Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

  • Super User

I've been struggling lately with a feeling of dysphoria. Now, dysphoria originates from a greek word, δύσφορος, which means a severe state of not being able to bear with an emotion or situation. After some research, I discovered that a form of dysphoria is a known emotion amongst ADHD, especially adult ADHD, namely Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD).

Dodson ADHD Center is one of the leading researching and ADHD supporting centers in the USA and have found that RSD is so common mongst ADHD that its being included in their diagnostic criteria for ADHD. The question they ask is: emotions

"For your entire life have you always been much more sensitive than other people you know to rejection, teasing, criticism, or your own perception that you have failed or fallen short."

Dodson found that 99% of ADHD patients have responded positively on this question. In the older days, this dysphoria was seen as an a-typical depression - meaning that it does not present itself with typical depression-like mood disorders.

Back to my feeling of Dysphoria: I also thought I'm developing a depression. I've been unhappy lately as I have a perception that everything that has gone wrong, was because of me being ADHD. To the point that I'm tired of being ADHD; tired of always being the reason for all failures, fights, problems etc.

After seeing psychiatrists, it seems as if I do not "tick all the boxes" for depression (a-typical ?!); yet I'm having these emotions of not being able to bear these feelings, which lead me to DSR. It is further known that ADHD kids and adults have a life-long struggle of rejection. As one slogan goes: Known by many, friends of few. Barkley also points out how ADHD'ers are often rejected as soon as the typical ADHD traits are being presented. We're rejected far too many times.

Dodson explains that RSD reacts in 2 ways: depro

  1. those who reacts internally, often resort to being peope pleasers - anything not to be rejected. It can also develop in full-blown depression.
  2. those who reacts externally often resort to an anger outburst or extreme rage towards others. I remember my wife telling people that when I "explode", it feels as if her "life is for moment in danger", which is over and forgotten in a second (while she has to pick up the pieces of the verbal attack).

Apparently there is help in the form of medicine and cognitive behaviour tretment. This will be my further research - I don't have the soluton, but will report as I deal with this "new found" issue.

In the mean time, hold on.....


© 2012-2020 ADHD Forum, All Rights Reserved