Managing ADHD and RSD: 1 Point We Can Learn from Will Smith’s Experiences

Will Smith, ADHD and RSD

It's Oscar time, and of course, the talk of the town is Will Smith's "slap heard 'round the world" of Chris Rock. But did you know that last year's Oscars was not the first time Will publically smacked someone in the face? In 1997, Will Smith shocked audiences worldwide when he slapped a Ukrainian reporter who attempted to kiss him on the red carpet of the Moscow premiere of "Men in Black." So why does Will overreact in social situations like award shows?

When you google lists of celebrities with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, Will Smith is on the list. He has opened up in more than one interview as having ADHD. One condition that goes hand-in-hand with ADHD is Rejection Sensitive Dyspashia (RSD). This condition affects how individuals perceive and respond to social situations.  Could ADHD and RSD have been behind Will's bad behavior? RSD is a neurological disorder that affects an individual's ability to cope with perceived rejection or criticism. Those with ADHD and RSD may perceive minor social cues, such as a disapproving glance, a curt tone, or jokes about their spouse's medical conditions, as evidence of rejection or criticism. While RSD is not well-known, it has been recognized by medical professionals for over a decade. A symptom of RSD is an intense emotional response to perceived rejection, ranging from feelings of sadness and worthlessness to smacking someone in the face who cracked a joke about someone loved! Given that Will Smith is a public figure, he will likely have experienced numerous instances of rejection or criticism throughout his career. This constant exposure to criticism and rejection could have exacerbated any underlying ADHD and RSD symptoms, leading to his slap-happy responses a quarter of a century apart. It is worth noting that RSD can be challenging to diagnose, as its symptoms can overlap with other conditions, such as anxiety or depression. However, recent research has shown that individuals with RSD may have altered brain activity in response to social rejection. Now, I am not qualified to diagnose Will with ADHD and RSD, or any other letters of the alphabet. Still, if he did have ADHD and RSD, it is possible what triggered the extreme emotional response in him, leading to physical violence. However, it is also important to note that RSD does not excuse or justify violence. Those with the condition can still learn to manage their emotions healthily. The bottom line is only Will and any therapist he may have seen know why he reacted as he did in 1997 and again in 2022. The theory that he may have suffered from RSD offers an interesting perspective on the incident. Regardless of whether or not Smith had the condition, it is vital to recognize and raise awareness about neurological disorders like RSD, which can significantly impact an individual's mental health and well-being. Now I may not be able to diagnose Will Smith, but I can help entrepreneurs with ADHD and RSD deal with their symptoms so that they can get in focus and skyrocket their productivity. "... how do we do that, Dr. Jeff?" The answer is to call Dr. Get in Focus; he can show you! To set up your free appointment, click here on the link! Dr. Get in Focus works with businesses, entrepreneurs, and remote workers to get in focus and skyrocket their productivity. He is here to talk to see if he can help. His website is  to take advantage of his training programs. Check for the latest workshop. Don’t wait; get in focus today! Dr. Jeff Levine has been working with entrepreneurs to skyrocket production for decades. He is not, however a licensed therapist.  For resources on ADHD and therapy, please check here:
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