Adjustment Anxiety: Comprehensive Treatment for Phase of Life Issues and Anxiety Disorders

When a big life change derails a person and they are plagued by stress and anxiety, they need help to recover their strength. Untreated anxiety brings risks that can be mitigated and redirected. And treatment for phase of life adjustment anxiety can empower this person with truly effective and positive coping strategies for dealing with life’s big challenges.

We can anticipate the challenges of life’s transitions, but even bracing ourselves with careful preparation can’t rule out the possibilities of struggle. The undeniable truth is that transitions are hard and especially so during important turning points in our lives. One of the reasons that major life changes are so difficult to cope with is that we develop attachments and feel the effects on our personal identity.

Phase of life stressors that can lead to adjustment anxiety include:


  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Death and loss
  • Job loss
  • Career change
  • Losing a home or moving
  • Ending a relationship or starting a new one
  • Children growing up and moving out
  • Retirement

This list is not exhaustive, and many other traumatic or otherwise powerful experiences can result in adjustment disorders. Relationships, occupations, and other major associations can become very central parts of our lives, and we may begin to identify with these aspects. When those aspects drop away or change in some other major way, some people feel those changes deeply and struggle to cope with the resulting stress.

Adjustment disorders related to phase of life issues tend to last for a matter of months and dissipate when the stressors have been removed. But when someone also suffers from an anxiety disorder, their need for comprehensive treatment becomes even more serious and more urgent.

What Are the Risks of Untreated Adjustment Anxiety?

While it’s true that adjustment disorders do not last more than six months, the story is rarely that simple. If symptoms do not cease within six months, it means that the persisting issue is something other than just an adjustment disorder. Plus, it is very common for people with adjustment disorders to experience co-occurring disorders as well. Even if the symptoms of adjustment anxiety last for a limited amount of time, the build-up of stress could very well exacerbate co-occurring conditions or be the catalyst for new issues.

Treatment can mitigate an individual’s symptoms and their distress with an adjustment disorder. It can also minimize the risks of dangerous side effects. The following risks are high for someone with an untreated adjustment disorder:

Typical symptoms of adjustment anxiety include severe insecurities, persistent worries, feelings of hopelessness, and out-of-the-ordinary and even risky behaviors. When compounded with an anxiety disorder, adjustment issues can leave a person incapable of managing their emotions, their relationships, their responsibilities, and their normal everyday life tasks. Their very understanding of who they are may become thoroughly destabilized. Their hope of recovering their presence and a balanced life depends on professional treatment.

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What to Expect from Treatment for Phase of Life Adjustment Anxiety

The symptoms of adjustment anxiety can permeate a person’s everyday life. The stress can affect their sleep, their appetite, their ability to concentrate, their motivation, their feelings of self-worth, and even their sense of self. In the bigger picture, it can affect their relationships, their work or school performance, and their ability to take care of themselves. They may struggle to even identify with the person they were before this big life change overwhelmed them.

But treatment can help them to reconnect—with their strength, with their hope, with themselves. The primary focus of treatment for phase of life adjustment issues and anxiety disorders is individualized psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A comprehensive treatment approach may also incorporate antianxiety or antidepressant medication, family therapy, support groups, and holistic therapies. All of these components help not only to relieve adjustment anxiety symptoms, but also to help this person learn healthy coping strategies to integrate with their daily life into the future. These new coping mechanisms proactively divert and reshape their otherwise anxious reactions to stress.

These opportunities put power and presence back in an individual’s life. And they will have lasting resources to support their recovery and their challenges with life’s later transitions. When someone receives compassionate care for co-occurring disorders—care for their whole self—the possibilities for ultimate healing are in their hands.

Bridges to Recovery offers comprehensive treatment for people struggling with mental health disorders as well as co-occurring substance use disorders. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Los Angeles programs and how we can help you or your loved one start on the path to lasting wellness.