March 21, 2024

How To Create an Effective Treatment Plan for Adjustment Disorder

How To Create an Effective Treatment Plan for Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorder is a complex issue that can have a big impact on how people feel about themselves and the world around them. Treating adjustment disorders can be one of the many important jobs of a behavioral health facility.

What’s the best way to help someone who’s struggling with feelings of stress and hopelessness? There’s no one right way to treat adjustment disorder, but many clinicians find the most success when they properly implement an effective treatment plan with clients. 

We’ll break down the components of an adjustment disorder treatment plan, describe why they’re important to insurance companies, and show you the best way to track progress during implementation.

Ritten: Simplified EMR Behavioral Health Treatment Plan Software

Ritten makes keeping track of adjustment disorder and other behavioral health plans a snap. Since these plans are roadmaps for successful recovery, clinicians and clients should be able to follow their maps on the way to healing and self-discovery.

The future of behavioral health is data-driven. Instead of spending so much time filling out piles of paperwork, clinicians will be able to focus on treating those with adjustment disorders by using our behavioral health EMR software.

Book a demo today to see why smart behavioral health specialists are turning to Ritten for their treatment plan needs.

Table of Contents

What Is a Treatment Plan for Adjustment Disorder?

People with adjustment disorder typically have emotional/behavioral symptoms of higher-than-usual stress levels as a result of  a traumatic event in their lives. These symptoms cause problems in their everyday lives unrelated to other mental health issues or the grieving process.

An adjustment disorder treatment plan is a written document created by a clinician in collaboration with the client seeking help for adjustment disorder. It should be highly personalized, outlining what the client wants out of treatment and how they plan to work toward those goals.

Treatment plans for adjustment disorder will likely change over time as clients progress through them.

What Is the Purpose of Adjustment Disorder Treatment Plans?

The purpose of an adjustment disorder treatment plan is to ensure that the client is making progress toward lower stress levels and emotional regulation. The best mental health treatments will create a clear roadmap to give clients the tools they need to get long-lasting results and resume daily activities.

People with adjustment disorder have trouble living a normal life because stress and worry cause them to lose sleep, miss meals, withdraw from family and friends, and have trouble with day-to-day tasks like paying bills or going to work. 

A treatment plan will help them systematically work through these issues to get to a better place. An outcome-driven system like this can help them stay focused on why they are in treatment, especially when they might be feeling discouraged along the way.

An effective treatment plan will be paired with detailed progress notes to address what has been achieved during sessions. Having a system that can efficiently tie treatment plans to progress notes can assist in the overall effectiveness and organization of care.

Why Do Treatment Plans for Adjustment Disorder Matter to Insurance Companies?

Insurance companies want treatment plans that can be objectively measured. A clinician who just lets a client come in and talk about their problems with no goal in sight is not systematically treating the issue. 

Adjustment disorder treatment plans are important to insurance companies because they are highly structured and provide an exact roadmap for the therapy strategy. 

How Do You Develop a Treatment Plan for Adjustment Disorder?

Before beginning the development of an adjustment disorder treatment plan, a clinician should work with the client to identify:

  • Sources of major stress
  • Symptoms
  • How stress is affecting everyday life
  • Social, mental health, and medical histories

They should then be able to narrow down the client’s disorder to a specific type. These include adjustment disorder:

  1. With anxiety – Worry, nervousness, feeling overwhelmed, difficulty concentrating and remembering things
  2. With depressed mood – Sadness, hopelessness, fatigue, not enjoying things that used to give you pleasure
  3. With anxiety and depressed mood – A mixture of the prior two categories
  4. With disturbed conduct – Behavioral problems like skipping school, fighting, destroying property
  5. With disturbed emotions and conduct – A mixture of anxiety, depression, and behavioral issues
  6. Unspecified – Symptoms that don’t fit into any of the above categories but may include issues with friends/family, problems at school/work, and physical issues

Once the type has been established, the clinician will use these behavior and thought patterns to build an adjustment disorder treatment plan using four main components.

4 Core Components of an Adjustment Disorder Treatment Plan

The four core components of an adjustment disorder treatment plan are:

  • Problem statement – Highlights problem areas to be addressed during treatment
  • Goals – Main issues pulled from the problem areas that need to be addressed
  • Objectives – Outlining what you plan to do to accomplish your goals
  • Interventions – Describing what the clinician will do to help a client reach goals and objectives

Let’s look at each of these in depth.

#1: Problems

After assessing the client to determine social, biological, and social factors that have contributed to their adjustment disorder, problems become the first focus. Priority should be given to which issues are most important to the client and creating the biggest barriers to function “normally” in their lives.

The clinician and client will collaborate to create a problem statement based on this information. The problem statement should be concise and direct. 

An effective adjustment disorder treatment plan will only address a few problems at a time. Trying to solve too many issues at once can make it harder to control the direction and focus of treatment.

Treatment plans should be frequently reevaluated, so new problems can be cycled through as progress is made.

Examples of Treatment Problems

Some examples of problem statements that may be included in an adjustment disorder treatment plan include:

  • I am too overwhelmed to deal with my everyday life.
  • I have trouble sleeping at night.
  • I tend to distance myself from my friends and family.

#2: Goals

The ultimate goal in an adjustment disorder treatment plan is the ability to deal with stress and regulate emotions/behaviors, but there should also be smaller goals set along the way. Goals should be tied to problem statements and contain an explanation of the condition the client wishes to change.

When creating goals for an adjustment disorder treatment plan, make sure they are SMART:

  • Specific – Clear and focused
  • Measurable – Actionable tasks that will have results
  • Attainable – Possible to achieve
  • Relevant – Related to the problem statement and each other
  • Time-bound – Can be met within a realistic timeframe

Examples of Treatment Goals

Some examples of treatment goals that may be included in an adjustment disorder plan include:

  • I want to be able to complete tasks throughout my day.
  • I want to get 7–8 hours of sleep per night.
  • I want to attend monthly social functions with friends and family. 

#3: Objectives

Objectives are clear, specific actions the client will take to help meet their goals. They should be written in measurable language, making it clear when the objectives have been completed.

As a client works toward their goals, their clinician can make regular assessments to see if they’re being met. Completed objectives are steps toward achieving goals.

Examples of Treatment Objectives

Some examples of objectives that may be included in an adjustment disorder treatment plan include:

  • Make a to-do list and check off at least one item per day
  • Attend biweekly counseling sessions with a clinician
  • Contact a friend or family member by phone, text, or email at least once per week

#4: Interventions

Interventions are measurable actions clinicians complete to help the client with their treatment. 

Although prescribed interventions are comparable from one client to the next, they should be highly personalized based on that person’s problems, goals, and objectives. These interventions help provide accountability and direction throughout treatment.

Examples of Treatment Interventions

Some examples of interventions that may be included in an adjustment disorder treatment plan include:

Treatment Plan for Adjustment Disorder Example

Here’s an example of a plan you might see in treatment for adjustment disorder.

Problem: My worry and stress levels are preventing me from caring for myself and my family.

Goal #1: I want to learn to control my behaviors and emotions.

Objective #1: Identify triggers for stress and emotional/behavioral issues.

Date established:                    Targeted completion:                           Date completed:

Objective #2: Identify how stressors and emotional/behavioral issues are affecting daily life.

Date established:                     Targeted completion:                          Date completed:

Objective #3: Write out a support plan.

Date established:                      Targeted completion:                         Date completed:

Interventions: The clinician will help the client identify the biggest stressors they face. The clinician will provide the client with cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help encourage more positive thinking. Interventions will be provided during the client’s therapy sessions.

Frequency: 60 minutes per week

Duration: Six months

Why Tracking the Progress of an Adjustment Disorder Treatment Plan Is Crucial

When a clinician holds a session with a client, they should have a clear system to indicate which part of the treatment plan they’re working on.

Choosing an EMR system that can help execute and keep track of these details is vital. Ritten’s behavioral healthcare tools allow treatment centers to include progress notes, tying active treatment plans into an intuitive workflow.

This lets clinicians easily select the problem, goal, objective, and/or intervention that is the focus of the session. Equally important, it allows comprehensive reporting on how the plan is being implemented into daily treatment. 

One example of this is using progress notes which allow the clinician to put a tag on the note and choose which specific problems, goals, and objectives were worked on in that session to demonstrate how the adjustment disorder treatment plan is coming along.

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