Let’s face it, rejection is a difficult pill to swallow — be it in inter-personal relationships, in social situations or in workplaces. It’s not a nice feeling and no one wants to be rejected. But some people get more affected by it than others. To them, it comes with a host of other feelings, including humiliation. These people are extra sensitive and the intensity with which they feel it, is like no other.
As unnerving as this is, there is a legitimate reason why some people are not able to shake off the feeling. The term for it is: rejection sensitive dysphoria or RSD, which is characterised by extreme emotional turmoil. While anyone can be affected by it, experts believe RSD mostly affects those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism.
What causes it?
The exact cause is still unknown, or not fully understood. It can be caused by multiple factors. Experts believe that this condition can have something to do with a person’s history, including early neglect. Having a parent who was/is overly critical can have an impact, too. A low self esteem due to constant bullying, rejection in a romantic relationship can all be contributing factors.
It is also believed that genetics can be at play. So, if you have a parent or an immediate relative who has RSD, you can develop it, too.
The connection with ADHD
It’s not a given that a person with ADHD will eventually develop RSD; but they are more at risk. That is because a person with ADHD has difficulty paying attention. They can get restless, impulsive, and hypersensitive.
The symptoms of RSD can be difficult to identify, because they resemble those of other mental health conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, social phobia, etc. Typically, your doctor may try to assess your situation by finding out if you feel intense rage when you are criticized or rejected, an aggression towards someone who hurts your feelings, an assumption that no one likes you, the need to be a people pleaser.
After diagnosis, your doctor may suggest different treatment methods including medication and lifestyle changes. Getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can all be a part of the treatment.