Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (A Comprehensive Guide)

Nobody in the world like to be rejected from anyone such as the friend circle, family, co-workers, teachers and so on but at the same time, it cannot be avoided by simply ignoring the rejection because it causes emotional pain in an individual that suffers from rejection sensitivity dysphoria while some others can easily tackle the emotional imbalance and recover.

Rejection sensitive dysphoria can affect anyone but it is known that people who suffer from ADHD and autism have a higher tendency to suffer from it.

Individual instinctive abilities play an important part in order to get rid of the pain of rejection sensitivity dysphorias such as social support, self-esteem, and ability to show resilience.

Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is a condition in which a suffering individual experiences the loss of balance in emotions and the feeling of pain when he receives the rejection or negative comments from the close people in his/her life.

It may also provide the foundation of being mentally deteriorated and unable to achieve the approval from others, also the inability to meet the expectations of their family and friend circle.

In this article, we will discuss rejection sensitive dysphoria. 

The word “Dysphoria” is derived from Greek language underlying the meaning of “difficult to bear” the people with the problem of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) often affected extremely from the negative emotional response by their close friends and family members as compared to those who are not suffering from such disorders.

Although, it is quite clear that nobody like to feel the rejection from anyone in their surroundings, face negative comments and experience the failure people who are suffering from rejection sensitivity dysphoria feel these life experience as more severe, harmful, limiting them and unbearable as compared to the normal individual

People with rejection sensitivity dysphoria (RSD) often assume rejection as internal inferiority or weakness in an individual which makes them emotionally unstable and triggers a period of mood disorder in which suicidal thoughts are also involved.

Rejection sensitivity causes a rapid change in a person’s condition from a normal healthy person with balanced emotions to a depressed and mentally unhealthy person.

However, sometimes the abrupt transfer of individual personality mistakenly considered cycling mood disorder but in reality, it is the direct effect of rejection sensitivity dysphoria. 

Often physicians take some time to understand the relation between the sudden transfers of individual personality because it is quite complex to understand the basic foundation of sudden emotional fluctuation is due to the rejection of sensitive dysphoria and ADHD rather than the elements that can be seen easily on the surface.

Rejection sensitive dysphoria is considered as the symptom directly connected with the adults suffering from ADHD.  

If the condition of rejection sensitive dysphoria is considered as caused by the external factor rather than internalizing the inferiority such as if an individual considers the external environment as a cause of rejection he may seem as remarkable, filled with anger for the person or the condition that is actually responsible for giving him such pain.

The people who are suggested by the court for anger management 50% among them have never been diagnosed with ADHD.

Sometimes people are unable to find the exact words to describe their pain that’s why rejection sensitivity is difficult to separate while describing a rejected person.

People often describe their pain as having anxious, distress, severe, and devastating feelings.

Rejection sensitive dysphoria usually triggers after receiving the rejection from loved ones or unable to fulfill the desired needs of approval and respect from others.

Signs of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

The most common symptoms of rejection sensitivity dysphoria is an intense response to a real or anticipated feeling of rejection.

It includes the feeling of sadness, distress, irritation, disappointment, and loss of self-worth.

It may serve as a foundation of the behaviors described below such as

  • An extreme emotional reaction such as violent behavior and aggressive outbursts
  • Continuous feeling of sadness and hopelessness
  • Having a permanent belief that they are the reason for this rejection and they are not capable enough to be loved and admired
  • The feeling of guilt, remorse, and humiliation

People who suffer from rejection sensitive dysphoria faced difficulty to move on in their actual life rather than stuck on that point of life where they faced rejection by a loved one.

Some people are stuck between the thoughts of rejection.

They imagine the situation and think about it day and night when they face rejection and try to find out their faults that cause rejection. All of these behaviors lead to physical discomfort.

Some people drop their level of self-esteem after facing rejection by their loved ones and feel frustrated in front of their emotional instability.

Rejection sensitive dysphoria is not only caused by the actual situation of rejection from a friend circle or loved ones but the feeling of Rejection sensitive dysphoria also develops after some behavior by their loved ones that they consider as rejection.

Consider the example of a friend circle in which every person teases and makes fun of others in a friendly way but people with Rejection sensitive dysphoria consider these behaviors as a rejection and start to assume that their friends may hate him/her and don’t like to be with them.

Adults with ADHD usually have the ability to anticipate ignorance especially when there is some suspect.

It also helps them to become attentive in their relationships.

This situation sometimes misinterprets while making the diagnoses and consider as social phobia (extreme fear of social situations in which individuals have a feeling that he/she may behave in an inappropriate way and give a chance to others to make fun or criticize him/her.

That’s why individuals prefer to avoid social situations). 

Social anxiety and Rejection sensitive dysphoria sometimes overlap but the difference between them is that social anxiety takes place before the incident and related to the future anticipation.

But people with Rejection sensitive dysphoria do not feel distressed or weak while interacting with others.

They may seem confident in their interaction but feel rejected by any negative comments and criticism passed by their friend.

Techniques that don’t actually work

People suffering from ADHD always tackle the emotional disturbance caused by the rejection of sensitive dysphoria by using the two main ways which are described below.

1.      They turn into people pleasers. To deal with the rejection of sensitive dysphoria they usually start to examine the wishes and admirations of others such as the people included in family and friend circle after that they make a false image about themselves and present themselves in front of others in a way that fulfills others wishes and dreams.

They do such things because they forget to take a stand for themselves and forget their purpose of life and also focus their attention on pleasing and approving others.

2.      They discontinue their attempts. People usually prefer to don’t attempt to do those things in front of others that they have never experienced before and having the risk of failure because it causes embarrassment if they fail.

This kind of people avoid all those activities that include the risk, pain for making the effort, and provoke anxiety they usually prefer to stay behind rather than trying something new such as a stay in their comfort zone i.e. never apply for the new job although the new job offers handsome salary, afraid in speaking publicly either its related to socially or professionally.

Although some people don’t perceive rejection sensitivity dysphoria as a barrier or the weakness for themselves rather than they prefer to work hard for their goal and consider rejection sensitivity dysphoria as the opportunity to review themselves and work hard for their goal also spend a successful life.

Treatment for Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria

There is no doubt that any kind of rejection hurts a human being but people forget to understand that it is not a permanent situation or the end of their life.

It can easily be handled at that moment when you feel it by simply talking with their friends and colleagues about the reason for such ignorant behaviors.

The explicit conversation is usually considered the best way to tackle the emotional fluctuation if it is caused by rejection or just a misunderstanding at your side.

Rejection sensitive dysphoria can be considered as a measure for ADHD. Although it has a neurological and genetic basis, every trauma in life either related to childhood or adult conflicts makes it worse day by day.

The environmental conditions are not responsible for rejection sensitivity dysphoria.

When patients come to know that they can name their feeling or what kind of feeling it is and they are not alone in this word with their feeling rather than, many other people also experienced the same thing in their life too, they feel comfortable and relaxed.

It is also observed that all the people who suffer from ADHD also experience rejection sensitivity dysphoria.

After gaining the proper knowledge and understanding about their feelings they feel relaxed because they know they don’t have any fault in this situation also they are not alone in this world.

Apparently psychotherapy cannot be used while treating the people suffer from rejection sensitivity dysphoria because the emotional imbalance may fluctuate abruptly during the procedure of therapy and over the mind and all sense also it is quite difficult for a person to return to its normal condition after an episode of rejection sensitivity dysphoria

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) off-label are clinically used to treat the rejection sensitivity dysphoria because it has different qualities such as it directly affects the symptoms of attention and hyperactivity in people suffering from ADHD and also for the emotional imbalance. 

If you are looking for an alternative, review The Best Strains for ADHD and Anxiety.

FAQ about rejection sensitive dysphoria 

What does rejection sensitive dysphoria feel like?

Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is a condition in which a suffering individual experiences the loss of balance in emotions and the feeling of pain when he receives the rejection or negative comments from the close people in his/her life.

It may also provide the foundation of being mentally deteriorated and unable to achieve the approval from others, also the inability to meet the expectations of their family and friend circle.

Do I have rejection sensitive dysphoria?

People who experienced Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) often feel embarrassment on very little issues, easily get aggressive, and have emotional fluctuations when they feel that someone rejects or hurt them.

They set extremely high standards for themselves that cannot be met easily.

Can you have RSD without ADHD?

It is not necessary that an individual who suffers from ADHD also experiences Rejection sensitive dysphoria but it can be said that both conditions are somehow associated with each other and increase the risk of Rejection sensitive dysphoria.


Additude. (2010). How ADHD Ignites Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. Retrieved from