Detox & Drug Rehab In Orange County

How Low Self-Esteem Can Lead to Substance Abuse

We all experience confidence issues at one time or another in our lives. However, feelings of low self-esteem have more serious effects than simply feeling insecure. Many studies show that people turn to substance abuse to address low self-esteem issues. Adolescence is more susceptible to abuse substances as a coping mechanism for low self-esteem.  It […]

We all experience confidence issues at one time or another in our lives. However, feelings of low self-esteem have more serious effects than simply feeling insecure. Many studies show that people turn to substance abuse to address low self-esteem issues. Adolescence is more susceptible to abuse substances as a coping mechanism for low self-esteem. 

It is a risky approach with various effects. This article will discuss what self-esteem is, how low self-esteem can lead to substance abuse, how to improve your self-esteem, and how to get help for substance addiction.

What is Self Esteem?

Self-esteem is your sense of personal value. It is how you feel about yourself based on various factors like our daily experiences, action thoughts, and how others perceive you and your actions. People with high self-esteem have confidence in themselves and their work. They recognize their strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand, people with low self-esteem feel unworthy, unlovable, or incompetent.

Signs of Low Self-Esteem

People with low self-esteem show the following characteristics:

  • Expecting humiliation from others
  • Lack of trust in other people 
  • The belief that you're not important 
  • Feelings of separation from others or loneliness 
  • The constant influence of negative feelings and thoughts 
  • Chronically indecisive 
  • Feelings of self-defeat whenever you experience setbacks 
  • Feeling self-conscious 
  • Hyper-obsessive about your relationship with others

Causes of Low Self-Esteem

People usually develop self-esteem due to experiencing dysfunctional behavior as a child. Some common dysfunctional behaviors include:

  • Abuse 
  • Neglect 
  • Abandon 
  • Negative criticism


People who experience chronic self-esteem issues engage in self-destructive behaviors to cope with various such an emotion such as feelings of inadequacy. Substance abuse is one of the most common self-destructive behaviors people engage in.

The Link Between Low Self Esteem and Drug Or Alcohol Abuse

Low self-esteem is one of the characteristics of poor mental health. There are various mental health issues people go through, including anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, noisy thoughts, and auditory hallucinations. People often tend to abuse substances to cope with various mental health issues such as low self-esteem. 

Research shows that people addicted to various substances have lower self-esteem than those who don’t abuse substances. People turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with the negative of associated with low self-esteem. Abusing drugs to cope with self-esteem forms unhealthy patterns that lead to addiction. Furthermore, it also reinforces the low self-esteem rather than overcome it. 

Research shows that low self-esteem usually co-occurs with depression. Feelings of depression are a major contributor to substance abuse. It is important to get help to improve your self-esteem and cope with substance abuse and addiction.


How To Improve Your Self-Esteem

You can reduce the risk of developing a substance addiction and improve your life if you find ways to increase your self-esteem. The following measures can help you improve your self-esteem to avoid using substance abuse as a coping mechanism:

  • Take care of yourself.  You will feel better about yourself you treat yourself well. Exercise, eat healthy food, and practice good hygiene.
  • Have fun. Take time to do things you enjoy. It will help to improve your mood and feelings about yourself. Make a list of things you enjoy doing and try to do at least one each day. 
  • Practice and exercise your Talents and abilities. Using your talents and abilities helps to improve your self-esteem. Some of the common talents include poems, music, writing, comedy, and organizing. 
  • Build relationships with the right people. Toxic relationships affect your self-esteem. Spend time with people who make you feel positive about yourself and avoid those who give you negative feelings about yourself.
  • Create a beautiful environment around you. It is important to surround yourself with beauty because it makes you feel comfortable, unique, and in control. Clean up your home and make it a special place that reflects who you are.
  • Practice self-love. You need to practice self-love to improve your self-esteem actively. You can use daily words of affirmation to recognize when you do something well.
  • Focus on progress. Low self-esteem and substance abuse can slow your progress towards your life goals. Avoid getting hung up on your wrongdoings which you did while intoxicated. Focus on all the progress you are making and going to make rather than the negativity. You gain more confidence when you recognize all the good you have done.

How Professional Treatment Centers Help With Low Self-Esteem and Substance Addiction

Recovery from substance addiction is difficult, and the challenge becomes more intense if you intend to conquer low self-esteem. You will get a dual diagnosis when you visit a professional treatment center. It is possible to overcome both through personalized addiction treatment programs. The recovery programs will focus on helping you improve on various areas and help you cope with their issues to avoid feelings of low self-esteem for substance abuse. Many recovery programs help you to improve through:

  • Encouraging you to exercise which helps to boost mood 
  • Celebrating small accomplishments 
  • Creating awareness of negative self-talk 
  • Challenging inaccurate or negative thoughts 
  • Focusing on aspects of your life that you can change 
  • Identifying troubling conditions or situations 
  • Surround yourself with a positive network

You must understand that building self-esteem and overcoming substance addiction are not overnight processes. You will require weeks or even months of mindfulness and dedication to overcome them. 

Therapy is a useful approach that gives you the ability to talk about past events and relationships to overcome various issues. On the bright side, recovery becomes easier with more practice. Your confidence and well-being will strengthen as your self-image improves.


Get Help for Low Self Esteem and Substance Abuse in California

Coastline behavioral health in Huntington Beach, California offers all levels of Addiction and mental health care including inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, outpatient, and transitional living for both men and women. 

We will help you develop healthy life skills that will facilitate a long-term sobriety. Our team uses a positive clinical approach together with experiential therapy to help our clients get back into healthy and productive living. Call us today at 714 841 2260 for more information.

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