Managing stress is never easy for anyone. It is normal to go through a period of emotional distress, lifestyle changes and impairment in functioning briefly through a period of stress. However, if these effects are ongoing and severe, it may be an indication of adjustment disorder.

Adjustment disorder is being in an unhealthy psychological state due to an identifiable stressor or a number of stressors. If this response continues for 6 months after the stressor is removed, it may be an indication of more ongoing concerns – as adjustment disorder will only occur when specific stressful events are occurring and for a short period afterwards.

The stressors can be ongoing or brief, some examples could include:

  • A relationship break up
  • Problems at work
  • Disability
  • Natural disaster
  • Reaching a specific age milestone (e.g. leaving home, retirement)

If there is someone in your family who is experiencing a stressor so intensely that it is impairing their daily functioning and seems out of proportion to the severity of the event, it may be time to seek external help. Sometimes the attempts of other family members or yourself to try to help your loved one can just make them feel worse or further separate your relationship.

The psychologists at VCPS are highly experienced in working with you and your family together, in order to help build a supportive environment for this person and allow a place for the concerns to be explored and managed. Some of the help that would be provided includes:

  • Increasing you or your family member’s capacity to cope with stress, and finding effective strategies to manage your emotions
  • Assisting your family member in finding and using the social supports that are around them when the stressor arises – including yourself and people outside of the home
  • Enhance your family member’s self-efficacy and sense of control over their life
  • Provide a place to discuss the concerns and work through them one-by-one in a calm and understanding manner
  • Help to build stronger and more open relationships within the family
  • Help encourage your family member to accept help and engage in individual counselling
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