Adjustment related problems

Life and change

Change is the only constant in life. And change generates resistance. Every passing day brings change in some or the other dimension of existence for everyone. Facing it is stressful enough, defying it is hardly a comfortable option. It is imperative to adjust to situations and people in a fast moving world. If one is unable to make these amends, it can affect the overall psychological well-being and can cause distress in the form of adjustment problems.

Adaptation is the key to survival

Change is a stressor. Constancy brings peace. A steady job, stable income, a sound relationship, everlasting friendships, reliable political system, steadfastness in faith, good weather, freedom from threat, safety, security; all are what one needs to ‘not stress’ and be calm. But constancy is an unattainable dream. Things change, people change and their viewpoints change. Marriages break, recession strikes and economies fall. Change is inevitable. Positive change brings joy while negative ones act as stressors. Trouble will persist till the stressor is removed or positive adaptation to the change has taken place.

Types of stressors

Change of residence, school, college or workplace; marriage or divorce, loss of a loved one, birth of a child; loss of a job, a new job, promotion or setback; all can act as stressors which can influence individuals in a negative manner. It may seem trivial to adapt to all of these situations, but some find it difficult to accept transitions. It is a form of emotional obstinacy; an unrealistic inexplicable need for consistency. It’s not abnormal to want constancy; it’s simply anomalous to expect it all the time and be unable to accept otherwise.

What change can do

Change leads to apprehension and worry. Children may develop tantrums; perform poorly in school and may get depressed. Adults may refuse work; stay at home, stop communicating, have trouble sleeping and eating, and many could even develop frank depression or anxiety secondary to the fear of facing the new unwanted situation. Essentially in these cases the demand for adjustment overruns one’s available energies. Defenses get depleted since demand exceeds the supply of optimism and faith; and one finds oneself unable to cope up.

Predictability of adjustment problems

People who are anxious personalities and have high basal tension levels have a greater tendency to develop adjustment problems. Any change tends to tamper with their stress threshold. They feel secure in their stable environment and abhor any modification to it. Sometimes the calamity is enormous and anyone would respond negatively (like death or divorce). However the norm of life is that it goes on. All wounds are supposed to heal; some get all right fast, and others rectify sluggishly. When the healing process seems to be excessively and unreasonably long, there are no signs of betterment in spite of adequate friend and family support; and if signs of depression and anxiety disorder are slipping in, it’s a problem that now warrants expert attention.

Treatment goals

At MINDFRAMES the goal of treatment is to intervene to reduce stress and build on the coping mechanisms to deal with the stressor. Cognitions need to change to correct irrational beliefs about the perceived stressor. This helps in reducing the fatality associated with it. Individual concerns and beliefs need to be dealt with and strengths must be built in order to empower oneself to deal with every situation maturely and effectively without fearing the consequences. Rational emotive change helps correct the negative emotions involved. Crisis can always be dealt with by venting emotions with building alternate defenses and coping methods. Life is about change and the more willfully we accept it, less cumbersome becomes the fight and greater the peace in our minds. We only get to live once. It makes most sense to make it peaceful and meaningful the first time around itself!

Signs of adjustment problems

If faced with a new situation one must watch for these signs

  • Continued fear and apprehension
  • Obsessing and restlessness
  • Enduring anxiety all the time
  • Prolonged negativism of the mood
  • Distractibility and loss of focus
  • Inability to enjoy the change
  • Worrying about the consequences
  • Persistent worry over the months
  • Nothing seems to liven the mood
  • Unexplained ches and pains
  • Wishing this hadn’t happened
  • Regretting one’s own choices

Frequently Asked Questions

Everyone takes time to adjust to new situations right?
Yes everyone takes time and they do adjust more or less to all situations they face. However if the new situation leads to sleep disturbances, anxiety, worry, depression, decreased desire for study or work,and withdrawal from social situations; then it surely requires expert attention.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can one adjust better to change?
It’s all a state of one’s mind. If one believes that change is inevitable then one does not expect any constancy. One needs to build on ones’ defenses and the coping mechanisms to be forever ready to face change with optimism.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I can’t change the situation, where’s the solution?
You cannot always change the situation, but you can change your response to the situation. You can convince yourself that every new situation is a fresh challenge; and face it bravely with conviction and confidence.