Low Self-Esteem and Mental Illness

Here's what's happening on the HealthyPlace site this week:

Low Self-Esteem and Mental Illness: Part of the Package

In reading through adult ADHD blogger, Douglas Cootey's post on ADHD and low self-esteem this week, something he said really stood out for me:

"Not every adult who has ADHD will beat themselves up, but many of us have been scolded so often by society for underperforming that we've learned to scold ourselves. It's foolish and self-destructive, but then we humans specialize in being silly that way."

Mental health research shows that depression goes hand-in-hand with mental illness. I'll add another one to the list, low self-esteem. Several research studies refute claims that stigma is relatively inconsequential. In fact, studies suggest that stigma strongly influences the self-esteem of people who have mental illness. When, because you have a mental illness, you are repeatedly rejected as a friend, an employee, a neighbor, or an intimate partner and devalued as a person who is less trustworthy, less intelligent, and less competent, it's difficult to feel good about yourself and the situation you find yourself in.

In a 2003 study on the Relationship Between Low Self-Esteem and Psychiatric Diagnosis, the authors conclude that there is a vicious cycle between low self-esteem and psychiatric disorders. Low self-esteem makes individuals susceptible to develop psychiatric conditions, particularly depressive disorders, eating disorders, and substance use disorders. The occurrence of these disorders subsequently lowers self-esteem even further. When more than one psychiatric disorder is present, say the authors, then the effects on self-esteem are additive.

Unfortunately, stigma is a contributing factor to maintaining low self-esteem. Mental health professionals, therapists, will tell you it's never too late to build healthy, positive self-esteem. In some cases where the emotional hurt is deep or long lasting, it can take the help of a counselor or therapist to guide you through the process of learning to love yourself and realize what's unique and special about you. There's no instant fix though. It takes time and patience and being around people who are supportive and a positive influence to improve your self-esteem.

Other HealthyPlace Articles on Self-Esteem

Share Your Mental Health Experiences

Share your thoughts on "stigma of mental illness" or any mental health subject, or respond to other people's audio posts, by calling our toll-free number (1-888-883-8045).

You can listen to what other people are saying by clicking on the gray title bars inside the widgets located on the "Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences" homepage, the HealthyPlace homepage, and the HealthyPlace Support Network homepage.

If you have any questions, write us at: info AT

"How To Cope With People Living With Borderline Personality Disorder" On HealthyPlace TV

As with all mental illnesses, understanding the condition can be helpful. But for most, it's the BPD behaviors that put a loved on the edge. How to deal with that - on this week's HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show.

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Watch the interview with our guest, BPD Life Coach A.J. Mahari, currently featured on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show website until next Wednesday; watch it here after that.

Still to Come in July on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show

  • Avoidant Personality Disorder
  • Irritable Male Syndrome: Why Some Mid-Life Men Turn Mean
  • How I Overcame Deadly Depression

If you would like to be a guest on the show or share your personal story in writing or via video, please write us at: producer AT

Click here for a list of previous HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Shows.

From HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs

Your comments and observations are welcomed.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of any blog post. And visit the mental health blogs homepage for the latest posts.

Mental Health Bloggers Wanted

We are looking for talented writers willing to share personal experiences, insights and knowledge. The details are here.

back to: Mental-Health Newsletter Index

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2010, July 7). Low Self-Esteem and Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Last Updated: September 4, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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