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Getting the Balance Right: Coping with Adjustment Issues

Psychiatry Northwest

Adjusting to major life changes, such as moving to a new community, starting a new job, transferring to a new school, etc., can be very difficult to adjust to and keep your head above water. Even when changes are good ones, such as starting a new relationship, landing that promotion at work, a birth of a child, etc., can be tough to handle.

Northwestern Psychology Coping and Adjustment

However, it is when adjustment symptoms don’t go away that we may need to worry. These symptoms often include the following:

  • Excessive worry, intense sadness, low motivation
  • Feeling hopeless and overwhelmed
  • Difficulty concentrating and feeling irritable
  • Looking for a temporary escape, such as through substance abuse

When attempting to cope with adjustment difficulties, I have found that that people recover faster when they can learn how to be patient with themselves, avoid isolation from people who care about them, and limit taking on extra responsibilities. I have also found that creating healthy habits with known activities that reduce stress – aerobic exercise, yoga, spirituality, and journaling – can be very helpful for reducing the spiral of stress.

When these ideas and activities fail to help, working with a therapist may be the next best step to regain your balance and control in life. Therapy can help you learn and use advanced coping and resiliency skills that you can use in the moment and down the road to keep stress at bay. If symptoms continue to persist after 6 months, this may be a sign that something else may be going on such as depression and anxiety. If these symptoms have set in, talk to a mental health professional right away to get the help you need.

It’s very important to remember that experiencing adjustment issues is never a sign of personal failure or weakness. Reaching out for counseling is one of the best ways to get the support you need to get through these tough times – now and in the long run.


Coping with Change. (n.d.). Ceridian Corporation. Retrieved from http://mil.ccs.k12.nc.us/files/2012/06/Coping-With-Change.pdf

Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (5th ed.). (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011, March 17). Adjustment disorder. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adjustment-disorders/DS00584/DSECTION=symptoms.


FN ” Nuri” Kahn, MA, LMFTA, MHP is accepting new clients at Northwest Family Psychology’s Silverdale office. He is a military veteran and has a special interest in working with persons seeking treatment for trauma and adjustment-related challenges.

Schedule an appointment today with Nuri at 360-692-3970

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