A woman with Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

Managing Money with ADHD Trait: Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

By: Tamika Howell, Edited By: Clifton Corbin | December 6, 2022

Research shows that ADHD children receive 20,000 negative messages by age 10. Imagine being told the way you exist is wrong; please change it day in and day out. Like interest, these messages compound into an internal cesspool of shame and guilt for not having “normal” behavior. As a result, one may develop Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. It co-occurs with ADHD as well as other mental health conditions.

"Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is when you experience severe emotional pain because of a failure or feeling rejected."

What Is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects millions of people across the world. It can cause difficulty in managing time, staying organized, and focusing on tasks. As such, it can have serious implications for individuals’ physical and mental well-being and financial consequences.

What Is RSD?

Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is a condition that can affect people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). RSD is characterized by an intense emotional pain and distress that occurs in response to perceived criticism, rejection, or failure. People with RSD often feel like their worth as a person has been attacked and worry about being further rejected or judged. 

This intense reaction often leads to feelings of shame, humiliation, and low self-esteem that can impair functioning in everyday life, including work and family relationships.

Symptoms of RSD include: 

  • increased irritability, 
  • social withdrawal,
  • panic attacks, and 
  • feeling an overwhelming sense of despair. 

The intensity of such emotions can be so strong that it can cause people to avoid situations where they may experience rejection for fear of the extreme emotional discomfort it may bring up.

Money on hand

How Can RSD Affect Your Finances?

RSD is layered and presents itself in several ways. Below are some ways it may present itself financially.

  • Low Self-Esteem: Low self-esteem can translate into being underpaid. When you are unable to recognize your inherent worth and what you have to offer, you may not pursue opportunities to increase your income or net worth.
  • Avoidance: In an attempt to avoid rejection, you may only take risks where there is no chance of failing. So by not asking for a promotion when your workload increases or accepting the compensation offered instead of negotiating.
  • Perfectionism: Being a perfectionist and needing to present an image or outcome that won’t get any criticism may result in missing out on opportunities completely.
  • People Pleasing: People pleasing to be liked and accepted, you may spend time and money on things you don’t want to do.

How to Manage RSD

First, it is important that if you feel like you or someone under your care has RSD; you seek help from your medical health providers. 

With the aid of your doctor, there are several steps people with RSD can take to help manage the condition. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been proven effective in helping individuals recognize the underlying causes of their reactions to criticism and rejections. 

Additionally, relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and journaling can help reduce anxiety levels while increasing self-awareness and acceptance.

To learn more about RSD, visit the Cleveland Clinic site.