Have you recently experienced a traumatic or stressful life event? Are you experiencing symptoms like feeling overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, depressed, or having difficulty concentrating or sleeping? If so, you may be exhibiting symptoms of Stress Response Syndrome (SRS). SRS is a condition in which an individual experiences emotional and physical reactions to trauma that can cause significant mental and physical distress. Let’s discuss this condition further.

What is Stress Response Syndrome?

What is Stress Response SyndromeStress Response Syndrome (SRS) is a mental health condition that can occur in response to a traumatic or stressful event or series of events. In 2013, the Mental Health Diagnostic System changed the name from “adjustment disorder” to “stress response syndrome.”

Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment Disorder or Stress Response Syndrome is characterized by intrusive memories, flashbacks, and nightmares; avoidance behaviors; negative changes in moods and thoughts; and difficulty sleeping or concentrating. It is important to note that the symptoms of SRS can have a profound impact on an individual’s ability to function in everyday life and should be taken seriously.

Adjustment disorder is sometimes referred to as “situational depression” due to the overlap of symptoms with clinical depression, including tearfulness, feelings of hopelessness, and loss of interest in work or activities. This is especially common in individuals with stress response syndrome.

Adjustment Disorder vs. Major Depression

Adjustment syndrome, also known as stress response syndrome, shares some symptoms with major depression but unlike major depression, it comes without the severe physical and emotional symptoms or high risk of suicide. It’s important to recognize the differences between these conditions to get the appropriate treatment.

Adjustment Disorder vs. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

It’s important to understand that an adjustment disorder (also known as a stress response syndrome) is not the same as post-traumatic stress disorder. While posttraumatic stress disorder affects people who have experienced life-threatening events and causes physical symptoms lasting more than one month, adjustment disorders typically last under 6 months. Being aware of these distinctions can lead to earlier recognition and treatment of these conditions.

Who Is Affected by Stress Response Syndrome / Adjustment Disorders?

Who Is Affected by Stress Response SyndromeAnyone who has experienced a stressful or traumatic event has the potential to develop adjustment disorders / stress response syndrome, including children, adults, men, and women.

It is also important to note that not everyone who experiences a traumatic or stressful event will develop an adjustment disorder or stress response syndrome, but it is estimated that approximately 8.7% of Americans will experience it at some point in their lives.

Risk factors for developing Stress Response Syndrome / Adjustment Disorder include:

  • Prior traumatic experience
  • A history of mental illness or a family history of mental health issues
  • Experiencing an overwhelming event that changes your life circumstances
  • Having difficulty adapting to a new environment or culture
  • Exposure to ongoing stressors in life
  • Feeling a lack of control or helplessness over the traumatic event.

Different individuals experience varying types of stress that may lead to an adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome.

This can be triggered by various situations such as:

  • The end of a relationship or marriage
  • Loss of a job
  • Death of a loved one
  • Dealing with a life-threatening illness
  • Having suffered from a crime or physical assault
  • Being in an accident or life-threatening event
  • Coping with major life events including marriage, parenthood, or retirement
  • Living through a natural disaster such as a fire, flood, or hurricane

It is important to note that stress response syndrome (adjustment disorder) can be caused by both single and multiple events, so it is important to consider all potential triggers for the disorder. If you’ve experienced a stressful event and are beginning to feel symptoms, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider or a mental health professional at Mindflow Recovery.

With the right treatment and support system, stress response syndrome and its emotional symptoms can be managed.  It is also important to note that prevention of adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome places a strong emphasis on developing coping skills and promoting resilience to protect against potential mental health issues related to a stressful life event.  Mindflow Recovery can provide the necessary treatment and support for individuals who are struggling with an adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome. With the right guidance, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms and build resilience to help them cope in difficult times.

Stress Response Syndrome / Adjustment Disorder Symptoms

Symptoms of adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome can manifest in different ways for each person, but some common emotional or behavioral symptoms include:

  • Intrusive memories or flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Avoidance behaviors (avoidance of things that remind you of the stressful event)
  • Negative changes in thoughts and moods (e.g., feeling hopeless or depressed)
  • Feeling easily frustrated or angry
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hypervigilance (feeling constantly on alert for danger)
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Isolating oneself from others
  • Difficulty functioning in everyday life

It’s important to note that these symptoms must occur within three months of the traumatic event for a diagnosis of adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you seek help from your healthcare provider or mental health professional. These symptoms can have a profound impact on an individual’s ability to function in their everyday life, so it is important to take them seriously and seek treatment as soon as possible.

Diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder/Stress Response Syndrome

Diagnosis of Adjustment DisorderAccording to the American Psychiatric Association, stress response syndrome or adjustment disorder can be diagnosed by a mental health professional using criteria outlined in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

To be diagnosed with an adjustment disorder a person must experience significant impairment in functioning for up to six months due to the development of emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to a traumatic event or life stressor.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

The American Psychiatric Association uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to diagnose mental health conditions including stress response syndrome/adjustment disorder. The DSM-5 outlines criteria for diagnosis and identifies different types of adjustment disorders such as with mixed emotions or anxiety, with depressed mood, with disturbance of conduct, unspecified type, and normal bereavement.

Treatment for Adjustment Disorder/Stress Response Syndrome

Treatment for stress response syndrome or adjustment disorder typically includes talk therapy or psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) performed by mental health professionals. In some cases, medications may also be prescribed to help with managing symptoms of SRS.

It is important to note that the treatment plan for SRS should be tailored to meet the individual’s needs and should involve support from family, friends, or other trusted sources. Additionally, self-care strategies such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and mindfulness can help manage symptoms of adjustment disorder or stress response syndrome.

Can You Prevent Adjustment Disorders / Stress Response Syndrome?

Because adjustment disorders/stress response syndrome can be caused by a variety of life events, it is difficult to prevent them. However, some strategies can help reduce the risk of developing SRS or an adjustment disorder. These include:

  • Getting adequate rest and exercise
  • Engaging in relaxation activities such as yoga or meditation
  • Building strong social support networks
  • Be mindful of their thoughts and feelings
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Limit the use of drugs or alcohol
  • Seek professional help when needed

If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of an adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome, it is important to reach out for help from a mental health professional who can provide diagnosis and treatment options. With the right care and support, individuals can successfully manage stress

Finding Support for Stress Response Syndrome

Finding Support for Stress Response SyndromeIt is important to seek professional help if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of SRS. In addition, there are many support groups and organizations that can provide additional resources and support for those living with adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome. If you or someone you know needs help in dealing with SRS, please do not hesitate to reach out to Mindflow Recovery. Our team of experienced professionals can provide you with the guidance and resources necessary to help manage stress response syndrome/adjustment disorder.

Although SRS can be a difficult and overwhelming condition, there are resources available to help those who are suffering find support and hope. By recognizing the symptoms of adjustment disorders and stress response syndrome, seeking help from a qualified mental health professional, and connecting with trusted sources of support, individuals can take steps towards finding relief from this condition. With the right treatment and support, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms and live happier, healthier lives.

Mindflow Recovery Online Counseling Services

At Mindflow Recovery, we understand that dealing with adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome can be difficult and isolating. That’s why we offer online counseling services to help individuals struggling with this condition find relief. Our compassionate and knowledgeable team of mental health professionals is here to provide the guidance and support you need so that you can manage your symptoms and start living a healthier, more fulfilling life. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is SRS the same as acute stress disorder?

No. Acute stress disorder is a more severe form of psychological distress that can occur within one month following a traumatic or stressful event. Adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome may not occur until 3 months after a traumatic or life-changing event and does not have to be related to trauma.

What are the long-term effects of SRS?

The long-term effects of stress response syndrome vary depending on the individual and can include chronic anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, and social isolation. It is important to seek professional help if these symptoms persist or worsen over time.

Does Mindflow Recovery offer group therapy?

Yes. Mindflow Recovery offers group therapy sessions for individuals living with adjustment disorder/stress response syndrome. These sessions are designed to provide a safe and supportive environment where individuals can learn from one another’s experiences and gain the skills needed to manage their symptoms. Contact us today to learn more about our group therapy services and schedule your appointment.