Adjustment disorders are triggered by major life stressors, such as changing jobs or moving and cause a significant amount of stress that impacts personal and professional functioning. While alcohol can temporarily relieve some of the anxiety and stress associated with adjustment disorder, it tends to make symptoms worse over time.
Adjustment disorder is common and usually goes away on its own. Goals of treatment are easing symptoms until they go away. However, when it doesn’t resolve on its own or with professional treatment, adjustment disorder can lead to substance abuse and suicidal thoughts and behavior.
Does Alcohol Affect Adjustment Disorder Recovery?
With proper treatment, most people recover from adjustment disorder as long as they have a strong social support system and no history of mental illness. Symptoms usually last for a maximum of six months.
However, some people who experience adjustment disorder may use potentially dangerous coping strategies to deal with the stress of their symptoms. One way people cope is through alcohol or drug use. Alcohol use temporarily relaxes the mind and body, which can provide significant relief to someone experiencing the stress of an adjustment disorder. However, heavy or frequent alcohol use can gradually make adjustment disorder symptoms worse and may trigger more severe mental illness, including addiction.
Symptoms of Co-Occurring Adjustment and Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder can cause symptoms of adjustment disorder to worsen and lead to additional mental health challenges over time. Some of the most common signs that someone is having issues with co-occurring adjustment disorder and alcohol use include:
- Spending a significant amount of time drinking or recovering from drinking
- Having trouble controlling the amount of alcohol consumed, often drinking more than intended
- Continuing to use alcohol despite negative effects on personal and professional relationships
- Becoming defensive when asked about their alcohol consumption
- Experiencing more severe adjustment disorder symptoms, including tearfulness, irritability, social isolation, headaches, and insomnia
Key Points: Alcohol and Adjustment Disorder
- Adjustment disorder can develop as a response to a stressful life event, such as experiencing the death of a loved one, moving, and divorce
- Adjustment disorder develops within three months of the stressor, and most people recover within a few months
- Adjustment disorder is common and usually goes away on its own
- For some people, adjustment disorder can cause suicidal tendencies or a substance use disorder
If you or someone you know needs treatment for co-occurring alcohol addiction and adjustment disorder, The Recovery Village can help. Take the first step toward recovery and call The Recovery Village today.