Throughout our lives, we have to deal with all kinds of events, situations or experiences that can leave a mark on our psychological health. In some people, the impact of these vital moments is so strong that it can trigger a psychological state.
This type of condition is known as adaptive mixed disorder.. The aim of this article is to analyze this type of disorder, six symptoms, causes and treatment; as well as highlighting the main differences with other adaptive disorders.
What is mixed adaptive disorder?
Mixed adaptive disorder refers to a group of conditions that appear as a reaction to a stressful life factor. More precisely, the person experiences a series of difficulties in trying to cope with a stressful or emotionally charged life event, Sensation marked by strong feelings of depression and anxiety.
These events or situations may include the death of a loved one, relationship problems, or a termination. While any of these experiences can be distressing and stressful, some people have difficulty dealing with certain stressors, which often leads to the onset of this type of psychological disorder.
With mixed adaptive disorder, the person’s reaction is much more severe than usual and it can end up causing a very significant deterioration in social, professional and / or academic functioning. In addition, to be diagnosed as such, the symptoms must appear within three months of the onset of the stressor and must not last more than six months after the disappearance of this factor.
This reaction can appear in response to a single, one-time event, such as a serious car accident or the death of a loved one, or after experiencing a period of stress as is the case with serious marital or professional problems.
Usually mixed adaptive disorder has been associated with a high risk of suicide or suicidal behavior and with the abuse of toxic substances. Additionally, persistent mixed adaptive disorder can develop into a much more serious mental disorder such as major depressive disorder.
What are the symptoms?
Although symptoms can vary widely in people with mixed adaptive disorder, the clinical picture for this condition includes:
- Depressed mood.
- low self-esteem.
- Action withdrawn.
- Suicidal thoughts.
- Anxiety, worry, stress and tension.
- Lack of concentration.
- Social, professional or educational disability.
- Continuous feeling of fatigue.
- Tremors and / or spasms.
- Physical discomfort such as general pain, stomach ache, or chest pain.
How is it different from other adaptive disorders?
In addition to mixed adaptive disorder, there are six other types of adaptive disorder that appear in response to a stressful experience. As mentioned above, mixed adaptive disorder is characterized by feelings of depression and anxiety. However, other disorders have other specific qualities:
1. Adaptive disorder with depressed mood
In this case, the patient tends to experience only feelings of sadness and hopelessness, as well as constant crying and anhedonia.
2. Adaptive disorder with anxious mood
The person feels pathologically overwhelmed, anxious and overworked; be able to get to the point of presenting concentration problems and memory errors.
3. Adaptive disorder with behavior modification
The symptomatology of this subtype is associated with a modified pattern of behavior, which usually involves problematic, risky and reckless behaviors.
4. With mixed alteration of emotions and behavior
Collects all of the types mentioned above. Feelings of depression, anxiety and behavioral problems.
5. Unspecified adaptive disorder
People with this diagnosis have symptoms not associated with the above disorders. They usually include physical symptoms and / or problems with friends, family, work and / or school.
What can be the causes?
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the cause or trigger of mixed adaptive disorder is when you come on or experience a very stressful factor.
In adults, this factor is usually related to financial, work, or marital problems, while in children and adolescents these experiences include school problems, family problems, or separation. On another side, there are other experiences that can affect people of all ages such as the death of a loved one, life changes, accidents, disasters or medical conditions such as cancer.
However, these experiences are characterized by having a negative impact on anyone. Therefore, there are a number of conditions that affect the way a person deals with a stressful situation and that promote the onset of mixed adaptive disorder. These factors include:
- Existing adaptation strategies.
- Economic conditions.
- Availability of social support.
- Professional and recreational opportunities.
What is the treatment based on?
Depending on the condition of the person diagnosed with mixed adaptive disorder, short-term treatment or treatment for a slightly longer period may be needed. Likewise, depending on the severity of the disorder, the protocol for intervention in this diagnosis may include psychological therapy, medication, or both.
1. Psychological therapy
Psychological therapy is generally the treatment of choice in mixed adaptive disorderAs this allows the patient to regain his normal functioning levels. The main goal of any type of psychological therapy is to help the person understand their situation and develop skills to deal with stressful situations.
The main types of therapy used in this disorder include:
- Family and group therapies.
- Specific support groups.
- Brief strategic therapy.
2. Pharmacological therapy
The mission of pharmacotherapy is to decrease some of the symptoms of this disorder such as insomnia and physical symptoms of depression and anxiety. Commonly used drugs include:
Benzodiazepines such as lorazepam and alprazolam.
- Anxiolytics in benzodiazepines such as gabapentin.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (NSRIs) such as sertraline or venlafaxine.