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World Psychiatry. 2011 Feb;10(1):11-8.

Adjustment disorders: the state of the art.

Abstract

Adjustment disorders are common, yet under-researched mental disorders. The present classifications fail to provide specific diagnostic criteria and relegate them to sub-syndromal status. They also fail to provide guidance on distinguishing them from normal adaptive reactions to stress or from recognized mental disorders such as depressive episode or post-traumatic stress disorder. These gaps run the risk of pathologizing normal emotional reactions to stressful events on the one hand and on the other of overdiagnosing depressive disorder with the consequent unnecessary prescription of antidepressant treatments. Few of the structured interview schedules used in epidemiological studies incorporate adjustment disorders. They are generally regarded as mild, notwithstanding their prominence as a diagnosis in those dying by suicide and their poor prognosis when diagnosed in adolescents. There are very few intervention studies.

KEYWORDS:

Adjustment disorders; classification; depressive disorder; normal adaptive stress reactions; sub-threshold diagnosis; suicide

PMID:
21379346
PMCID:
PMC3048515
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