Health and fitness is incomplete without taking into concern your mental health. In the present times, mental health statistics have been surprisingly trekking up the slope. The increased numbers are absolutely disturbing as poor mental health can trap anyone in its cage at any time. One factor that is often neglected as a potential risk factor of worsening mental health is low self-esteem. Even though low self-worth is not a mental condition but it sets up a healthy bridge for several psychiatric disorders. This lays the importance of the foundation of self-esteem and mental health connectivity.
Mental Health In The US
The National Alliance of Mental Illness reports that 1 in 5 Americans suffers from mental health disorders. This accounts for 18.5% of the total population or 43.8 million people from the population. Teenage mental health is also worsening. Depression rates among the youth have increased from 5.9% to 8.2% from 2012-2015.
Of these depressed adolescents, 76% of teens receive no or insufficient treatment. In the light of such factors, it is better to combat any element that tips the balance in favor of mental illnesses. In this context, self-esteem plays a critical role in determining your mental well-being.
As such low self-worth is not a mental illness. Several people are, however, musing over its essential role in this regard and consider that it is high-time that poor self-value should be included in mental health diagnosis. This is significant because low self-esteem paves the way for a plethora of psychiatric disorders. In fact, the relationship between negative self-perception and mental illnesses is that of a vicious cycle that is challenging to break.
What Is Self-Esteem?
Simply put, self-esteem is the measure of your worth. There isn’t a proper scale that measures this variable but the way you view yourself personally is a measure of self-esteem. Self-esteem is akin to a lens. The only difference is that, unlike in the real world, this lens is not for use by critics. The only person who can use this lens is you to determine where you stand in life.
It is common for all of us to feel happy or sad occasionally. The natural emoji that paint on your face subsequently does not mean that you possess weak self-worth. However, if your negative feelings persist for a long time, then there is a possibility that you harbor weak self-value. The key point here is that as a person with dried wells of self-esteem you show the following characteristics:
- You take everything to your heart
- You harbor numerous negative thought
- You let despair take the driver’s seat
- Your self-confidence is dropping to low levels
- You blame yourself every now and then
- Over-critical of yourself
- Feeling anxious most of the time
- Fretting over small matters
- Dependent on others because you are just not sure about yourself
- Ultra-sensitive about everything that is said to you or is fired in your vicinity
Self-Esteem and Mental Health
Essentially, self-esteem is a delicate thing to be dealt. Both an excess and a lack of self-worth is harmful. The former case is evident in Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The latter, however, is equally harmful. Positive self-esteem is linked with academic achievement, fulfillment of goals, happiness, and personal satisfaction.
On the other hand, negative self-esteem is damaging for relationships, as you display an annoyed, angry, and defensive behavior that does a lot of harm to your relationships. Self-esteem and mental health are also deeply interconnected. Here are some of the direct influences of low self-worth on your mental well-being:
Negative self-worth leads to depression
Studies have found a strong connection between self-esteem and mental health. The impact of dry spells of self-value is very deep on depression. In fact, it plants definite seeds of depression and makes you vulnerable to this psychiatric condition. The same study also reveals the implication of depression on self-esteem is not as strong as that of self-esteem’s impact on depression.
The connective bond is simple to understand. The symptoms of both a poor self-perception and depression overlap. A poor view of the self leads you to focus more on your negative qualities than on your positive qualities. You also tend to get enveloped in dark, depressive thoughts. This trap grows enough to engulf you whole, therefore, snuffing out any signs of hopefulness. This welcomes despair in the equation. All these factors play a similar role in depression, which makes the connection obvious.
Self-worth and anxiety
When you are not sure about yourself and focus more on your weaknesses than strengths, you tend to worry too much. Naturally, your confidence levels also take a dip down to the bottom. Anxiety, eventually, finds a way. This accounts for another link between self-esteem and mental health.
In the case of positive self-value, you tend to be happy and contented. You do not poke holes in your performance, demeanor or anything else. You are also likely to develop a healthy social life. The other end of the spectrum is not so bright however. This explains how mental well-being is threatened with another psychiatric disorder of anxiety due to poor self-perception.
Poor self-value is a symptom of BPD
A weak sense of self-esteem is also a prominent symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). In addition to being a leading sign of BPD, low self-worth also aggravates this personality condition. Anger issues due to poor self-perception pushes you over the line of borderline rage. Likewise, self-criticism, self-loathing, and lack of confidence add to the irritability and problems.
The feelings of inferiority and dependence due to this issue also contribute to making the matters worse. This further shows the in-depth look into self-esteem and mental health. In addition to this, low self-esteem also jumbles up with bipolar disorder.
Pushes Up The Suicidal Rate
The WHO reports that in every 40 seconds someone commits suicide around the globe. The United States also sees the loss of several lives to suicide annually. Teen suicides are also witnessing increased statistics. From 2007-2015, the suicide rate among girls has doubled and increased in boys, during the same time frame, by 30%.
One of the main risk factors of suicide is low self-esteem. Positive self-acknowledgment stands as a barrier that prevents other matters from ruffling your feathers. The same is, unfortunately, not true for negative self-worth. Eventually, you give in to the negativity and hopelessness.
Self-Esteem Is Linked To Drug Addiction
The effects of low self-worth run deep further. 75% of girls who suffer from low self-worth report engagement in negative activities. These include bullying, smoking, eating disorder, and drinking. A study has also alluded the connection between childhood low self-value that culminates in drug addiction in the future.
Typically, substance abuse provides a temporary break from the negative emotions and bitter thoughts. Therefore, it attracts teenagers with a distorted self-value; gradually leading a drug addiction. The same does not, however, apply to kids who boast a positive self-worth. This shows another solid association between self-esteem and mental health.
All in all, self-esteem and mental health are close relatives that exhibit harmful mental well-being consequences, as they meddle together. It is important to improve your understanding of self so that you don’t end up in a gamble of self-hatred, self-criticism, pessimism, hopelessness, and subsequent psychiatric disorders.