. What are the long-term effects of adjustment disorder?
A. Long-term effects may include depression, anxiety, phobias, and other mental health conditions.
- Q. What can I do to help someone who is struggling with adjustment disorder?
A. Provide emotional support and understanding; offer to assist with daily chores; explain the condition and its management to the affected person; join him/her in activities; and encourage him/her to gain professional help.
- Q. How long does adjustment disorder last?
A. This is variable, depending on the individual and the circumstances. Generally, symptoms should decrease significantly within three to four months after receiving treatment.