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How Self-Esteem Can Affect Depression

self esteem and depression

Self-esteem and depression are, often, intrinsically linked. Often, the afflictions appear to mirror each other, making diagnosis difficult yet essential because low self-image, while potentially damaging, is a far cry from depression disorder. While low self-esteem is a risk factor for depression, the two are not the same. If an adolescent in your life has a poor self-image and is showing signs of struggling to cope with self-esteem and depression, don’t hesitate to contact Imagine Spokane online today or call 509.870.3810 to learn how our cognitive-behavioral therapy program can help.

The Similarities and Differences of Self-Esteem and Depression

Both self-esteem and depression have a wide range of severity, from high to low self-esteem, and no depressive symptoms to debilitating depression.

Self-esteem is the way your teen views themself, including:

  • Obsessing about their flaws
  • Seeing positive characteristics
  • Their self-image
  • Worrying about being good enough
  • Dismissing their own ideas

One’s self-esteem is developed by experiences, thoughts, feelings, and relationships a person has over the course of a life. Of course, an adolescent child doesn’t have a lot of life experience to draw on, so if your teen has low self-esteem, they likely see themselves as highly flawed, quickly dismiss their own thoughts and opinions, and worry that they are not good enough. Someone with low self-esteem may also struggle to accept compliments and positive feedback, and believe that others do things better and are smarter than they are.

Depression, on the other hand, is much more than just feeling sad and having poor self-esteem. This mental health disorder drains a person, reduces energy levels, and makes everyday activities difficult. Depression also will interfere with eating habits and sleeping patterns. Unlike self-esteem, depression requires medical care and treatment.  

The Similarities Between Self-Esteem and Depression

Low self-esteem and depression in teens share many of the same signs and symptoms, including:

  • A decrease in academic performance
  • Aggressive or reckless behavior, anger, and violence
  • Interpersonal relationship issues
  • Self-consciousness
  • Sexual risk-taking
  • Social withdrawal and avoiding friends and family
  • Substance use

The Differences Between Self-Esteem and Depression

As many things as self-esteem and depression have in common, there are obvious differences between them, proving emphatically that they are different concepts and separate issues requiring dedicated approaches. It is likely that low self-esteem becomes a risk factor for depression in adolescent children.

A noticeable difference between self-esteem and depression is that some teens will try to compensate for low self-esteem by becoming a people pleaser and trying to excel in academics or behave well as a way of being accepted and, essentially, loved more by the people in their life.

Alternatively, teens suffering from depression will have noticeable negative changes in their behavior and academic performance. They will also suffer a loss of interest in the social activities they once enjoyed and in their outward appearance.

How Self-Esteem Can Impact Depression

Many teens battling depression will likely also have low self-esteem, which can feed their depression by further convincing themselves that they have less worth than others, are not deserving of praise, and, in extreme cases, don’t belong here. 

Some of the warning signs of low self-esteem include:

  • Not accepting compliments
  • Avoiding new opportunities
  • Blaming others for their own mistakes
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Negative self-image
  • Fear of failure or being embarrassed
  • Feeling unloved
  • Lack of motivation

If your teen is suffering from depression, they may experience all of the above signs typically associated with low self-esteem in addition to the following signs, each of which is a red flag that they have self-esteem and depression issues that need to be treated by a professional.

  • Anger
  • Sleeping well but still feeling tired
  • Inability to sleep (or sleeping too much)
  • Prolonged irritability
  • Dramatic changes in appetite
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Suicidal ideation or suicide attempts

Learn More at Imagine Spokane

Our cognitive-behavioral therapy program can help your teen with both their issues with low self-esteem and major depressive disorder. Reach out to us online or call us at 509.870.3810 today to get them the help they need and deserve.