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Adjustment Disorder: Diagnostic and Treatment Issues Case Study

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Updated: May 14th, 2020

The first story under consideration is devoted to a person with Down syndrome and his mother (“A Mom, a Son,” 2016). As the title of the story implies, Joshua Myers, the person in question, has suffered through inability to accept the disorder. He regarded his condition as a curse and has attempted a suicide by walking into a busy crossroad. A stranger had a dialog with Joshua and obviously made him change his point of view. Joshua’s mother has been stressed over not being able to cope with her son’s condition as well. However, the incident has made an impact on her stance and improved her relationship with her son (“A Mom, a Son,” 2016).

The second article describes a person who accidentally ended his sister’s life when they both were children (“Gone with a Gunshot,” 2016). Sean Smith, aged 10 when the accident occurred, and his eight-year-old sister Erin found a gun in their father’s room; inadvertently, the boy pulled the trigger, and the shot killed his sister. Albeit the conversations with his family, Sean was seriously affected. Unable to cope with his sister’s death, he was later expelled from school and suffered substance abuse. With the birth of his son, Sean’s attitude partially changed and he started to recover. Sean’s mother has suffered the loss and has been worried for Sean, but his recovery after more than twenty years of pain has revived her optimism (“Gone with a Gunshot,” 2016).

The issues – both emotional and behavioral – discussed in the articles can be considered the signs of an adjustment disorder (AD). The direct signs of AD that we are able to witness in the first case are sadness, desperation, the sensation of being overwhelmed, and suicide attempted by the overwhelmed person (Casey & Doherty, 2012). The second case presents the emotional and behavioral determinants in the form of crying spells, escaping reality, and, possibly, poor performance at school that resulted into the protagonist being expelled (Casey & Doherty, 2012). As we can see from both articles, the AD-exposed persons have experienced a sufficient improvement in their coping skills. In the first article, one of the sources of improvement was support provided by a third party – the conversation between Joshua and a stranger – which basically summarizes the aspects of the social support strategy (Santrock, 2006).

Another one would be using humor to manage the taxing condition: Joshua and his mother have developed some rituals that boost their spirits and generally cheer them up. Also, one of the possible factors that have proved efficient in eliminating stress was the pro-life attitudes Joshua and his mother developed after the suicide attempt, which is an implementation the of positive thinking strategy (Santrock, 2006). The other story’s acting figure had been unsuccessful with his academic performance and reckless with drug issues but changed after his son was born. Such change is a proof that an increased self-control strategy was applied (Santrock, 2006). The hero planning what he needs to achieve, or at least hoping that he eventually will, would be an example of proactive coping strategy. Overall, the persons featuring the second story are using a variety of strategies, such as self-control, proactivity, and positive thinking – which is in itself a strategy (Santrock, 2006).

Among the most effective strategies, cognitive and behavioral strategies are mentioned (Santrock, 2006). On their way to adjustment, Joshua and his mother have already used the major component of cognitive coping, which is the optimistic thinking strategy. Santrock (2006) asserts that thoughts and beliefs that focus a person on their problems should be replaced by other thoughts. Concentrating on her son’s disorder did not allow Joshua’s mother to progress and adjust. If she had ever tried to avoid unpleasant thoughts, it did not work either. She described the situation as frightening and has obviously experienced prolonged stress due to her inability to handle Joshua’s depression (“A Mom, a Son,” 2016). Thinking positively improved their adjustment but taking actions that would strengthen the bonds would also prove beneficial for both of them. For a person with the Down syndrome, household responsibilities could be a certain advance in coping; also, they could practice meditation to release the tension, should one occur (Santrock, 2006).

As to the persons featuring the second story, Sean Smith and his mother have made a sufficient progress by taking actions, self-control, and regarding the situation optimistically (“Gone with a Gunshot,” 2016). The aspect of cognitive adjustment strategy that should possibly be implemented is social support. This strategy, when applied to practice, provides the AD-exposed person with feedback from their immediate surrounding and assures the affected person that they are valued and cared for (Santrock, 2006). The sensation of guilt and devastation that Sean had experienced drove him off the path but support from the family and surroundings could make him believe that he was nevertheless accepted. His mother, in turn, would benefit from mutual support that would empower her to apply other strategies more efficiently.

References

[Audio file]. (2016). Web.

Casey, P., & Doherty, A. (2012). Adjustment disorder: Diagnostic and treatment issues. Psychiatric Times, 29, 43-46.

[Audio file]. (2016). Web.

Santrock, J. (2006). Human adjustment. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.

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