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The biological basis of adjustment disorders 

The biological basis of adjustment disorders
The biological basis of adjustment disorders

Anne Doherty

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date: 24 January 2022

The biological basis of adjustment disorders examines the evidence for the biological factors associated with this common diagnosis. Although adjustment disorder is usually characterized as a disorder of psychological adjustment to life stressors, and while it shares overlapping psychopathology with both normal stress response and with major depression, there is evidence that the diagnosis may have pathophysiological characteristics that distinguish it from both. This chapter explores the evidence supporting underlying theories derived from diverse fields including genetics, neuroimaging, and neuroendocrine and neurotransmitter functioning, and considers how the pharmacological management of adjustment disorder is linked to said theories. It discusses the gaps in our knowledge and considers the causes for the relative lack of interest in this diagnosis compared with other diagnoses.

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