BACKGROUND: Adjustment disorders (also known as mental distress in response to a stressor) are among the most frequently diagnosed mental disorders in psychiatry and clinical psychology worldwide. They are also commonly diagnosed in clients engaging in deliberate self-harm and in those consulting general practitioners. However, their reputation in research-oriented mental health remains weak since they are largely underresearched. This may change when the International Statistical Classification of Diseases-11 (ICD-11) by the World Health Organization is introduced, including a new conceptualization of adjustment disorders as a stress-response disorder with positively defined core symptoms.
OBJECTIVE: This paper provides an overview of evidence-based interventions for adjustment disorders.
METHODS: We reviewed the new ICD-11 concept of adjustment disorder and discuss the the rationale and case study of an unguided self-help protocol for burglary victims with adjustment disorder, and its possible implementation as an eHealth intervention.
RESULTS: Overall, the treatment with the self-help manual reduced symptoms of adjustment disorder, namely preoccupation and failure to adapt, as well as symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
CONCLUSIONS: E-mental health options are considered uniquely suited for offering early intervention after the experiences of stressful life events that potentially trigger adjustment disorders.