Written by Rod McClure JP   
Friday, 31 December 2021 16:53
Sharon Saline Psy .D.

 Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria
How to overcome the pain of criticism and finally feel good enough.
It is Not only People who are diagnosed ADHD and ADD
That are exposed to this rather cruel heightened condition
Of emotional sensitivity to
Forms of or Perceived
Moments of CRITICISM,


  • Rejection sensitivity dysphoria (RSD) is a common modern day psychological condition co-existing with the awakening studies of ADHD.
  • Those with RSD are extremely sensitive to criticism, often holding on to negative words or actions made towards them for months, or even years.
  • An ADHD-RSD combination is difficult to overcome, but some strategies include focusing on one's strengths and practicing self-compassion.

  • Do you ever feel so devastated by the criticism from a friend, teacher, boss, relative, or co-worker that you keep repeating what they said to you over and over? Is it really tough for you to rebound after feeling left out by your friends or saying something you regret?


Youlike many other emerging adults, may struggle with rejection sensitivity dysphoria.(RSD) is a common condition co-existing with ADHD but not a formal diagnostic category.

Rejection sensitivity dysphoria refers to intense feelings related to the belief that you’ve let other people down, embarrassed yourself, failed at something, or made a serious, unfixable mistake and, as a result, people pull back their support, love, or respect. RSD causes extreme emotional pain that plagues both children and adults — even when no actual rejection has taken place.
People with RSD struggle with letting go of past hurts and/or rejections and experience heightened emotional sensitivity. They may hold onto unkind words or actions directed towards them for months or years.

If you have RSD, you just can’t seem to shake off critical comments from others and believe at some level that you deserve them. You think you’ve fallen short and, with your exquisite sensitivity, no matter what anyone else says, you just can’t bounce back. It’s especially tough to recover from personal criticism or rejection.
Because many older teens and adults with ADHD may already experience a feeling of otherness, they often already feel like they are at a disadvantage and often internalize negative voices. Living daily in this one-down position intensifies RSD and exacerbates shame.

Identifying rejection sensitivity dysphoria

Signs of RSD include:

  • Struggle with low self-worth or self-esteem
  • Easily embarrassed or ashamed
  • Quick to anger or blow up when perceiving a rejection or getting hurt by someone
  • Sets high expectations that are difficult to meet
  • Experiences social anxiety and relationship challenges
  • Sees themselves as a failure when they disappoint others
  • May consider self-harming behaviors
  • Anticipate rejection in new situations
In a society that is overly focused on social media where we can compare ourselves to others 24/7, people with ADHD frequently judge themselves and come up short.
With the ADHD-RSD combination, your negative thinking combines with exquisite sensitivity to make it harder to bounce back and stay resilient.

Reducing the effects of rejection sensitivity dysphoria

Here are five tips to help you work with rejection sensitivity and reduce its tumultuous effects, whether you need a little reassurance or you're helping a friend or loved one who is struggling.

1. Reinforce strengths.

What everyone needs to remember is that simply having RSD does not make you a human who is weak or incapable.
You are just wired to feel things more intensely and replay unpleasant interpersonal interactions over and over.

RSD is linked to social insecurity.

A helpful tip is to consistently nurture your strengths and focus as much as possible on what You love to do and what You do well.
Pay attention to your positive efforts:
Write down three good (or good enough) things that happened each day before bed.
This will help you see things from a new perspective and shift from negative self-talk.

2. QTIP — Quit Taking It Personally!

Many older teens and emerging adults with ADHD struggle to separate when a statement is directed specifically at them or when it's something more general.
You take things personally that may not be personal.

Practice taking a pause before responding to a question or answer by saying:
"That's a good question/comment. Let me think about it."
Or ask for some time after an unpleasant interaction by saying:,
“I’ll get back to you about this.” Then you can better assess what's being said.

Remind yourself that other people can say thoughtless or hurtful things sometimes which are more about them than you.
Consider the source of the statement.
Plus you may perceive a rejection that’s not there or is unintentional.
Check things out before coming to a conclusion, maybe by asking a neutral person if they heard what you did.
Emotionally hurt


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Contact us by email above to arrange your appointment.

Don't let the discomfort brew.
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Last Updated on Thursday, 14 July 2022 14:21
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