Whether you or someone you love has substance use disorder, it’s important to understand the condition. You might know that taking a prescription for a long time builds a tolerance that can lead to addiction. However, many other factors can make people turn to drugs. For instance, researchers have discovered a connection between low self-esteem and addiction.
When a person feels badly about themselves, they may turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication. This temporary escape can quickly spiral into dependence and addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with low self-esteem and addiction,
What Is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is your sense of personal value, understanding of yourself, and confidence in your abilities. You develop an opinion of yourself by thinking about your behaviors and how others perceive your actions. Basically, it’s a judgment about yourself.
Most people judge themselves based on daily experiences. Your test scores, how others treat you, and natural ups and downs in life can affect your opinion. Parents’ attitudes and behaviors can also affect how you value yourself through childhood.
For example, people with healthy self-esteem accept and value themselves. They recognize their strengths and take their weaknesses without feeling contempt or humiliation. Those with low self-esteem, however, constantly need positive experiences to overcome negative feelings and thoughts about themselves. They don’t think that they’re important, believe that nobody likes them, and don’t trust others, which makes them lonely.
The Link Between Low Self-Esteem and Addiction
Because of how low self-esteem works, it has a vital role in the likelihood that people will abuse drugs. In fact, researchers established the connection between low self-esteem and addiction nearly 50 years ago. Studies in the 1970s showed that people who abused drugs had low self-esteem, especially women. Recent research also shows that people with behavioral disorders such as shopping addiction and eating disorders have low self-esteem.
Signs of low self-esteem include:
- Constantly seeking approval from others
- Difficulty accepting compliments
- Believing that you are not good enough
- Comparing yourself to others
- Feeling insecure
- Never feeling satisfied with your accomplishments
- Avoiding social interactions
- Frequent feelings of guilt or shame
- Seeking temporary escapes from negative emotions
The effects of low self-esteem also contribute to addiction by making people feel powerless. The occurrence of low self-esteem and addiction is rather basic. When you have a low opinion or negative feelings about yourself, you seek experiences that make you feel better. Drinking alcohol, taking drugs, eating, or shopping can mask those insecurities for a period. As you repeat these behaviors, though, they become compulsive actions that you need to maintain in how you feel.
Despite this connection, many other factors can lead to substance abuse. Some of these include underlying behavioral and mental disorders, living environment, and a family history of drug use. When another mental disorder is present, you need dual diagnosis treatment for the co-occurring disorders.
Rebuild Your Self-Esteem Through Treatment at The Willows at Red Oak Recovery®
Have you developed a drug dependency because of low self-esteem? Substance abuse treatment can address your habit and help you rebuild confidence in yourself. It can teach you how to accept and value who you are.
At The Willows at Red Oak Recovery®, we aim to achieve those goals for women. Along with treating drug addiction, our facility offers dual diagnosis treatment and disordered eating support. Our programs include a range of therapeutic services, such as:
- Individual counseling
- Trauma therapy
- Family therapy
- Meditation and yoga
- Horseback riding
Don’t continue to put your life at risk. Get treatment for low self-esteem and addiction in one place. Reach out to our rehab center today by calling us at 855.773.0614 or by using our secure online form. A brighter future is possible.