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The Connection between Low Self-Esteem and Addiction

One of the character traits associated with the addictive personality is low self-esteem. This is understandable because those who do not value themselves very highly are going to be more willing to engage in high risk behaviours. It is for this reason that it is vital that those who do break away from addiction begin to work on building up their self-esteem.

What is Self-Esteem?

The terms 'self-esteem' and 'self-worth' are often used interchangeably. They both refer to the way a person values his or her self. If you value yourself very highly, it means that you have high self-esteem. If you do not have much confidence in your own worth, this would indicate that you have low self-esteem.

Why is Self-Esteem Important?

The amount of self-esteem a person has is going to have a significant impact on their behavioural and thinking patterns. Those individuals who have low self-esteem are not going to be expecting much from life, meaning that they become willing to settle for a mediocre existence. Low self-esteem prevents individuals from achieving success in life because they just do not feel like they deserve to be successful. This type of person not only lacks motivation to succeed, but they will usually sabotage their own efforts to improve their life, as well.

The Relationship between Low Self-Esteem and Addiction

Those individuals who do not value themselves very highly are going to be at high risk of addiction. This is because they are likely to have a very pessimistic view of their future and lack faith in their own ability to deal with the troubles that come their way. Alcohol and drugs can seem to offer the perfect solution, and, initially, the person probably will find life easier to manage. The problem is that they are not actually dealing with life, but instead they are hiding away from it.

Even if individuals have relatively high self-esteem when they begin using alcohol or drugs, they will see this disappear as they fall further and further into addiction. This is because the process of addiction robs people of their self-respect and self-worth. The individual feels full of guilt about their situation, meaning that they do not value themselves very highly.

Low Self-Esteem Keeps People Trapped in Addiction

The fact that those addicted to alcohol or drugs usually have low self-esteem explains why it can be so hard to escape this condition. The person may be convinced that the life of addiction is all they deserve. They cannot imagine their life becoming any better if they were to stop the abuse, so it is very difficult for them to develop the motivation needed to take this step.

Low Self-Esteem in Recovery

Those individuals who do manage to break away from addiction can continue to struggle if they are still dealing with low self-esteem. It is therefore vital that the person begins to work on improving their feelings of self-worth. This can be achieved by:

  • Setting goals and achieving them - breaking away from addiction is a major achievement, but it is vital to continue to have further victories.
  • A therapist can use techniques like motivational interviewing to help the individual boost their self-esteem; they can also work with the client to help them discover the root cause of the low self-esteem.
  • Spending time with successful people can be a good way to boost self-esteem.
  • Reading books about successful people or listening to motivational speakers can also be a great help.
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  • AVIVA Health Insurance
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