Low Self Esteem and Depression

Low Self Esteem and Depression: The Relationship

Low self esteem and depression are related. The simplest way to think about the link between the two is that low self-esteem can be a symptom of depression, but low self esteem does not necessarily indicate depression.


Are Low Self Esteem and Depression the Same Thing?

Low self esteem and depression are not the same thing, though low self-esteem is almost always a symptom of depression.

To understand, some definitions are needed. By depression I am referring to a specific set of cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms which you feel are problematic and interfere with your ability to work, go to school, and form and maintain relationships. Symptoms like excessive eating or sleeping, poor hygiene, difficulty getting out of bed, and missed work or school are examples.

Low self esteem in depression can be seen in thoughts like “I’m worthless,” “I don’t matter to anyone,” “My work is meaningless”.

Low self esteem, on the other hand, is a cognitive and emotional relationship to yourself. Low self esteem can be seen in depression, but also can be seen in those that are shy or anxious. The cognitive signs of low self esteem often include thoughts like “I don’t have anything to offer,” “No one cares what my opinion is,” or “That idea will be shot down”.


What are the causes of low self esteem and depression?

There are many elements that can lead to low self esteem and/or depression. Generally these factors can be divided into environmental and biological factors.

For depression biological factors include: family history of depression, low levels of serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters. Environmental factors include exposure to trauma, neglect, or trauma.

Low self esteem is primarily viewed as environmental, with experiences of rejection, failure, embarrassment, shame, and anxiety underlying most feelings of low self esteem.


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