Drugs and Alcohol - Self-Esteem's Downward Spiral

By: Sara Mendez

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 22.8 million Americans need help for drug or alcohol abuse. Of those people only a small percent completed rehab successfully. Students took the same survey and of those students, 2.3 million ages 12-17 reported they needed help for drugs or alcohol. Only 8.2% actually got help from a rehab center. Whatever your choice of addiction is, they have one thing in common, low self esteem.

According to Selfesteeminternational.org, recovering addicts and alcoholics indicate that low self esteem is the biggest problem in their lives. They feel alcohol is only a symptom to the alcoholic's real disease, alcohol or drugs act as a mask. Low self esteem causes and contributes to anxiety, neurosis, defensiveness and ultimately

Selfesteeminternational.org surveyed some 18 year olds who reported using drugs or alcohol heavily. They reported using when they were as young as seven. They indicated feeling alienated by their families, not good enough, anxious, unhappy and overly impulsive. 66% of high school seniors surveyed reported using drugs or alcohol heavily in order to fit in and fill a personal void.

Low self esteem is painful and difficult to deal with, so many people start self medicating through drugs and alcohol but it soon turns destructive. By drinking or using drugs a vicious cycle of more self hatred starts and before you know it, your life is completely out of control. One drink turns into two, two turns in to three and before you know it your life is all about drinking. You family doesn't want you around, you have spent all your money and lost your job. Your actions only lead to more self hate and disappointment in yourself.

It is difficult to estimate how many people are experiencing low self esteem, but it is safe to say many people suffer from at least one of the symptoms. Maybe you are happy to see someone fail, overly aggressive, do not recognize your own good qualities, or try to please others because you do not know how to say no. There are many reasons why people have low self esteem however, it is not just one isolated incident that causes it. Typically low self esteem is brought on by many years of unpleasant memories and criticism. The criticism can come from anyone, a parent, teacher or society.

Fortunately there is help out these for those suffering from drug and alcohol abuse. One of the most important factors in recovery is acceptance of the disease and being able to identify why you choose to be an addict in the first place. Often it is difficult to address years of low self esteem in a twelve week program. That is why follow up counseling and treatment is recommended. One new treatment that is being recommended is hypnosis. Hypnosis works with the subconscious mind to identify painful memories causing the low self esteem and help the patient work through the memory and develop new self confidence. Hypnosis is done in a safe environment and is chemical free which appeals to many recovering addicts.

Some people feel therapy and counseling is the best and only treatment needed to help recovering addicts. Unfortunately, if this were true all rehab facilities would offer a 100% cure rate. Most can not even offer a 70% cure rate. It is important to have a treatment plan that will help to identify why you started abusing drugs or alcohol in the first place, and this is difficult to do with a counselor. Often addicts have little trust in counselors and are more censored when talking until they get to know the counselor. Since hypnosis works with the subconscious mind, it allows the addict to think and speak openly about low self esteem issues.

Drug and alcohol abuse is a very serious problem, but what is more concerning is the underlying behavior of self hate. Until that issue is dealt with, the thought of alcohol and drug abuse is always there for the addict. There are many ways to help improve self esteem but why not do it in a safe environment and start dealing with the real problem today.

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