Depression and Self-Esteem: Understanding the Connection
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Depression and Self-Esteem

Depression

Depression is defined as a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest. These feelings can affect physical and emotional conditions within a person’s body. Serious symptoms of depression can increase the risk for strokes and heart disease. Some common symptoms people may experience are:

Mood

  • Apathy
  • Anxiety
  • Discontent
  • Hopelessness
  • Mood swings
  • Sadness

Cognitive Behavior

  • Lack of concentration
  • Lethargic in activity or thought
  • Thoughts of suicide

Sleep Patterns

  • Early awakening
  • Excess sleepiness
  • Insomnia
  • Restless

Body Functions

  • Excessive hunger
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight gain or loss

Types of Depression

There are many different types of depression. Depression can manifest in your life by the cause of life events, chemical changes in your brain, or changes in your lifestyle. The various types of depression are as listed:

Major Depression

Signs and symptoms:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Sleep troubles
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Signs and symptoms that last for two years or longer:

  • Change in appetite
  • Sleep too much or too little
  • Lack of energy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Feel hopeless

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Major depression often happens during the winter months since there is less sunlight and the days are shorter.

Psychotic Depression

Signs and symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression occurs in women soon after giving birth. Signs and symptoms:

  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Signs and symptoms that occur at the start of women’s period:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Change in appetite and sleep
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed

Situational Depression (Stress Response Syndrome)

Situational depression is a depressed mood when you’re having trouble managing a stressful event in your life (i.e. death, divorce, job loss).

Atypical Depression

Atypical depression is when a positive event can temporarily improve your mood. Signs and symptoms:

  • Increased appetite
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Oversensitive to criticism

It is important to seek professional help to receive an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. A mental health specialist can contribute to making the necessary changes in your lifestyle, from nutrition to talk therapy. Through cognitive behavioral therapy, support groups, and restoring the naturally needed chemicals that were depleted during the depression, you can restore your newly balanced life.

Treatment

Having a dual-diagnosis of both depression and substance abuse can make recovery even more challenging.

In the past, depression and chemical dependency were addressed as separate conditions and treated separately. At Ambrosia, we treat not only substance abuse and addiction but also the mental illness components. Our addiction professionals integrate individualized treatment plans for each client to treat the individual’s body, mind, and soul.

 

Treatment for depression encompasses some different strategies, like:

  • Centralized care provided in a single rehabilitation facility
  • A collaborative treatment team that includes psychologists, addiction counselors, and bipolar specialists
  • Individual psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on managing emotions and minimizing the risk of substance abuse
  • Support groups from others who are battling addiction and mood disorders

SELF-ESTEEM AND ADDICTION

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.”

Learning how to have and maintain a positive self-image has been found to be helpful in relieving and preventing troubling feelings and symptoms. Low self esteem is made up of thoughts, feelings, and opinions we have about ourselves. This means it is not fixed; it can be changed. But it is a process.

However, low self-esteem is a constant companion for too many people, especially those who experience depression, anxiety, phobias, psychosis, delusional thinking, or who have an illness (addiction) or disability. Low self-esteem can keep people from enjoying life, doing the things they want to do, and working towards personal goals. At these times, it is easy to be drawn into a downward spiral of lower and lower self-defeating thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

As one starts to gain a sense of ease in comfort by having self-esteem they have a higher chance of staying sober. Feeling confident about yourself and your circumstances allows you to avoid most dangerous situations; including getting high and or the lifestyle drugs and alcohol bring many people.

Many strategies can be used to achieve this sense of self:

  • changing your thought process
  • unlearning certain behaviors and beliefs
  • the efficient use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

FAQ’s: Where Does Self-Esteem Begin?

When encountering certain situations, the negative beliefs about who we are and what we can handle often causes us to react instead of respond. When that happens, our actions tend to be automatic and impulse-driven; we feel upset or emotionally blocked; our thinking narrows; our self-care deteriorates; we lose our sense of self; we focus on being in control and become self-absorbed.

These messages are learned when we were young or from many different sources, including:

  • other children
  • teachers
  • family members and caregivers
  • the media
  • prejudice and stigma in our society.

The two types of self-esteem are categorized as Situational – negative beliefs from other children, family, teachers; Global – negative stigmas from media and society. Once they have been learned, it is then easy to repeat these negative messages over and over to ourselves, especially when in active addiction. Once we begin to believe these thoughts, the worse the problem becomes. In the group, clients participate in strategies and activities that can help raise self-esteem.

  • Recovery – Get help through a 12-step program to put an end to self-destructive thoughts and actions.
  • Practice self-care – Create a positive mental, physical, and emotional lifestyle.
  • Develop a toolkit – Use essential life tools such as awareness and acceptance of progress in emotional stabilization.


“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” – Iyanla Vanzant

OUR APPROACH

The Ambrosia Treatment Centers treat both addiction and alcoholism along with any co-occurring mental health disorders. In addition to standard therapy and medication management, our program uses a team approach combining board certified psychiatrists and experienced mental health and substance abuse therapists as the optimal way to treat our clients. Therefore, families and those suffering from dual diagnosis can be restored together.

The first step is to rid the body of non-prescribed drugs and alcohol. When the detoxification process is complete, there still may be lingering symptoms of withdrawal such as:

  • cold sweats
  • shakes or tremors
  • nausea
  • sleeplessness
  • irritability

Ambrosia’s drug rehabs in California and Florida include:

  • Seven day a week/24-hour a day supervision
  • Dual-diagnosis or Co-occurring disorder evaluation & treatment
  • Daily group & individual counseling sessions
  • Twelve-step program education & attendance
  • Relapse prevention tracking
  • Health and nutrition education & physical fitness
  • Individualized treatment planning
  • Family counseling, therapy, and involvement
  • Psychiatric Evaluation and Medication assessment
  • Pain management education & treatment
  • Holistic interventions including acupuncture
  • Aftercare planning.

In addition to our comprehensive program, we also organize “sober” activities such as attending local 12-step functions (conferences, sober softball games, tennis, and golf, cookouts at the beach, bowling, and movies).

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