Psychiatrist William Dodson created a term specifically for individuals with ADHD. This term is called rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD). RSD pertains to individuals with ADHD due to persons with ADHD tend to be sensitive to rejection, criticism and failure. In addition, a person with RSD may overreact to the smallest things, they may have meltdowns and even become enraged, depressed or suicidal.
There are a number of different rejection sensitive dysphoria symptoms that occur over the long-term. Some include:
-“Some overachieve and people please to avoid criticism, ignoring their own desires and goals.
-Many create self-imposed limitations, avoiding new or challenging situations and relationships.
-A few become cruel and distant to others in order to avoid attachment and risk rejection.”
There are many questions about RSD that are unanswered such as Does rejection sensitive dysphoria without ADHD occur? Is it hereditary or developed? Since there has been a high number of individuals with ADHD who have reported symptoms of RSD, it is more than likely it is both genetic and learned.
Even though having RSD may seem hopeless, there are a number of strategies on how to deal with RSD
-Learn how to deal with your emotions before you have a meltdown. It can be helpful to let go of the guilt, accept your emotions and try to move away from perfectionism. ( I recently wrote a blog post on strategies to deal with emotions https://tinyurl.com/vwzdxa6)
-Get the right diagnoses. Because of my past bouts of depression which showed up many years later after my ADHD diagnosis it didn’t last as long as a diagnosis of major depressive disorder. Dr. Dodson states that the appropriate medications can help lessen the symptoms
-Find a therapist that can assist you to develop strategies to help you cope with your strong emotions. (Although Dodson dismisses therapy.)
-Learn strategies to reduce your overall stress. This is very important when you think you are doing well especially when you take care of yourself physically and mentally. (Check out some strategies that I wrote in my blog on how to deal with stress https://tinyurl.com/wmeso5h )
Have you struggled with sensitivity? What helps and what doesn’t help? Do you think RSD is a helpful term, or is it too specific to those with ADHD?