Difference Between Adjustment Disorder and Anxiety Disorder (With Table)

Difference Between Adjustment Disorder and Anxiety Disorder (With Table)

When persistent indications and symptoms create regular stress and impair your capacity to operate, a mental health condition becomes a mental disease. Mental illness can make you melancholy and cause issues in your everyday life, such as in school, work, or relationships. Symptoms may be controlled with a combination of medicines and interpersonal psychotherapy.

Adjustment Disorder vs Anxiety Disorder

The core difference between adjustment disorder and anxiety disorder is that adjustment disorder is related to depression, which gets triggered when a stressful life event occurs. While everyone experiences stress, some people have difficulty dealing with certain pressures. Anxiety is a concern and uneasiness that disrupts daily living and is produced by various circumstances.

Difference Between Adjustment Disorder and Anxiety Disorder

In adjustment disorder, the failure to cope with the stressful incident might result in one or more acute psychiatric and even bodily symptoms. Adults and children can both be affected by adjustment issues.

Therapy, medicine, or a hybrid are used to treat these diseases. With the right support, you may recover rapidly from an adjustment problem. Unless the stressor remains, the condition lasts no longer than six months.

Anxiety is a common feeling. It’s your mind’s way of handling stress and warning you about impending danger. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. For instance, when confronted with an issue at employment, before taking tests, or before making a major choice, you may feel concerned.

Anxiety is normal on occasion. Anxiety disorders are discrete. They’re a group of mental illnesses that cause overwhelming anxiety and panic. Excessive anxiety may cause you to avoid work, school, family events, and other social settings that may exacerbate or provoke your symptoms.

Comparison Table Between Adjustment Disorder and Anxiety Disorder

MEANINGIt is a temporary state of depression.A feeling of worry and nervousness that affects the rest of the day.
SYMPTOMSSadness, irritation, sleep pattern changes, loss of appetiteUneasy, worrying, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and dizziness
CAUSESMainly due to a particular life event.Physical illness, genetics, or life stresses.
PANIC ATTACKSDo not cause panic attacks.Causes panic attack.
DURATIONDoes not last more than 6 months.Variation with various people.

What Is Adjustment Disorder?

Adjustment disorder is a melancholy that may only be triggered by a significant life stressor. It can counterfeit itself as a serious depression, but it doesn’t last much longer than six months usually. Adjustment disorders are divided into six categories, each with its own set of symptoms and indicators.

  1. Adjustment disorder with depressed mood.
  2. Adjustment disorder unspecified.
  3. Adjustment disorder with anxiety.
  4. Adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct.
  5. Adjustment disorder with mixed emotional and behavioral disturbances.
  6. Adjustment disorder, which showcases anxiety and depression as an indication.

Adjustment disorder symptoms appear three months after a stressful period and continue no more than six months after the incident has ended. Persistent or chronic adjustment problems, on the other hand, might last longer than six months, specifically if the stressor is continuing.

Some symptoms include:

  • activities that are defiant or impulsive
  • anxiousness
  • Sadness, hopelessness, or a sense of being imprisoned
  • sobbing, a distant demeanor, and a lack of focus
  • a drop in self-esteem
  • thoughts of suicide
  • indigestion
  • insomnia
  • muscular spasms or trembling
  • exhaustion, body discomfort, or soreness.

The most common treatment for an adjustment issue is therapy. They are:

  • hypnotherapy 
  • involvement in a crisis 
  • Cognitive-behavioral treatment
  •  interpersonal psychotherapy 

Some of the medication includes benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepines, SSRIs or SNRIs.

What Is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorders are the most frequent mental illnesses. They affect almost 30% of individuals at some time in their lives. Anxiety disorders are most commonly diagnosed in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood.

An anxiety disorder is a type of mental illness. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may feel fear and dread in reaction to certain products and events.

Anxiety disorders can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including:

  • Anxiety disorder with symptoms of generalized anxiety (GAD).
  • Panic Attacks.
  • Phobias.
  • The anxiety of being apart.

Anxiety disorders have characteristics with other mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The following are common signs and symptoms:

  • Panic, dread, and apprehension
  • Gloomy or dangerous feelings
  • Sleep Disorders
  • unable to uphold calm and silence
  • Hands or feet that are chilly, sweating, numb, or tingling
  • hyperventilation
  • Palpitations in the heart
  • Mouth is parched
  • Nausea
  • Muscle tenseness
  • Dizziness
  • Rumination
  • The inability to focus
  • Avoid dreaded items or places with zeal or obsessiveness.

Some common causes of anxiety disorder are genetics, brain chemistry, environmental stress, drug withdrawal, and medical conditions.

Treatments for anxiety disorder include: 

  • Medications like Antidepressants, Bupropion, Benzodiazepines, Anticonvulsants, Antipsychotics, Buspirone.
  • Psychotherapy is like Cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Anxiety problems are unavoidable. However, there are things you may do to regulate or decrease your symptoms:

  • Learn about your disorder.
  • Stick to your treatment plan.
  • Caffeine-enriched food should be avoided.
  • Don’t use alcohol and recreational street drugs.
  • Eat right and exercise.
  • Get better sleep.
  • Learn to relax.
  • Keep a journal
  • Manage your negative thoughts.
  • Get together with friends.
  • Seek support. 

Main Difference Between Adjustment Disorder and Anxiety Disorder

  1. Adjustment disorder is a transient kind of depression caused by big life stressors incidents. Anxiety is characterized by concern and uneasiness that interferes with regular functioning and day-to-day activities.
  2. A stressful incident, such as a death in the family, is always the cause of adjustment disorder. Various factors, including heredity, environment, and psychological makeup, can cause anxiety.
  3. Sadness, irritability, changes in sleep and food, and a loss of interest in regular activities are all symptoms of adjustment disorder. Worry, uneasiness, discomfort, high heart rate, dizziness, and shortness of breath are all anxiety symptoms.
  4. Grief, restlessness, changes in sleep and food, and a loss of interest in regular activities are all symptoms of adjustment disorder. Worry, uneasiness, discomfort, high heart rate, nausea, and breathlessness are all anxiety symptoms.
  5. Panic attacks are uncommon in people with adjustment disorders. Panic episodes are a common symptom of anxiety disorders.


People can have both conditions and adjusting to new habits can exacerbate anxiety disorder. As they adjust to a life change, those with adjustment disorder frequently see a significant reduction in anxiety, but individuals with GAD experience anxiety continuously.

Whether you have GAD or adjustment disorder, knowing that help is available and you may recover is crucial. Seeing a qualified therapist can assist you in managing your symptoms and learning effective coping techniques.


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1991-16334-001
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S147020451170002X
  3. https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037/ser0000239
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