Health Facts

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Nobody likes being rejected, whether it is by a crush, classmates, family, or workplace. It might be painful, but it is an unavoidable part of Life.

Some people can readily overcome Rejection. For others, this sensation might elicit a flood of emotions.

This is frequently referred to as rejection-sensitive dysphoria, or RSD, among very overwhelmed persons. It is distinguished by high emotional sensitivity to criticism or Rejection, whether genuine or perceived.

Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is a disorder that causes excessive emotional sensitivity and pain due to either real or perceived rejections, teasing, or criticism. In this article, you will learn what it is: Rejection sensitive dysphoria, its causes, its symptoms, and how to treat the disorder. 

Read Also: Can stress cause vertigo?

What is rejection-sensitive dysphoria?


When a person experiences rejection-sensitive dysphoria (RSD), they endure significant emotional distress.  

When someone has rejection-sensitive dysphoria, people have an intense or excessive emotional response to criticism or Rejection. It might be a learned emotional reaction or a hereditary predisposition.

What is the cause of rejection-sensitive dysphoria?

Rejection sensitive dysphoria patients are more sensitive to Rejection and are readily triggered by particular conditions. Yet, the precise explanation for this is unclear.

It is believed that it’s caused by a combination of causes rather than a single element.

One suspected cause of RSD is a history of Rejection or neglect in childhood. It can result from being raised by a parent who was too critical or inattentive, which influences how these people perceive themselves.

Some people have poorer self-esteem and an overwhelming fear of Rejection and loss in their relationships due to this parental connection.

Several factors also contribute to rejection sensitivity. For instance, being taunted or bullied by classmates and, alternatively, being criticized or rejected by a partner.

Also Read: 8 Supplements & Vitamins for Stress Relief

How does rejection-sensitive dysphoria affect your Life?

Individuals with the condition may work hard to get everyone’s approval and admiration. Alternatively, they may give up and avoid any circumstance in which they may be hurt. This social withdrawal might resemble social phobia, a severe fear of being publicly disgraced.

RSD can impact relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners. The feeling that you are being rejected might become self-fulfilling. When you change your behavior towards the person who believes has rejected you, they may reject you for real.

What are the signs of rejection-sensitive dysphoria?

The primary symptom of RSD is extreme emotional distress. Such pain is frequently brought on by Rejection or condemnation. Yet, because RSD is so strong and unlike most other types of pain, persons with it typically have trouble explaining how it feels (emotional or otherwise).

RSD patients frequently exhibit the following characteristics and behaviors:

  • They can easily get embarrassed or self-conscious.
  • They have poor self-esteem and difficulty believing in themselves.
  • When they are rejected, they have difficulty controlling their emotions. This is common in children and teens with this illness.
  • Some people may respond with outbursts of hatred or anger, whereas other people might burst into tears.
  • So instead of openly losing control of their emotions, some persons with RSD may shift their sentiments within.
  • It might appear to be a sudden onset of severe depression, and it is frequently confused with the abrupt mood fluctuations that can occur with bipolar illness or borderline personality disorder.
  • People cant able accept the judgment of others.
  • They may only begin undertakings, jobs, or goals when failure is possible.
  • They do their hardest or strive for perfection to mitigate the fear of failure or Rejection.
  • The disadvantage is that they frequently suffer tremendous anxiety and may struggle to prioritize self-care or downtime.

What is the treatment for rejection-sensitive dysphoria?

Since this has been linked to autism and ADHD, the doctor may advise you to address any underlying condition first.

These disorders do not have a solution. But, medicine can help alleviate related symptoms including hyperactivity and sadness.

Cognitive behavioral therapy.

A cognitive behavior therapy intervention can also aid in the reduction of hypersensitivity. This can help people manage and deal with Rejection and criticism. As a result, the doctor will most likely recommend psychotherapy.

This is a typical approach to assisting patients with rejection sensitivity distress.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one sort of successful psychotherapy (CBT). This is a talk therapy in which coping skills are taught.

You’ll be trained to deal with difficult situations, settle interpersonal issues, enhance communication, and recover from emotional trauma or abuse.


In addition to therapy, the physician might recommend medication to alleviate symptoms. There are no FDA-approved drugs for RSD; however, some may be administered for other illnesses or off-label.

Guanfacine is a popular Rejection sensitive dysphoria treatment. It is often used to treat high blood pressure but also interacts with brain receptors, lowering hyperactivity and emotional reactions.

No drugs are specifically licensed to treat RSD because it is not an officially recognized medical condition. Instead, healthcare practitioners engage in “off-label prescription.”

Off-label prescription occurs when a healthcare professional prescribes a drug for a condition other than the one it is officially authorized for. When research reveals that medicine has a low risk, this type of prescribing is safe, medically appropriate, and justifiable.

Lifestyle changes.

You can still do a few things for yourself, in addition to therapy, to assist in regulating your emotional reaction to Rejection and criticism. It may assist, for example, in maintaining the feelings under control. Work very hard to realize that what you see as Rejection or criticism might not be true.

Naturally, it can be difficult to suppress hurting sentiments. Nevertheless, try to remain cool instead of exploding when you are ignored.

Also, it helps to lessen the general stress level, making you feel more relaxed and at peace. This makes it simpler to maintain emotional control.

  • Exercising regularly.
  • Eating a well-balanced diet.
  • Getting enough sleep.

Read Also: 6 Healthy Ways to Beat Stress- Backed By Science!

What are the ways to manage rejection-sensitive dysphoria?

Individuals with RSD can build skills and techniques for emotional processing through treatment or support groups. Among the possible solutions are:

Education: Knowing that a person has RSD may assist individuals to put their feelings into reality. Educating more about the condition may improve understanding of how to process information.

Delayed responses: Responding immediately to Rejection or other unfavorable events is unnecessary. Individuals with RSD might be impulsive at times. Pausing how to reply may assist in preventing possible disputes.

Talking about rejection sensitivity: People might inform their friends, family, and other loved ones about their RSD. While communicating, this understanding may help individuals select their words and replies more carefully.

Choosing the right relationship: Some relationships, particularly those with abusive or judgmental people, may cause RSD. Individuals in extremely abusive relationships must consider moving if they can. Couple counseling may be beneficial for those who have extremely critical partners.

Read Also: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Everything You Should Know


Rejection-sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is a condition that impairs the capacity to control the emotional reactions to emotions of failure and Rejection. While Rejection is usually always uncomfortable, persons with RSD suffer from extreme emotional pain. 

It can result in long-term mental health concerns, fear of failure, and behavioral changes that harm their lives.

While Rejection sensitive dysphoria is not an officially recognized medical disorder, there is increasing evidence and knowledge of how it operates. 

It is also possible for healthcare practitioners to treat it with therapies and procedures that have previously been used to address comparable or related disorders. 

If symptoms are not treated, they may worsen. Talk to a mental health professional if you have extreme or overwhelming emotional reactions to Rejection, hurt emotions, or criticism.

Garima Yadav

Garima Yadav (Health journalist) - Garima Yadav is a health journalist focusing on food, fitness, beauty, and personal health trends. She has roughly 10-years of experience in the Health & wellness business and is linked to renowned specialists and physicians to deliver reliable information to our readers. She delivers blogs and private practice dedicated to being reviewed by health specialists at credihealth. Education : Ph.D. or MFA in English from a prestigious university in India B.Sc in Biology

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