Adjustment disorder (AD) is a frequent diagnosis in clinical practice worldwide. After long neglect in mental health research, the new DSM definition and in particular the ICD-11 model of AD is about to create a fresh impulse for research on AD and for refined clinical use of the diagnosis.
This paper outlines the clinical features of AD according to the ICD-10, ICD-11 and DSM-5 definitions, and provides case vignettes of patients with AD with clinical presentations of dominating anxiety, depressed mood or mixed symptom presentations. The available clinical assessments and diagnostic tools are described in detail, together with findings on their psychometric properties.
The current AD definitions are consistent with a new nosological grouping of AD with posttraumatic stress disorder in the chapter on trauma- and stressor-related disorders, or stress response syndromes.
This nosological specification opens new avenues for neurobiological and psychological research on AD and for developing novel therapies.