Understanding the Link between Self-Esteem and Addiction, Impact of Depression plus Self-Esteem Tips

Inpatient medical detox and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility at Level Up Treatment Center West Palm Beach. For some primary behavioral health treatment clients, medical detox may be required first. If you have a co-occurring severe substance abuse diagnosis, please contact us prior to beginning inpatient mental health therapy. Treatment services may vary. Please call us to learn which treatment options are most suited for your individual needs.

Link Between Self-Esteem And Addiction

Understanding the link between self-esteem and addiction recovery is an important component of becoming free of addiction. Regardless of whether an individual started suffering from low self-esteem prior to addiction or after, a person can heal and recover. Some people associate self-esteem with confidence, but this is not always such a correct comparison. Many people put on an act of being confident, maybe even superior, but this can actually be a disguise for low self-esteem.

It would be more correct to say that self-esteem is comparable to self-worth. If an individual does not value him or herself very highly then it means that they have low self-esteem. This person may try to hide the fact that they have this lack of self-worth, but it is going to affect his or her behavior. In fact, it can be said that self-esteem is a general judgment about ourselves.

Low self-esteem and addiction recovery may also be connected to relapse. Low self-esteem can cause people not to recognize their full potential and lead to other serious issues such as depression and substance abuse. When an individual has low self-esteem, they may be more affected by the environment and experience around them and their resulting actions. For instance, a person with low self-esteem may have trouble overcoming negative feelings or thoughts and therefore turn to outside activities or experiences to change those negative feelings and thoughts into positive ones.

Self-Esteem And Addiction
You may suffer many defeats in this life, but you will not be defeated. You will rise after each trial stronger and wiser.

Alcohol and drugs can be one of the outside activities an individual turns to in a negative situation or state of mind. In recovery, a person will learn more about the way that perceives oneself can influence alcohol or drug use and why improving one’s self-esteem should be a priority on the path of getting sober.

Understanding Relationship between Self-Esteem and Addiction plus Depression

According to the research from the National Institute for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) [1] [2]:

  • Self-esteem and addiction is one of the most critical variables and concepts that might have a meaningful influence on addiction. It has a significant role in the individual’s tendency to addiction.
  • Low self-esteem is a symptom of depression. To make things even more complicated, the depression may be a symptom of some other illness.
  • Low self-esteem is not only related to depression but also to learning disorders, antisocial behavior, eating disturbances, and suicidal ideation.
  • Recent clinical research using fixed-effects modeling to control confounding factors has concluded that alcohol use disorder or dependence leads to depression, rather than vice versa.
  • Neuroscientists found that addiction or substance use disorder changes both brain structure and function, related to mental illness development.
  • Self-esteem influences behavior because individuals adapt or change their behaviors to either maintain or boost their self-esteem. For example, people with low self-esteem are more likely to change their behaviors due to peer pressure. As a result, they tend to report more alcohol, cigarette, and drug use and are at higher suicide risk than their counterparts with high self-esteem.

How To Recognize Low Self-Esteem and Addiction Problems?

Low self-esteem is not always easy to identify. Here are three common types:

The Imposter

An individual may act successful and happy but is really terrified of failure. He or she lives with the persistent fear that she or he will be found out. Needs continuous success to maintain the mask of positive self-esteem, which may lead to problems with, procrastination, perfectionism, competition, and burn-out.

The Rebel

An individual may act like the opinions or goodwill of others, especially people who are powerful or important, don’t matter. They live with constant outrage about not feeling good enough. Continuously wants to prove that others’ criticisms and judgment don’t hurt, which may lead to problems like breaking the rules or laws, blaming others excessively, or opposing authority.

The Victim

The person acts helpless and unable to cope with the world and anticipates for someone to come to the rescue. Uses indifference or self-pity as a defense against the fear of taking responsibility for changing his or her life. Looks repeatedly to others for guidance, which can lead to such problems as underachievement, unassertiveness, and excessive reliance on others in relationships.

Low Self-Esteem and Addiction In Early Recovery

If an individual has low self-esteem then it means he or she is going to be willing to accept a lot less in life than what she or he can actually accomplish. It can mean these individuals are ready to settle for the bare minimum in recovery, not believing there is any point in trying to improve upon this.

The person in this situation may even decide that he or she deserves a bit of pain in their life as a type of punishment for past mistakes and wrongdoings.

Dangers of Low Self-Esteem and Addiction Recovery

  • Believing that relapse is inevitable
  • The person will not fight hard to stay sober
  • Leading to negative thinking
  • Leading to a type of learned helplessness because the person feels unable to sort out his or her own problems
  • Being resistant to trying new things
  • People become cynical about recovery
  • Being at high risk of falling into abusive relationships
  • Being more likely to turn to new maladaptive behaviors
Self-Esteem And Addiction
It is not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.

6 Tips On Improving Self-Esteem and Addiction Recovery

Become Aware Of Your Beliefs And Thoughts

Recovery is all about getting in touch with who you are. You’ll need to spend time learning about yourself and practicing rituals like meditation or prayers. You should also beware of negative thoughts and allow yourself to challenge them.

Think Positive

You’ll have to shift your thinking to know the facts that despite failures, or mistakes, you’re still a special and unique person who deserves to be happy.


Our mental and physical health are tied jointly together. Therefore, it’s important to take care of your body by exercising and eating healthy, as well as devoting time to your mental health through rejuvenation and rest.

Be Conscious Of Troubling Situations

In recovery, we often hear that we’ll have to change people, places, and things to stay stable in sobriety. It’s important to be aware of situations or places that are triggering or make you feel weak and negatively affect your self-esteem.

Encourage And Forgive Yourself

One of the most important aspects of recovery is learning how to forgive. We are flawed individuals who will never be perfect. However, we must learn to forgive ourselves and others so that peace and serenity are possible. Positive changes can be made and encouragement is the first step.

Practice Self-Love

It is important to actively practice self-love regularly. Try giving yourself daily words of affirmation or learning to immediately recognize when you do something well can help you learn to love yourself and build better self-esteem.

Find The Right Support System At We Level Up Florida

We Level Up FL primary mental health center stands ready to help. Offering secondary treatment therapy for underlying problems like SUD that often fuel negative behaviors. If you or someone you love is struggling toward improving self-esteem and addiction recovery, get help. Understanding the problem is just part of the battle. Taking that first step to getting the help you deserve can be life-changing.

We understand how self-esteem behavioral disorders and secondary co-occurring addiction diagnoses directly impact each other. We Level Up Florida can instill a support system through our mental health treatments that can make you feel valuable. Call us now for a free mental health assessment!

Self-Esteem And Addiction
Improve Self-Esteem And Addiction illness at We Level Up Florida Mental Health Treatment Center

[1] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905528/

[2] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5602593/

[2] Self-Esteem and AddictionSelf Esteem And Addiction Recovery » Drug Alcohol Addiction Rehab (welevelup.com)