Adjustment Disorder – A Case Study

February 9, 2016

Amina is a 20 year-old first year engineering student.


Three months back, she had successfully passed the highly competitive engineering entrance test and had looked forward to a great time in college. On the other hand, she was also quite anxious about leaving home – the college was located in another city, and she would have had to stay at the engineering college hostel. But then, being ambitious, she kept her fears aside, gathered all her courage and went away to live in the hostel.


In the first few weeks, she never really connected with her hostel mates. She sometimes looked nervous and sad.  She told the hostel warden that said that she was homesick but was afraid of telling this to her parents as she feared that they may worry and ask her to give up her college and come back home.


The warden referred her to the college counsellor. The counsellor was friendly and supportive and had regular weekly sessions with her over the next 3 weeks. During these sessions, the counsellor found Amina was generally ok, attended all her classes, studied well, slept and ate well, and looked after herself. During the sessions they generally discussed the issues and feelings Amina was experiencing and the ways she was coping with her difficulties.


Gradually Amina started managing her problems well. She built friendships, started moving around with her colleagues and overcame her homesickness. By the time she completed her first semester, her grades were excellent and she was one of the popular inmates of the college hostel.

In her notes, the Counsellor had stated the diagnosis as Adjustment Disorder. Adjustment disorder is a group of symptoms, such as feeling sad, anxious or irritable or physical symptoms that can occur after going through a stressful life event. The symptoms occur because of the stress of the difficult situation when the reaction is stronger than expected for the type of event that occurred.

Please note that the information in this case study should not be considered as medical advice for an individual’s condition. If anyone shows or feel symptoms of a possible medical condition, we strongly encourage you to seek advice from your primary physician or a mental health professional for an evaluation as soon as possible.
The names been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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