Most people with low self-esteem are vulnerable to addiction. The exact nature of addiction or substance abuse may vary. Many people are drawn to alcohol or drugs. Some are drawn to both. Most forms of addiction associated with low self-esteem begin as a form of escape. This escapism is initially comforting but then one develops a certain degree of tolerance towards that substance, drugs or alcohol or both. Tolerance makes way for dependence, which eventually turns to addiction.
People around the world have to endure issues with self-esteem. Very few people have a naturally high self-esteem. A vast majority have realistic self-esteem, neither thinking too highly of themselves nor underestimating themselves. A substantial number of people have low self-esteem. Not everyone among them turns to alcoholism, drugs or substance abuse but most are vulnerable. Low self-esteem has actually been identified as one of the major causes of all kinds of addiction.
Causes of Low Self Esteem
Self-esteem is basically self-respect. It is the confidence one has in her or his own abilities. Self-esteem determines how worthwhile one considers oneself. There are many factors that contribute to self-esteem. In a broad sense, these factors are personal stability, significance, competence, and perception.
Personal stability can be a general issue or a specific problem. Many people deal with emotional problems, many have financial issues and some have both. Personal stability may be self-induced too. The common thread linking all people who lack personal stability or think they do is the inability to have adequate control over their life. It could be lack of control over everything or a few crucial aspects of life.
Significance plays a vital role in influencing self-esteem. People who feel insignificant, not just in their self-assessment but according to the perception of others, will be vulnerable to addiction. Those who feel insignificant often think that they are not loved, they do not receive affection from their family or friends or both, that they are basically unwanted and no one really wants to be with them in any capacity. Perception of self and the perception of people are quintessential here. Many people think they are perceived as bad or undesirable by others. Those who think they don’t have the best moral or ethical standards, beliefs or lives may feel unwanted, unloved and unappreciated. Such assessments may or may not be factually correct.
Issues with poor self image are also important to consider; something as minor as what one sees in the mirror can drastically change levels of self-esteem.
“There are ways that insecurities can be helped tremendously such as perfecting your smile” says Dr Jason Moore, a leading orthodontist calgary.
Competence is a major contributor to self-esteem. Those who know they are capable of accomplishing great things or even if they are moderately successful in a few things are likely to have standard or high self-esteem. People who think they are incompetent, either owing to their self-assessment or since they have been told so by others, will lose confidence in their selves. They would find themselves at the discretion of others. They would not only lack personal stability but also feel to be controlled by more powerful, capable or competent people. These realizations pave the way for self-esteem and the desire to escape that turns people to addiction.
The Deadly Plummet of Low Self Esteem
There may be one or more initial causes of low self-esteem. Other factors contribute to worsening self-esteem and that is when people become helpless to the deadly plummet. Low self-esteem makes a person feel challenges in many ways. They become angry, depressed and lonely, all at the same time. They experience problems in communications. They rarely convey their feelings as they don’t trust anyone. These problems persist, even as the person may turn to alcohol, completely oblivious of the fact that the escape route is a surefire gateway to addiction.
Most people having low self-esteem turn to alcohol or drugs or both to escape their problems and to forget their own feelings. Substance abuse actually helps in the initial days because people can forget their pains and sufferings. However, the addiction becomes one more problem while all other issues continue to plague their lives. Low self esteem is difficult to manage if anyone has to deal with failing health, unpleasant appearance or even the perception of looking less than desirable, lacking enough money or having troubles at work, business or college, struggling with relationships, not having any passion or hobby and failing to realize what one is good at.
Men or women who think they are fat or thin, excessively short or tall, ugly or undesirable solely for their physical appearance or attributes will lack sufficient self-esteem. Those who are physically weak or have psychological problems will have low self-esteem. The problems may not be grave or they may be beyond the control of an individual. A person may just be different or might not be good at something that is simple for others. Such people do feel isolated and hence are unhappy. They may turn to alcohol and drugs to deal with their depression and isolation.
Financial instability, lack of success, losing out to others, instability at work or lacking enough knowledge and skills, failing to live up to expectations of family and friends, not being at par with peers or friends in different metrics, not having a joyous relationship or being unloved and several such common problems can cause or trigger low self-esteem. In most cases, a multitude of these factors are at play and usually at the same time. These combine to form a fatal combination. The deadly plummet of low self-esteem may render a person incapable of taking charge of their life. They may completely surrender themselves to addiction.
Addiction combined with low self-esteem may lead to self-destructive tendencies. It is necessary to seek help at the right time. Families and friends should intervene. If there is no one around then anyone with low self-esteem should seek counseling. Anyone with low self-esteem and addicted to alcohol, drugs or both should immediately sign up for rehabilitation. Things can go bad to worse anytime.