Could Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria be Impacting My Relationships? A Therapist in Columbus Answers!

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When Daniel first was first diagnosed with ADHD by a therapist in Columbus and began his journey, he began to realize ADHD impacted his life in more ways than one. On the surface, he noted the common struggles with procrastination, forgetfulness, and “oversharing.” However, once the late-night rabbit holes of research began, he noticed that almost every article he found online mentioned a term he had not yet heard about: Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria was a shared experience of ADHD adults who feel an ongoing and intense fear of criticism. “Wait, it’s possible for a person to be wired for rejection sensitivity?” He was in shock. It didn’t take long before he began to wonder if Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria could impact his relationships.

As Daniel began to look into Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, he discovered more about ADHD and emotions. As it turns out, RSD is one manifestation of emotional dysregulation. He learned that since the 1960s, emotional regulation issues have been a part of the ADHD conversation. In a 2019 article published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, a prominent physician explained that emotional dysregulation was so prominent as to call it a major symptom of ADHD. Suddenly, a lot came into focus.

Daniel had always felt that he was sensitive to criticism and negative feedback. As he learned more about the experience of others with RSD, he discovered that many people describe it as a wound. However, the severity of the wound for Daniel never felt like it lined up with the situation. For example, he often got into his head that others were disappointed with him, which would cause him to be up late at night tossing and turning.

Daniel felt like a scientist making a major breakthrough, and the questions about RSD poured out of his head and into his search engine for answers.

A Therapist in Columbus Answers:

What Triggers RSD?
An image of a man looking away from a woman, as they are frustrated with each other. A therapist in Columbus, Ohio can help you address feelings such as these. call today

Any number of real or perceived slights triggers RSD:

  • Criticism
  • Being left out of a conversation or situation
  • A loved one not responding either in person or through texts
  • Situations that involve risk or the threat of failure
  • One’s own negative self-talk

What does RSD feel like?

Dysphoria literally translates into the Greek word: “unbearable.” This means it causes one to feel such intense emotions that they simply don’t know how to cope. Many folks use words like “horrifying,” “panicked,” and “miserable” regarding those moments when they fear criticism or rejection.

What does Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria look like?

The shutdown.

Many folks with RSD shut down. This can be during an argument or even out of the blue. Remember, RSD isn’t often based on facts or logic. It has to do with the anticipation of criticism or rejection. So one could be going about their day with their spouse and fear that their wife is upset with them, causing them to drop out of the conversation and shut down.

The lash out.

The alternative to the shutdown is often the lash out. Going from “zero to 90,” so to speak, is another way ADHD impacts the expression of emotions. This is because there is no “pause button” for many ADHDers, causing them to express big feelings quickly. Often shame, guilt, and fear, can be expressed as anger.

An image of a couple looking off in the distance representing the closeness you could feel with your partner. Get help with your rejection sensitive disorder today with a therapist in Ohio. Playing defense.

All people defend themselves when feeling threatened. However, if the ADHD partner feels like they’re in a more dangerous situation than they actually are, they may be investing too much energy in defense. The cycle of defense often causes the non-ADHD partner to then play defense. However, the initial trigger might have been the overestimation of fear experienced by the ADHD partner.

A Therapist From Columbus Answers: How do you Treat RSD?  

This is one area that isn’t usually improved by medication. The benefits of talk therapy are clear when it comes to overcoming RSD. More specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy is a cutting-edge and modern approach to untangling one’s thoughts and feelings. You can gain control over your mind by learning more tools to untangle thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. When combined with working with an ADHD specialist who can also help you feel seen and heard while supporting your ability to build structure and confidence, calming the intensity of Rejection Sensitive dysphoria is possible.Photo of a couple attending online therapy with a therapist in Columbus, Ohio who specializes in rejection sensitive disorder. You can get help too!

Once Daniel finally decided to take action on managing RSD, he developed the confidence to take risks and communicate better with others. Finally, feeling more comfortable in his own skin, he was amazed at how much extra time he had to get things done when he wasn’t so worked up about his social interactions.

Overcome Rejection Sensitivity with a Therapist in Columbus, OH

You don’t have to live afraid of rejection or negative feedback. ADHD treatment focusing on RSD can help you find real understanding and solutions. Our Columbus, OH-based counseling practice has caring adult ADHD specialists. To start your journey with one of our adult ADHD specialists, follow these simple steps:

Other ADHD Services Offered at Focused Mind ADHD Counseling

We offer various mental health services beyond adult ADHD treatment at our Columbus, OH, counseling practice. As an adult with ADHD, Focused Mind ADHD Counseling understands you may also benefit from anxiety treatment for ADHD, counseling for men with ADHD, adult ADHD testing, or depression counseling for ADHD. You can also view our blog for more resources and helpful info. We look forward to connecting with you!