Addiction & Low Self-Esteem: The Connection

Home | Addiction & Low Self-Esteem: The Connection

How much do you like yourself?

The confidence you feel in our own worth and abilities is what determines your level of self-esteem. A short quiz from PsyCom can help you see how high or low your self-esteem may be. Someone who has a healthy self-esteem believes that their thoughts, emotions, and work have value; they focus on their strengths rather than on their failures, respond well to constructive feedback, make good decisions and stick to them, and enjoy social interactions.

We all have moments of not liking ourselves or wishing we had done something differently, but someone who suffers from chronic low self-esteem has a lower quality of life and is more at risk for a number of mental health disorders, from depression to anxiety to addiction.

Someone with dangerously low self-esteem views themselves as unworthy or undeserving. They have a very difficult time accepting that they’ve failed or made even minor mistakes. At the same time, they are unable to believe positive feedback or compliments. They tend to have a negative outlook and get stuck in negative self-talk. As such, they find it difficult to build healthy relationships and are often lonely, feeling disconnected from others even when they are surrounded by people.

Symptoms of Addiction & Low Self-Esteem

Isolation, lack of self-care, anxiety, negativity: if the symptoms of low self-esteem sound similar to the symptoms of addiction, that’s no coincidence. Someone suffering from addiction quickly finds their self-esteem spiraling downwards. This lack of respect for and confidence in themselves makes it difficult to seek treatment. After all, they don’t feel like they are worth the effort and money it would take to get better.

So what can you do if you or a loved one is suffering from addiction and does not believe that treatment will help?

First, you can know that you and your loved one are not alone. Many, many people suffer from low self-esteem as well as addiction, and treatment is available. An accredited treatment facility will assess the situation and work with the client to develop an individualized treatment plan that will likely include cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and health and wellness therapy and education. These therapeutic practices will help the client identify their strengths, forgive their weaknesses, and move forward with compassion for themselves and others.

Recovery Can Help Addiction & Low Self-Esteem

If you are in recovery and working to build your self-esteem to prevent relapse, here are three concrete steps to take each day:

  • Affirm, affirm, affirm: Write daily affirmations and reminders for yourself; jot down quotes you love from books, influential people, or religious texts. Writing down your self-affirmations is a powerful way to change your thinking patterns and focus on the positive.
  • Forgive Thyself: We all make mistakes. The first step in finding self-worth and overcoming addiction is to accept your failures and forgive yourself for them. You are not your shortcomings! You’re much more.
  • Say Thank You: When someone compliments you, don’t negate them or their words. Trust that they mean what they say. Even if you don’t think you deserve the comment, just say “thanks,” and you’ll train your brain to accept positive feedback.

We Can Help

We know at St. Gregory Recovery Center that building up self-esteem is all easier said than done. That’s why we’re here to support that process and help you rewire your brain and foster a deep sense of self worth. Don’t wait another minute to feel better about yourself and your ability to live a healthy life: reach out today!

Are you or someone you love looking for substance abuse treatment in Iowa? To learn more about programs offered at St. Gregory Recovery Center, call and speak with someone today, at (888) 778-5833.

Our graduates tell their stories…

When first arriving at St. Gregory I had mixed feelings about the health and wellness workouts. I came in at 136 lbs and didn’t think it was possible to reach...
- Chris
The good life is not merely a life free from addictions, physical and/or psychological—addictions that usually are the outward manifestations of deeper problems—but a life lived in harmonious balance, free...
- Matt
I came to St. Gregory’s at my all-time worst—physically, emotionally, and mentally. Having gone through a bad rehab experience once before, I had been very reluctant in succumbing to that...
- CJ
No matter where I start my thought process when reflecting upon my time before, during and after St. Gregory’s, I always seem to end up in the same place in...
- Kaele


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