Adaptive Reaction Disorder

What is an Adaptive Reaction Disorder?

An upset of adaptive reactions is a condition of subjective distress and emotional disturbance that usually interferes with social functioning and productivity and occurs during the period of adaptation to a significant change in life or stressful life event (including the presence or possibility of a serious physical illness). The stress factor can affect the integrity of the patient’s social network (loss of loved ones, experience of separation), a wider system of social support and social values ​​(migration, refugee status). A stressor (stress factor) can affect an individual or also his microsocial environment.

Causes of Adaptive Reaction Disorders

An individual predisposition or vulnerability plays a more important role than other reactions to stress in the risk of occurrence and formation of manifestations of adaptive disorders, but nevertheless it is believed that the condition would not have arisen without a stress factor.

Pathogenesis during an Adaptive Reaction Disorder

The onset is usually within a month after a stressful event or change in life, and the duration of symptoms usually does not exceed 6 months (except for a prolonged depressive reaction due to an adaptation disorder).

Symptoms of Adaptive Reaction Disorders

Manifestations are different and include depressive mood, anxiety, anxiety (or a mixture of them); a feeling of inability to cope, plan or stay in the present situation; as well as some degree of decline in productivity in daily activities. An individual may feel prone to dramatic behavior and outbursts of aggressiveness, but they are rare. However, in addition, especially in adolescents, behavioral disorders (e.g., aggressive or dissocial behavior) may occur.

None of the symptoms is so significant or predominant as to indicate a more specific diagnosis. Regressive phenomena in children, such as enuresis or children’s speech or finger sucking, are often part of the symptoms.

Diagnosing Adaptive Reaction Disorders

The diagnosis depends on a careful assessment of the relationship between:

  • the form, content and severity of the symptoms;
  • anamnestic data and personality;
  • stressful event, situation and life crisis.

The presence of the third factor should be clearly established and there should be strong, although perhaps suggestive evidence that the disorder would not have appeared without it. If the stressor is relatively small and if a temporary relationship (less than 3 months) cannot be established, the disorder should be classified differently according to the available symptoms.