Rejection is painful, whether it’s from a lover, boss, relative, even friend.  Besides feeling like a loser, rejection sends you down the rabbit hole of self-doubt. But although everyone faces rejection, it can awaken extreme emotional responses in some people.

The extreme emotion sensitivity is sometimes labeled rejection-sensitive dysphoria.

So, what is rejection-sensitive dysphoria?

Dysphoria originates from the Greek word hard to bear. As such, criticism, whether real or imagined, is overwhelming for people with rejection-sensitive dysphoria.

Rejection-sensitive dysphoria could also be a result of falling short of your expectations.

Furthermore, rejection early in life can cause rejection-sensitive dysphoria. You’re more susceptible to this condition if you were constantly reprimanded by your parents as a child or bullied at school.

ADHD and rejection-sensitive dysphoria are closely related- Click the button below to get your ADHD symptoms treated.

Likewise, rejection-sensitive dysphoria could be genetic. You’re more likely to suffer from this condition if your parents or close relatives have it. Although rejection-sensitive dysphoria can affect anyone, ADHD and rejection-sensitive dysphoria often go hand in hand.

ADHD Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria Connection

Rejection-sensitive dysphoria is the only emotional condition linked to ADHD. This is according to mental health expert Dr. William Dodson. Dr. Dodson suggests that early ADHD studies overlooked how ADHD ignites rejection-sensitive dysphoria [1*] because most ADHD patients suppressed their rejection responses.

Moreover, there was no scale to measure rejection. ADHD patients deal with rejection in different ways. For some, the pain from ADHD rejection-sensitive dysphoria might propel them to overachieve. It’s not uncommon for ADHD rejection-sensitive dysphoria patients to chase idealized perfection.

On the other hand, some people stop trying altogether. Some ADHD patients might avoid dating, speaking in public, and applying for jobs to escape anxiety triggers.

Another typical response is trying too hard to fit in. ADHD patients may hide parts of them they consider undesirable to get other people’s approval. Public perceptions could also explain why is an ADHD person may be experiencing rejection-sensitive dysphoria.

The stigma associated with ADHD could make patients more sensitive to future rejection episodes. Because stimuli trigger the nervous system differently, people with ADHD could be more vulnerable to rejection-sensitive dysphoria.

The connection between RSD and ADHD could also be a result of impulsive behavior in ADHD patients. By responding inappropriately to rejection, ADHD patients invite more rejection.

ADHD Rejection-sensitive Dysphoria Signs

Signs of ADHD Rejection-sensitive Dysphoria

Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria Symptoms

Because the condition isn’t listed in the DSM–5, a professional rejection-sensitive dysphoria diagnosis [2*] isn’t always possible.  

You may need to see a mental health expert for further evaluation. In addition to assessing your emotional symptoms, your therapist might explore your family history and past ADHD diagnoses to understand your condition.

Here are some symptoms of RSD:

  • Self-harm episodes
  • Low self-confidence
  • Fear of failure
  • Anxiety
  • Validation addiction
  • Getting easily embarrassed
  • Frequent feelings of hopelessness

Get professional help to overcome the symptoms of ADHD– Click below.

Note that rejection-sensitive dysphoria symptoms also occur in patients of:

But unlike other mental conditions, rejection-sensitive dysphoria symptoms are brief and mostly arise from emotional triggers instead of actual events.

How to Treat RSD and ADHD?

Because of the ADHD rejection-sensitive dysphoria connection, doctors might deal with underlying conditions first. But because these conditions don’t have cures, medical professionals address related symptoms, for example, depression and hyperactivity. 

ADHD Rejection-sensitive Dysphoria Treatment

Strategies for People With ADHD Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria

Here’s how to treat RSD and ADHD:

  • Medication

The doctor might prescribe clonidine and guanfacine to soothe rejection-sensitive dysphoria symptoms and regulate blood pressure.

MAOIs such as tranylcypromine also manage:

Note that these drugs could present side effects like:

As such, inform your doctor of preexisting conditions and ongoing medications in advance.

  • Therapy

Because rejection-sensitive dysphoria episodes are sudden and brief, your therapist won’t always be around to treat the symptoms as they occur. However, they could recommend coping strategies and how to handle rejection positively.

Therapists can also help ADHD patients develop a schedule, complete tasks, and create and maintain relationships.

  • Support

ADHD and rejection-sensitive dysphoria patients could use some external help to cope with these conditions. For starters, parents and teachers can create a schedule for their kids to help them with tasks.

Caregivers can also introduce rules to make their children’s lives predictable. But don’t be too hard on your kids: congratulating them for accomplishing tasks boosts their self-esteem. 

  • Lifestyle Changes

Although you could use external help, you also play a role in ADHD rejection-sensitive dysphoria recovery.

First off, eat healthy, sleep enough, and work out to keep stress at bay. Deep breathing, meditation, and massages also calm your mind. Additionally, alarms, reminders, and planners come in handy to organize your schedule. 

Our professionals can guide you about the most suitable ADHD treatment option– Click the button below to schedule your appointment.

Is Your ADHD Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria Out of Control?

Because everyone has their bad days, occasional emotional outbursts don’t mean you should see a doctor. However, it’s time to seek professional help if you struggle with overwhelming rage and panic whenever you’re rejected.

Contact us at EZCare Clinic for specialized mental, physical, and sexual healthcare and to learn more about the causes of ESD and ADHD combined. You can book an appointment online.


+2 sources
  1. Emotional Regulation
    Source link
  2. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR)
    Source link


Book Your Appointment Today!

Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.