Self-esteem and mental health
Low self-esteem is not considered a mental health condition, but there are clear links between how we feel about ourselves and our overall emotional and mental well-being.
There are some ways that low self-esteem can affect mental health:
Toxic relationships can develop when we have low self-esteem because setting boundaries is hard when we don’t value ourselves. When we have little respect for ourselves, it’s hard to expect it from others. Those with low self-esteem often end up in friendships and relationships where they are taken advantage of and even emotionally or physically abused because they think they don’t deserve any better.
Studies indicate that low self-esteem in childhood can be a risk factor for addiction in adulthood. Many people who live with substance use disorder use alcohol or drugs to help manage their negative feelings. Unfortunately, instead of helping their self-esteem,this type of behavior, along with the symptoms of addiction, can make it worse.
Depression and anxiety
Low self-esteem tends to work hand in hand with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, and the combination is common. Someone already living with a mental health condition may develop low self-esteem because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. That stigma can exacerbate feelings of shame and embarrassment they may already have about their diagnosis.