Difference Between Adjustment Disorder and Depression (With Table)

People have emotions, they can feel down once in a while, and that’s normal. But, the point is to figure out the cause of it. Many think that it’s always the same. According to psychologists, there are different reasons and effects for this emotional problem, and it might not be similar to others.

Adjustment Disorder vs Depression

The main difference between Adjustment Disorder and Depression is that adjustment disorder happens due to the inability to accept the surroundings. On the other hand, depression is a kind of mental illness.

Difference Between Adjustment Disorder and Depression

Adjustment disorder can happen to any person. It is not unique. Most of the time, people ignore this disorder as it seems normal to others. But it is not unavoidable. When the surroundings change, it can affect a person differently because it needs time to accept the sudden change.

Depression is one kind of mental illness. It can be more dangerous than adjustment disorder, and one should not avoid it as it may steal someone’s life. It may show symptoms like – behavior change, tone of voice, speaking not much, and many more. Instant checkups might be helpful in this case. Moreover, if any person seems to be going through depression, regular mental health improvement sessions should be considered.

Comparison Table Between Adjustment Disorder and Depression

Parameters of ComparisonAdjustment DisorderDepression
DefinitionThe inability to accept the change in surroundings is known as adjustment disorder.Depression is a mental illness that has no particular reason behind it.
CauseChange in the surroundings or environment causes this type of disorder.No particular reason causes depression. Different people have different reasons for their depression.
SymptomsSymptoms are very mild.Symptoms of depression are very severe and easily noticeable.
Side effectsIt has few side effects. But a few symptoms are – insomnia, anxiety, and anger issues.The side effects of depression are- feeling bad, negative, and suicidal thoughts.
TreatmentsIn most cases, patients do not need treatments. Psychotherapy is the best option for the treatment of adjustment disorder.Treatments are a must in this as doctor advice, medication, and therapies.

What is Adjustment Disorder?

When a person cannot settle in a new environment or accept the change, it is called adjustment disorder. There are several reasons why one is unable to adjust themselves accordingly.

Habit is one of the reasons. It is the law of human nature. According to it, people tend to follow their routine, and if a sudden change occurs which affects their habit, it might be uncomfortable. 

One major problem with this disorder is that adjustment disorder does not express symptoms like other mental disorders. And, also it is hard to understand what a person is going through.

It is not dangerous and can vanish naturally. Without any consultation or therapy, one can get out of this. The percentage of patients having adjustment disorder is utterly low compared to others. 

Adjustment disorder causes stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depressed feelings. It is not as severe as depression, though it might need some medical advice. AD (Adjustment disorder) can cause a change in habits or personality.

What is Depression?

With the change of human minds, human beings have faced lots of difficulties in life as depression. Researchers have failed to discover the actual reason behind depression. As per the records, it says that different people have different reasons for their depression.

And most of the time, there is not even a reason for it. In simple words, it is a feeling when a person only has negative thoughts or feels down always without any particular cause.

There are a few symptoms of depression like not talking much or avoiding gatherings (like parties or ceremonies), ignoring people. One easy way to make a person feel better, even though they try to refrain from it, is communicating. Often family members are never concerned about this type of mental illness.

But, people should not avoid depression, and they should take it as a severe emotional disorder. In the case of medications, different people need different solutions as they have similar reasons for their depression.

Some people only need a week or more to overcome their problems, but for others, they might need a year or two for the same. It is difficult to calculate how many days or years a patient needs who is going through depression.

A warning is that never make fun of their situations. A person cannot know what the other person is going through until they fall into the same problem. One way or another, it is very tough to get out of depression when a person does not know the exact reason behind their anxiety. In this modern era, all should take a deep breath and accept it as a severe issue.

Main Differences Between Adjustment Disorder and Depression

  1. The difference between adjustment disorder and depression is that adjustment disorder has a particular reason, while depression is a severe psychological illness without a distinct cause.
  2. The former one (adjustment disorder) is not a long-term problem, but on the other hand, depression might stay for years.
  3. Medical checkups or doctors’ advice is not necessary for adjustment disorder. But, for depression, a doctor’s advice is a must, and one can consider a psychiatrist if needed.
  4. Adjustment disorder symptoms are very mild, and others can’t notice it effortlessly. Depression symptoms are severe (like avoiding people and communications).
  5. Adjustment disorder fades away with time (mostly) and is unnoticeable. Depression is a severe illness causing anxiety and negative thoughts with many side effects (such as suicidal thoughts).


Adjustment disorder and depression both are unavoidable problems in our life. There are ways to treat these illnesses, and thus people should normalize treatments for depression. Struggling on our own makes it more difficult. So, reach out to people as much as possible to avoid these circumstances.

Mental health is also a part of our body, and people should not ignore it easily or make fun of it. Treatments are also necessary as depression might be dangerous for some people. Surrounding people should help them and overcome it as soon as possible.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032706000401
  2. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/207455