Last Updated on December 10, 2019 by Valarie Ward
It starts when a person is young. We’re talking about self-esteem. How one is raised can play a huge part in the difference between having positive or low self-esteem. And chronically low self-esteem can increase a person’s risk of substance abuse.
What is Low Self-Esteem?
Simply put, low self-esteem is when one feels poorly about themselves. A person with low self-esteem might feel as though they are unworthy and discover it hard to find anything positive. They might have a strong sense of stupidity; feeling as though they can never do anything right. As a result, they may never be able to achieve their true abilities in life.
The Causes & Appearance of Low Self-Esteem
There are many reasons why a person might suffer from low self-esteem. For example, let’s say that as a child one heard too often that they would never amount to anything. They may have often been compared to a sibling that was a higher achiever, or maybe they were a victim of bullying from their peers. Mental, physical, and sexual abuse stemming from childhood can also be a strong factor in feeling as though everything that happens is their fault.
You may notice that a young person will begin to shut themselves out from the world; choosing to stay home more often and refusing to participate in group activities. A person who suffers from low self-esteem (no matter their age) might choose to “settle” into a negative situation rather than to try and succeed at a more positive and satisfying life. While a young person with low self-esteem is transitioning into adulthood, they may be more bummed than normal when they are turned down for a job or fail to score high on a college exam.
Can Low Self-Esteem Predicate Poor Choices in Young Adults?
Yes! Low self-esteem can play a major role in many of life’s choices. Some of these choices may include:
- Aggression and violence
- Criminal behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
- Disordered eating
- Joining a cult
- Substance abuse
Is There a Link Between Low Self-Esteem and Substance Abuse in Young Adults?
Absolutely! Low self-esteem is a sure-fire factor of increased risk of substance abuse in young adults.
Peer pressure has no age limit, so no matter how young or old a person is, they can be reeled in by peer pressure. Think about it. If a person already suffers from low self-esteem, then wouldn’t it make sense for them to be easily convinced that using drugs or alcohol can be an easy fix to the problem?
Most people who have low self-esteem also feel as though they can never be good enough to belong to any type of social group, thus encouraging gravitation to the group who uses substances. They may believe that the only way they can have fun is to drink or do drugs, but when they still feel somewhat inadequate, they have another and then another until it becomes never ending—an addiction.