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Adjustment disorder and what to expect after an auto accident

Injury lawyer advice on how you may suffer from a stress-related mental illnes in the aftermath of a serious car accident

Adjusting to life after an auto accident can be challenging and disruptive. Car accident victims may be entitled to compensation for adjustment disorder that is caused by another driver's negligence.

For help from an injury lawyer now, call Michigan Auto Law at . The call and the advice is free.

Q. What is adjustment disorder?
A. An adjustment disorder is a type of stress-related mental illness brought on by stressful changes in a person’s life, according to the Mayo Clinic.

In the context of a Michigan car accident, adjustment disorder shows up when an accident victim is having a hard time adjusting to stressful life changes that the accident or its related personal injuries have forced upon the victim’s life.

Q. What are some of the stressful life changes that affect adjustment disorder?
A. The stressful life changes that may accompany an auto accident and affect adjustment disorder include:

  • Fear of driving,
  • Fear of cars and trucks or highway driving,
  • Physical disabilities,
  • Psychiatric injuries and psychological injuries,
  • Inability to work or perform other activities alone or with family and friends,
  • Learning to live with chronic pain.

Q. How is an "adjustment disorder" different from normal stress?
A. Unlike a person under normal stress, a person suffering from an adjustment disorder will have his or her whole life turned upside down by a stressful event.

When you have so much trouble adjusting to the stressful change that you find it difficult to go about your daily routine, you may have developed an adjustment disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic.

An adjustment disorder can affect your feelings, thoughts and behaviors, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, stressed and hopeless. For instance, the Mayo Clinic reports that a person suffering from adjustment disorder may experience distress that is in excess of what would normally be expected in response to the stressor.

Similarly, an adjustment disorder sufferer may experience distress that causes significant problems in relationships at work or at school.

Q. What are the symptoms of adjustment disorder?
A. Adjustment disorder symptoms tend to begin within three months of a stressful life event, such as a car accident or truck accident, and the symptoms can be emotional and/or behavioral in nature.

Emotional symptoms of adjustment disorder may include:

  • Sadness,
  • Hopelessness,
  • Lack of enjoyment,
  • Crying spells,
  • Nervousness,
  • Thoughts of suicide,
  • Anxiety,
  • Worry,
  • Desperation,
  • Trouble sleeping,
  • Difficulty concentrating,
  • Feeling overwhelmed.

Behavioral symptoms may include:

  • Fighting,
  • Reckless driving,
  • Ignoring bills,
  • Avoiding family or friends,
  • Poor school or work performance,
  • Skipping school,
  • Vandalism.

Q. Are there different types of adjustment disorder?
A. Yes. When symptoms last six months or less, the auto accident victim is said to be suffering an "acute" adjustment disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic. And, a "chronic" adjustment disorder is said to exist when symptoms last longer than six months.

Additionally, there are the following six main types of adjustment disorder:

  • Adjustment disorder with depressed mood. Symptoms mainly include feeling sad, tearful and hopeless, and a lack of pleasure in the things you used to enjoy.
  • Adjustment disorder with anxiety. Symptoms mainly include nervousness, worry, difficulty concentrating or remembering things and feeling overwhelmed. Children who have adjustment disorder with anxiety may strongly fear being separated from their parents and loved ones.
  • Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood. Symptoms include a mix of depression and anxiety.
  • Adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct. Symptoms mainly involve behavioral problems, such as fighting, reckless driving or ignoring your bills. Youngsters may skip school or vandalize property.
  • Adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct. Symptoms include a mix of depression and anxiety as well as behavioral problems.
  • Adjustment disorder unspecified. Symptoms don't fit the other types of adjustment disorders but often include physical problems, problems with family or friends, or work or school problems."

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