Do you or someone you love suffer from ADD or ADHD? There are numerous symptoms like hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and trouble learning. But did you know that some psychologists believe that someone with ADD or ADHD can also experience something known as rejection sensitivity dysphoria which makes rejection a lot harder to handle?
People who have ADD or ADHD can become more sensitive to rejection. They call it rejection sensitivity dysphoria. However, the idea is still a little new to the psychology world. Rejection sensitivity dysphoria (RSD) has been used to explain borderline personality patients, but Dr. William Dodson was the first to associate this condition with ADHD.
What It’s Like To Have RSD
People who have ADD or ADHD aren’t weak; they just feel certain things stronger. Imagine for a moment that everytime you enter a door, a small needle is pricked into your finger. Of course, it stings a little, but it isn’t so bad, and you can go about your day. Then when your friend goes through a door, they are met with a bowling ball falling on their head, which makes them decide they just aren’t going to go through doors anymore. It isn’t because they can’t handle the same activities as you, such as going from room to room, it’s because there is a difference in the severity of the consequences.
Rejection sensitivity dysphoria is an extreme emotional sensitivity to the perception of rejection or criticism. The rejection doesn’t even have to be real. This response can also be triggered by feeling like you are falling short of expectations either set by yourself or others.
How RSD Can Affect Everyday Life
If RSD isn’t managed, it can turn into a full-blown mood disorder which can lead to suicidal behavior from internalizing this feeling of lack of self-worth. If the person goes the opposite way and externalizes this feeling, their behavior can be seen as harsh and full of rage. Everyone experiences ADHD different, which may be one reason there are so many possible misdiagnoses.
People with RSD are often misdiagnosed as having a social phobia. While they may not be fearful of the people around them, but the seemingly inevitable rejection and criticism that comes along with social activity. Having RSD can make someone feel that rejection is imminent, leading them to isolate themselves in order to have protection from such extreme negative feelings.
People with ADHD can turn into people pleaser who have no boundaries and don’t know how to say no. They will do almost anything in order to make people happy, even if it costs them their health or sanity. It can also make people close themselves off, not trying anything at all, to avoid the rejection that they are so sure is coming.
Why Does This Happen?
This dysphoria may happen because of a chemical imbalance. Studies show that people who have ADD or ADHD have certain areas in their brain that are smaller than those without ADD or ADHD. Two of the regions of the brain, the amygdala and the hippocampus, are smaller in people who have ADHD. The amygdala is our fear response, which is overactive when it is at a smaller size, and the hippocampus is where our emotions, learning, and memory come from. Though psychologists haven’t discovered exactly why this dysphoria happens, it could be triggered by an overactive fear response and a difference in fear conditioning and memory.
Talk To Your Doctor
If you have ADHD and rejection makes your stomach turn, and you feel like the whole world hates you and you can’t do anything right and you never will, talk to your doctor about it. There is a specific reason you are feeling this way, and the reason isn’t that your thoughts are true. You can do anything, being rejected or criticized doesn’t define your capabilities.
Your doctor can help you cope with these feelings and learning skills to help you accomplish things in life even if you end up getting a big fat “NO.” They may also prescribe you medication to make your emotions less severe. Something like CBD hemp oil may be able to help calm down your mind so that you can tackle anything that comes your way.