Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve learned a lot about ADHD/ADD, how it affects us, how it affects our lives, the good, the bad, just to name a few things.

In this post, I’m going to discuss a topic that I’ve never written about before. A topic that I’ve heard of here and there over time, but never looked into or anything like that. Something that many with ADHD/ADD experience.

And that is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria.

What is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD)?

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) is the extreme discomfort and pain that will be triggered to being rejected or receiving criticism from someone close to the individual. It is also the fear of failing, being a failure, or not meeting our own or someone else’s standards. These emotions/thoughts may be real or imagined.

For thiose who suffer with RSD, it can be easy to misinterpreted a gesture or remark.

RSD can be seen in many people with ADHD/ADD, although not all.

Symptoms of RSD

There are some symptoms and signs that are associated with RSD. Some of them are:

  • low self-esteem
  • avoidance of social setting
  • fear of failure
  • high expectations/standards for oneself
  • avoid to try new things for fear that they won’t be any good at it
  • trying to please others to avoid being criticized
  • being shy

For those who struggle with RSD, these are just some of the things that they go through, feelings that they have, and such.

Can it be managed?

There are definitely ways to help those with RSD to manage their feelings and symptoms.

One way that may help is talking to a professional. A therapist or a doctor, for instance. Sometimes, talking to a professional may be able to help us become more aware of our symptoms, triggers, and such. It’s not easy to ask for help, but in this case, may be helpful. There’s nothing wrong with asking for some help and support.

Becoming aware of situations where we may be criticized may help us become more aware of our triggers. Obviously, the emotions won’t completely go away, but becoming aware of triggers and such may at least help manage the emotions as they arise.

There also are some medication that may help those who suffer from RSD.

Final Remarks

At the end of the day, we all receive rejection and criticism. The thing to keep in mind is that those with ADHD/ADD do receive more negative comments and criticisms that those with out and they also feel emotions more deeply. We do struggle with some emotional intensity.

So, as much as no one enjoys rejection and such and have negative feelings as a result, those with ADHD/ADD experience it quite differently.

Picture credit: Pexels

Author :


  • I love reading your blog. I learn a lot every time I read it. I also suffer from low self-esteem.

    • I’m glad that you enjoy it. I’m sorry that you suffer from low self-esteem.

  • Thank you for writing about this! I have ADHD too (recently diagnosed) and I definitely struggle with RSD. IT’s a daily battle to manage my emotions because of it! It’s good to hear from the POV of someone else who has the same issue.

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