what is an adjustment disorder in children

An adjustment disorder is defined as an emotional or behavioral reaction to an identifiable stressful event or change in a person’s life that is considered maladaptive or somehow not an expected healthy response to the event or change. The reaction must occur within three months of the identified stressful event or change happening.

The identifiable stressful event or change in the life of a child or adolescent may be a maladaptive response to a family move, a parental divorce or separation, the loss of a pet, or the birth of a brother or sister. A sudden illness, or restriction to a child’s life because of chronic illness may also provoke an adjustment response.