Life’s Changed and Now So Have I — Adjustment Disorder?

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Reader’s Question

I have been really depressed the last two years and cannot seem to pull out of it. I have a lovely wife, three great kids, a great home, a great job, no money problems, and plenty of friends.

But I’ve been sleeping a lot, and I quit exercising completely. I now smoke 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day. Sex seems to be the biggest problem in my relationship. She had a hysterectomy and lost all sex drive and sex appeal. She now dresses like an old woman and doesn’t even flirt with me anymore. When I try to touch her, she snaps my head off. We might have sex one time a week or less.

What is wrong with me?

Psychologist’s Reply

Substantial changes in one’s environment or relationship generally require a person to make an adjustment to their manner of coping. Sometimes, these adjustments can be less than optimal and accompanied by considerable anxiety, depression, and maladaptive changes in behavior. Professionals call such reactions that go beyond what one might normally expect from exposure to significant stress an “Adjustment Disorder.”

If your normal manner of coping has changed and you are experiencing uncharacteristic unhappiness in the face of the recent stressors and changes in your life that you mention, it’s probably a good idea to visit with a mental health professional and get a comprehensive assessment.

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