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Discovering Self-Compassion

Self-Esteem and Past Drug Abuse: What’s the Connection?

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Self-esteem is part of human ego. It is one of the most difficult areas of human psychology to readjust once past drug abuse has been identified as an individual's obsessive/compulsive behavioral traits.

In the early studies of drug addiction, self-esteem played less of a role in determining motivation for addiction. Self-esteem plays an enormous role in determining which individuals become addicted and self-destructive.

Self-Evaluation and Self-Esteem
How individuals view themselves is tied to their sense of self-esteem. Individuals who value themselves highly are less likely to challenge their personal evaluations than those with lower senses of self-esteem. However, drug abuse can also be a result of a single life-shattering incident. Still, the weaker the level of self-esteem, the more likely such incidents impact those who view themselves as inadequate. Life challenges often create a serious sense of inadequacy, incompetency and diminished coping skills among those with addictive personalities.

Once drug abuse becomes a regular part of an individual's life, lack of self-esteem becomes more obvious. Drug abuse doesn't just affect the abuser. It has a ripple effect on family and friends. They might not have previously doubted their own level of self-esteem, feel helpless and unable to control the addict.

The Link Between Self-Esteem and Past Drug Abuse
Clinical psychologists understand the link between self-esteem and past drug abuse. Depending on the type of drugs abused in the past, restoring self-esteem can be chemically difficult. Society demonizes certain drugs and drug addicts according to the types of drugs used. For example, the stereotype of heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine are far different than that of meth or drugs like Oxycontin. Heroin and cocaine addicts face a greater challenge trying to raise their level of self-esteem, due to society's belief these people can't be cured of their "habit," and therefore, they are unable to restore self-esteem. Whereas, meth and prescription drug abusers are viewed with less severity. Their level of self-esteem is believed to be "easier" to restore.

The reality for all professionals in drug rehabilitation and drug treatment centers is that past drug abuse is linked to low self-esteem. By helping addicts value themselves, addicts are not segregated by types of drugs abused or stereotypes. All addicts are equally capable of restoring their self-esteem.

Time and Therapy - The Past Drug Abuser's Tools to Restore Self-Esteem
Therapy is extremely important to restore self-esteem. Former addicts learn the elements of physical and mental self-destruction related to drug abuse. They also learn they have value and need help finding it.

They are challenged to endure those first months of drug withdrawal by recognizing their own sense of self-esteem and reconstructing their sense of adequacy. Drug rehab centers in Utah have become nationally known for their success rate in rehabilitating past drug abusers. Therapies at drug rehab centers all over the US evaluate their patients’ physical, mental, emotional and spiritual condition at the time of admission to rehab. This creates a clearer picture of the best approach to rehabilitating each patient according to their personal and specific needs. The time spent in rehab almost always results in successful treatment of addiction.

Group and Individual Therapy
For those with obsessive/compulsive, addictive personalities, it's enormously helpful for drug rehab centers to offer therapy for groups and individuals during the period of rehabilitation. The cohesive value of group therapy helps raise levels of self-esteem by allowing patients to interact with others with the same personality types and addictions. Families and friends of patients are also affected by past drug abuse and require participation in rehabilitation to restore their levels of self-esteem.