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Self-Esteem & Addiction

self-esteem and addiction

The Connection Between Low Self-Esteem and Addiction

One of the most common character traits associated with addiction personalities and persons is low self-esteem.

This is easy to understand as those who do not value themselves highly are more willing to engage in risky and destructive behaviours.

And it’s for this reason that it is extremely vital that those working towards recovery break away from addiction and work on building up their self-esteem.

Signs of low self-esteem

Low-self esteem is a thinking disorder

Self-esteem is defined as how you value and see yourself. If you take yourself in high regard, then you will have high self-esteem.

Those who do not have confidence in their own worth would indicate a person with low self-esteem.

Signs of low self-esteem

  • Difficulty speaking or prioritising your own needs, feelings, or wants
  • Feeling guilty and saying “I’m sorry” a lot
  • Not liking to rock the boat
  • Not feeling capable or deserving
  • Unable to make decisions for yourself or your own choices
  • A clear lack of boundaries

You’re not alone

  • 75% of girls who have low self-esteem report engaging in negative activities such as self-harm, bullying, smoking, drinking, or eating disorders. Source.
  • 85% of the world’s population is affected by low self-esteem. Source.
  • Living with low self-esteem can cause harm to your mental health, causing issues like depression and anxiety. Source.

Why is self-esteem important?

Symptoms of depression

Your self-esteem has a massive impact on your behaviour and thinking patterns.

If you have low self-esteem, you will know that you do not expect much from life, which means you might settle for a mediocre existence. But why do you want this?

Your low self-esteem can prevent you from achieving success simply because you feel like you don’t deserve it – but you do.

Without high self-esteem, you will likely not want to improve your life and because you feel so low, you might turn to negative sources like alcohol and drugs to cope.

This is what constitutes an addiction.

Addiction and low self-esteem: What’s the link?

Most people take drugs or alcohol to numb the pain of everyday life.

There is a clear link between alcoholism, drug use and low self-esteem. Those who turn to addiction are likely to not feel comfortable with themselves or their lives.

This leads people to lose sight of who they are as their lives then begin to revolve around their next hit, high or drink. Nothing else matters.

But what can cause low self-esteem?

Childhood traumas and low self-esteem lead to addiction. What we learn and the values we inherit that are installed into us as children will last a lifetime.

Chaotic and abusive home environments can make a child feel helpless and worthless, and a lot of co-occurring issues can be traced back to these moments.

This can lead children and even ingrain in their adult lives the need for acceptance, and with peer pressure being a common problem it is more likely that these children will be susceptible.

Drugs and alcohol at the time can block it all out and make you feel invicible. But that doesn’t last, and the negative effects soon catch up to you.

This is a self-defeating coping mechanism.

The sad truth is that many people suffer from traumatic childhoods and this can be served and packaged up into many different formats.

Building self-esteem during recovery

stay social

  • Affirmations: These can take time to build up, but they can help to transform the negative self-talk and instead replace it with a more optimistic, positive view of yourself.
  • Forgive yourself and others: The past is the past; if you are suffering from self-blame, then let it go. Beating yourself up will only make things worse and increase the likelihood of relapse. Therefore, do not last past wrongs define your present or future.
  • Accept compliments: Those with low self-esteem struggle to accept or benefit from the compliments of others. Do not doubt the sincerity of the compliments and do not let them be compounded by feelings of embarrassment or doubt. Try and resist the urge to dismiss, assume those are sincere, and thank the person for the compliment, then take it in and note how it can reflect your strengths as a person.
  • Do something for others: Doing something kind for someone every day, even if they do not express gratitude, can help you engage better in prosocial behaviour.

Can’t do it on your own? Trust us

Here at the Executive Rehab Guide, we talk to hundreds of people every week struggling with low self-worth and addiction issues.

Whilst we truly believe in you, we know how difficult it can be to believe in yourself.

That’s why you need help and that’s OK – no one successfully gets better on their own.

Start today. Contact us here or speak to us immediately on Live Chat.

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Last Updated on June 15, 2022 by Alison