Low self-esteem is a thinking disorder in which individuals view themselves as inadequate, unlovable, or incompetent. There are many manifestations of low self-esteem, the worst of them being addiction.

There’s no doubt that low self-esteem is one of the chief causes of addiction. The relationship between low self-esteem and addiction has been established since time immemorial because people who have had serious addiction problems also have low self-esteem issues.

Having established this, treating addiction problems become easy since its root cause is already known. So instead of tackling addiction head-on, it would be wise to attack the causes of low self-esteem which include bullying, academic challenges, and trauma.

The causes of addiction vary from person to person. For example, people who try to mask their low self-esteem problems with substances often get addicted to those substances. Therefore their treatment will be based on the kind of substance they’re addicted to.

Here are 3 reasons low self-esteem leads to addiction.

It causes depression

Depression is often the result of low self-esteem. It plays a decisive role in the likelihood that a person will take to addiction or not. It could be due to loss of job or end of a relationship but it brings about sadness, low energy, and hopelessness.

In addition, depression serves as a passageway into drug and alcohol usage. Those who suffer from depression often take these substances to escape their negative emotions, and this could be a precursor to addiction.
Therefore, in trying to help a victim of depression, you must first identify what caused it in the first place.

It leads to substance abuse

Most victims of low self-esteem predictably indulge in substance abuse. This is because of the wrong perception that these substances offer a temporary solution to their problems. Unfortunately, using alcohol and drugs to escape their feelings of low self-worth only aggravates their misery and consequently leads to addiction.

Trying to overcome alcohol addiction can be very challenging but with a well-administered alcohol addiction treatment, victims can come out clean and start living a normal life afterwards.

It takes a concerted effort on the part of both the addicted and alcohol treatment counsellors to break free from this unhealthy habit.

It brings about self-withdrawal

Because people with low self-esteem lack self-confidence and have a poor self-image, they tend to keep poor relationships. Consequently, they get withdrawn from social circles, become introverts and place themselves under a self-imposed isolation.

According to Addiction Campuses, isolation and loneliness have an overwhelming effect on drug addiction and alcoholism. Studies have shown that those who feel more socially isolated generally deal with increased mental health and substance abuse issues.

The issue here is simple: once you start noticing signs of self-withdrawal in those who used to be outgoing, you should raise the red flag.


Low self-esteem isn’t peculiar to any age group or gender. What is clear is that it is the result of certain harsh conditions people face in life. If detected early enough, low self-esteem might not culminate in addiction but in either case, victims must admit it to get the required help.

Author's Bio: 

Hafiz is a freelance writer, content strategist and online entrepreneur. He helps businesses to build brand awareness, get more inbound traffic, engage their target audiences, generate more leads, and increase sales. Follow him on twitter and LinkedIn