No one likes to be criticized or rejected, but for people experiencing rejection sensitive dysphoria, the effects of criticism or rejection are more intense and can feel unbearable.

Marty McFly from Back to the Future saying,

Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is extreme emotional sensitivity and pain triggered by the perception that a person has been rejected or criticized by important people in their life. It may also be triggered by a sense of falling short — failing to meet their own high standards or others’ expectations.

— William Dodson, psychiatrist

Understanding the effects of rejection sensitive dysphoria can help you navigate the difficult emotions that come with it.

Signs of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

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Rejection sensitive dysphoria can show up in a variety of words, but people living with RSD may:

  • Become embarrassed easily.

  • Experience emotional outbursts when they've been hurt or rejected.

  • Have high expectations for themselves that are often impossible to meet, leading to them feeling like a failure.

  • Endure problems with relationships and social situations due to avoidance.

  • Experience anxiety in social situations due to anticipating rejection.

  • Think about hurting themselves.

Effects of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

Rejection sensitive dysphoria can impact life in a variety of ways.

Leslie Knope saying,

People with RSD may become people pleasers to avoid rejection. They may be so busy making sure they don't upset others that their personal goals and wants get forgotten.

Daria saying,

People with RSD may experience extreme avoidance. They may avoid any activity that could result in criticism, rejection, or failure such as "dating, applying for jobs, or speaking in public."


How might a person experiencing rejection sensitive dysphoria approach starting a new job? Select all that apply:

Living with Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

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You can learn to live and cope with rejection sensitive dysphoria and lead a fulfilling life:

  • Meet with a therapist. Therapists can help you learn how to handle your emotions and deal with criticism, failure, or rejection in a more positive way.

  • Manage your stress. Since you're more likely to have an emotional outburst when you're stressed, try to manage the stress in your life by eating well, getting enough sleep, and practicing mindfulness.

  • Talk to your doctor. After you explain the signs of rejection sensitive dysphoria that you've noticed, your doctor will be able to recommend a variety of holistic treatments, and if necessary, medication.


What steps can you take to live and cope with rejection sensitive dysphoria? Select all that apply:

Take Action

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If you live with rejection sensitive dysphoria, you can lead a happy and fulfilling life! Check out these resources to help you learn how to:


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