Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) is the intense fear of criticism and rejection experienced by most individuals with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It can make receiving criticism incredibly painful and cause individuals with RSD to avoid risks, feel stuck, or become so bogged down by fear and indecision that they struggle to show up for themselves and others. This can result in missed promotions or job opportunities and poor work-life balance. Despite its prevalence with ADHD, RSD is often overlooked in the field of mental health. So while it may take time to find the right treatment for Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria in Columbus, Ohio, the research shows that RSD and ADHD respond effectively to intervention.
Many experts agree RSD has to do with the unique brain structure of an ADHD individual. ADHD brains struggle to regulate the messages they receive and can easily jump to conclusions, becoming hyper-alert to the possibility of emotional pain. Once the ADHD brain latches onto an emotion, it can feel impossible to compartmentalize how one feels.
Many ADHD individuals know a thing or two about criticism. Particularly due to unintended mistakes or negative feedback. ADHD individuals are usually very hard-working and have the best of intentions. However, by the time an ADHDer reaches adulthood, they have felt blindsided by negative feedback. They’ve been worn down by phrases like, “You can focus when you are motivated,” or “You can do anything you put your mind to,” or the ever-popular “You’re not living up to your potential.”
Essentially, the fear of more criticism activates a sort of fight/flight/freeze response. However, what is unique to ADHD is the mind’s difficulty regulating those feelings.
What is the Difference Between Being Sensitive and Having RSD?
Sensitivity is a strength seen in highly sensitive people or just anyone in touch with their emotions. However, unlike RSD, being sensitive in the absence of ADHD often doesn’t result in hours and hours of rumination that impacts a person’s daily life.
Implicit in RSD is avoidance of tasks that provoke insecurity or fear of failure. Procrastinating on tasks can end up piling up and creating a sense of overwhelm. Ultimately, procrastination leads to cycles of overworking because the ADHD individual feels the need to “make up” for missed deadlines.
If someone fears rejection, they often also fear direct communication and assertiveness. This might lead to the avoidance of individuals an ADHD person finds intimidating. However, this behavior can also cause a lack of positive visibility that leads to promotions and other opportunities.
Difficulty Asking for Help
Every major CEO will attest to the need for connection and support in order to grow. No matter the position, be it entry-level or mid-management, learning from others is a way to fast pass success. However, RSD often causes individuals to isolate, which can ultimately impact performance overall.
Sometimes the fear of criticism results in saying yes to everything. This results in a tangled web of missed deadlines and a chronic sense of guilt and shame.
Treatment for RSD is based on evidence-based tools for emotional regulation and finding healthy ways to cope with RSD. For example, mindfulness for RSD is shown to be highly effective. Mindfulness is a particular form of meditation that a person uses to tune into their emotions without judgment. In addition, a person experiencing RSD benefits from emotional processing therapies to better understand the root causes of feelings and be able to untangle the mess. Treatment for RSD also includes learning more about triggers and using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to recondition negative self-talk and fear responses.
At the end of the day, no two ADHD brains are alike. In fact, ADHD adults will often report feeling misunderstood, while struggling to find the words to describe how they feel. Due to the uniqueness of ADHD, effective treatment for RSD must take an individualized treatment approach. With the right tools, RSD doesn’t have to hold anyone back from meeting their potential.
Begin Adult ADHD Treatment in Columbus, Ohio
You don’t have to live your life feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and stuck. ADHD-focused counseling can help you feel more present. Our Columbus, OH counseling practice in Columbus, Ohio has caring therapists who specialize in ADHD Treatment. To start your counseling journey, follow these simple steps:
- Fill out the contact form to schedule a free 15-minute phone
- Meet with one of our caring therapists.
- Stop feeling stuck. Start moving forward.
Other ADHD Services Offered at Focused Mind ADHD Counseling
Adult ADHD treatment is not the only service we offer at our Columbus, OH counseling practice. At Focused Mind ADHD Counseling, we offer a variety of mental health services including ADHD testing. As an adult with ADHD, we know you may also benefit from anxiety treatment for ADHD, counseling for men with ADHD, or depression counseling for ADHD. You can also view our blog for more resources and helpful info!