Low self-esteem, a perception that one is inadequate, unlovable, unworthy and/or incompetent. It often stems from exposure to dysfunctional behavior as a child. When children bear the brunt of anger, abandonment, abuse, neglect or continual negative criticism, it can lead to feelings of low self-worth.
People with chronic self-esteem issues may take on behaviors that reinforce their feelings of inadequacy, including drug abuse because they believe they have little to live up to. When people use drugs or alcohol as an artificial boost to low self-esteem, they’re attempting to function in situations where they lack confidence.
Signs of Low Self-Esteem:
- Feeling self-conscious
- Hyper-obsessive about relationships with others
- When faced with setbacks, feelings of self-defeat are common
- Chronically indecisive
The Link Between Low Self-Esteem and Substance Abuse
“I think that there is definitely a correlation [between low self-esteem and substance use]. Many people who identify with substance use disorders also have a history of trauma, and most people who have suffered childhood trauma also identify low self-esteem. Especially for young people, using to fit in with a peer group is a risk for someone suffering from low self-esteem,” says A’nna Jurich, Executive Director at Gateway Carbondale. “Substance use also helps to dull the pain of loneliness and feelings of low self-worth.”
How Professional Addiction Treatment Programs Can Help
With personalized addiction treatment programs, people who have low self-esteem and substance abuse disorders can enhance relationships by improving their coping and communication skills. Rather than reacting to preconceived notions, each person can learn how to resolve their disagreements with others in a healthy, productive manner.
With several locations throughout Illinois, Gateway has the resources to help you or someone you love start healing. We offer numerous levels of care and customized addiction treatment options, including:
- Residential Addiction Treatment Centers
- Partial Hospitalization Programs
- Intensive Outpatient Programs
- Rehab Programs for Men
- Rehab Programs for Women
- Teen and Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment
Additionally, our drug and alcohol rehab centers all offer evidence-based addiction therapy services. For individuals with co-occurring mental health issues, Gateway also offers dual diagnosis treatment.