Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD)

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD)

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) is a condition that affects many individuals with ADHD, but it is not well-known or well-understood. In this blog post, we will explore what RSD is, its symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

What is Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria?

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is a heightened emotional sensitivity to perceived criticism, rejection, or failure. People with RSD experience intense emotional pain and distress when they feel rejected or criticized, and the emotional response can be out of proportion to the perceived offense. These feelings can be overwhelming and debilitating, and they can interfere with daily life.

Symptoms of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

The symptoms of RSD can vary from person to person, but common symptoms include:

  • Intense emotional pain or distress in response to perceived criticism, rejection, or failure
  • Fear of rejection or criticism that leads to avoidance of social situations or tasks
  • Heightened sensitivity to rejection or criticism, even in minor or ambiguous situations
  • Difficulty managing emotions, such as anger or sadness
  • Low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness

Causes of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

The exact causes of RSD are not yet fully understood. However, researchers believe that the condition may be linked to the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is involved in the reward system of the brain. Individuals with ADHD may have lower levels of dopamine, which can lead to difficulties in regulating emotions and responding to perceived threats.

Treatment Options for Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

There is no specific medication or therapy designed specifically for RSD, but there are several treatment options that can be effective in managing the symptoms of the condition.

  1. Therapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective in helping individuals with RSD develop coping mechanisms and strategies to manage their emotions.
  2. Medication: Some medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and dopamine agonists, may be helpful in managing the symptoms of RSD.
  3. Mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness meditation can help individuals with RSD develop awareness of their emotions and learn to regulate them in a healthier way.
  4. Exercise: Regular exercise can help improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which are often associated with RSD.

Self-care: Practicing self-care, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities that bring joy, can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.



In conclusion, Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is a condition that can be debilitating for individuals with ADHD. The symptoms of RSD can be managed with a combination of therapy, medication, mindfulness meditation, exercise, and self-care. If you believe you may be experiencing RSD, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional to develop an effective treatment plan. With the right support, individuals with RSD can learn to manage their emotions and lead fulfilling lives.

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