Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects children, adolescents, and adults. ADHD affects many domains of functioning, including social relationships. Adults with ADHD often experience difficulty managing their emotions, impulsivity, and impulsiveness, making them more susceptible to rejection. In this article, we explore how rejection sensitivity manifests in adults with ADHD and what strategies can help them cope with rejection.

What is Rejection Sensitivity?

Rejection sensitivity is the tendency to overreact to perceived or actual rejection. People who have rejection sensitivity are hypersensitive to rejection, often misinterpreting every slight rebuff or perceived negative feedback as a reason for rejection. Rejection sensitivity can be viewed as an emotional regulation problem that manifests in a person’s sensitivity to social events.

Rejection Sensitivity in Adults With ADHD

Research shows that adults with ADHD experience higher levels of rejection sensitivity than those without the disorder. Some studies suggest that adults with ADHD may not handle rejection as well as their counterparts, leading to more significant problems. In fact, some researchers suggest that rejection sensitivity may be one of the underlying factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of ADHD symptoms.

Rejection sensitivity in adults with ADHD can manifest in various ways. For example, people with ADHD may engage in impulsive behaviors or seek refuge in substance use after a perceived rejection. Alternatively, adults with ADHD may withdraw from social relationships or experience increased anxiety when rejection is anticipated.

Managing Rejection Sensitivity

Rejection sensitivity can negatively affect an adult’s life in many ways, from damaging personal relationships to hindering professional success. It is, therefore, essential to learn strategies that can help manage rejection sensitivity effectively. Here are some tips that can help:

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can help individuals with ADHD practice self-compassion and reduce their emotional reactivity. Mindfulness allows individuals to pause and observe their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations without judgment or resistance. Through practice, individuals can develop a more compassionate and grounded view of their experiences, reducing their vulnerability to rejection and failure.

2. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts often fuel rejection sensitivity in adults with ADHD. It is essential, therefore, to challenge these thoughts to reduce their impact. When negative thoughts arise, individuals should question their accuracy and challenge their underlying beliefs. For instance, an individual may ask themselves, “Is this thought based on facts, or is it a distorted interpretation of events?”

3. Develop Coping Strategies

Coping strategies are essential tools that can help individuals with ADHD manage their emotions, including rejection sensitivity. Coping strategies can include techniques that promote relaxation such as deep breathing, meditation, or engaging in physical activity. Other coping strategies include learning how to communicate effectively, building resilience, and cultivating healthy support systems.

4. Seek Professional Help

In cases of severe rejection sensitivity or deep-seated emotional issues, seeking professional help may be necessary. Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can help individuals cope with rejection sensitivity by addressing the underlying emotional issues.


Rejection sensitivity is a common problem among adults with ADHD, contributing to a range of emotional and social problems. It is, therefore, essential to learn strategies that can help manage rejection sensitivity more effectively. Adults with ADHD can mitigate the impact of rejection sensitivity by practicing mindfulness, challenging negative thoughts, developing coping strategies, and seeking professional support when necessary. By managing rejection sensitivity, adults with ADHD can lead happier, more fulfilling lives.


FAQs About Adults With ADHD When You’re Super Sensitive to Rejection

Q: What exactly is ADHD and how does it affect adults?

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurological disorder that affects both children and adults. Adults with ADHD may struggle with organization, time management, and focus, which can lead to difficulties in relationships, work, and other areas of life. In addition, many adults with ADHD experience intense emotions, including hypersensitivity to rejection.

Q: How does super sensitivity to rejection affect adults with ADHD?

Super sensitivity to rejection can be particularly challenging for adults with ADHD. The fear of rejection may lead to anxiety, depression, and social isolation, which can further exacerbate the symptoms of ADHD. Additionally, the hypersensitivity to rejection can make it difficult for adults with ADHD to form and maintain meaningful relationships, both personally and professionally.

Q: What can adults with ADHD do to manage their sensitivity to rejection?

There are a variety of strategies that can be helpful for adults with ADHD who experience sensitivity to rejection. These include seeking therapy or counseling, practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, cultivating healthy relationships with supportive individuals, and learning effective communication skills. Additionally, engaging in regular exercise, getting adequate sleep, and practicing stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing or meditation may also be helpful in managing this aspect of ADHD.


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