Freedom Friday: Rejection-sensitive dysphoria and ADHD
One of the key ingredients to becoming independent and self sufficient is acquiring information, knowledge and resources. The key ingredient is doing something with the information, knowledge, and resources you have acquired; so that you not only gain information and knowledge, but you improve your quality of life. So today’s Freedom Friday not only gives you information on rejection-sensitive dysphoria and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), but if you do something with this information, you can increase your independence, as well as your overall well-being.
Although attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can’t be cured, it can be easier to manage if you understand ADHD and how individuals with ADHD process emotions. When individuals with ADHD are asked “have you always been more sensitive than others to rejection, teasing, criticism, or your own perception that you have failed or fallen short?” most say Yes! The technical term and definition for this is “rejection-sensitive dysphoria.” The term “dysphoria” means “difficult to bear.” The emotional response to the perception of failure becomes catastrophic (difficult to bear) for those with ADHD and rejection-sensitive dysphoria; they report that they “can hardly stand it.” It is the constant vulnerability to being “wounded” by anyone at any moment that continues to throw them into a tailspin without warning and then disrupt their lives for days with obsessive worry about “what did I do to make them hate me so much?” It does not even have to be real rejection or criticism (although that is common enough in the lives of people with unrecognized and untreated ADHD and rejection-sensitive dysphoria). Perceived criticism and withdrawal of love and respect is just as devastating as the real thing. Rejection-sensitive dysphoria can also be externalized. This usually takes the form of a rage at the person or situation that wounded them so severely. Luckily, this period of rage is usually expressed verbally instead of physically and passes relatively quickly. Often, people are unaware of how severely this condition affects their lives until they start to receive treatment for it, causing their perception of the world to radically shift.
If the symptoms of ADHD are still getting in the way of your life, despite self-help efforts to manage them, it may be time to seek outside support. Adults can benefit from a number of treatments, including behavioral coaching, individual therapy, self-help groups, vocational counseling, educational assistance, and in some cases, medication. The important thing is to get yourself treated, remember that life will improve, and take action even if you aren’t motivated.
Attitude: Living With Attention Deficit, Summer 2013 (www.additudemag.com)
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