Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood
Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood causes excessive panic and depression in result of a stressful life event. While anyone who faces stress may experience mild symptoms of this disorder, diagnosis for adjustment disorder requires feelings and reactions that are disproportionate to the event. Often, people who have this illness will find their lives significantly impacted by symptoms of anxiety and depression, but this is only temporary. Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depression normally relieves itself within 6 months time.
Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood
Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood may result from either positive or negative events that produce stress. Planning an important event, such as a family reunion, or experiencing the loss of a loved one or a foreclosure on a home can cause a significant amount of stress. Some people may experience sadness and discontent, but will still be able to function normally until those feelings subside. Others may be effected more severely and be impacted by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Severe distress in relation to a life stressor
- Negative impact on work, home and social interaction
- Loss if interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Symptoms of clinical depression including problems sleeping, loss of appetite, overwhelming sadness, hopelessness and physical symptoms such as headaches or gastrointestinal problems
- Symptoms of anxiety disorder including panic attacks, heart palpitations, cold sweats, worry, fatigue and nervousness
Causes of Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood
The initial cause of adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood is the event which causes significant stress in one's life. However, since some people are affected less drastically by stress, science continues to search for the cause for severity of adjustment disorder in others. It is believed that genetics, environment and biological makeup may all be involved in this process. A patient may be susceptible to mental illness by inheriting certain genes from the family tree, or by learning certain behavioral traits from close loved ones while growing up. Additionally, a brain chemical imbalance can significantly impact mood swings and lead to the inability to process stressful information in a healthy way.
Diagnosing Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood
When a person's depression and anxiety from stress surpasses what could be considered a normal level, adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood may be diagnosed. A physician should first rule out any physical ailments that may be leading to symptoms, and then a therapist may be consulted for the discussion of treatment options. If other symptoms are present, or the condition lasts longer than 6 months, this diagnosis is no longer recommended.
Treatment Options for Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood
Due to the temporary nature of adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood, medication is not often prescribed. If it is to be considered, patients should research potential side effects vs. benefit of treatment by therapy. Anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication may relieve temporary symptoms of this disorder, but the many therapy options could be even more attractive. If the patient is under 18 years of age, family therapy might be the best option, as it can provide parental advice for dealing with the behavioral changes in the child. Group therapy for adults offers mutual support from others who may be dealing with the same types of issues. One-on-one counseling by a psychotherapist is necessary to evaluate symptoms on an ongoing basis, to be sure other mental illness does not develop, and to provide solutions for coping and relief of symptoms.