Most of us understand how low self-esteem can adversely affect our emotional health, but, can it really affect our physical health?
Can Low Self-Esteem Affect Physical Health?
It is to be expected that low self-esteem could lead to issues like anxiety and depression.
Individuals who lack self-esteem have little confidence in themselves. This lack of confidence can cause feelings of fear and even panic attacks when faced with a situation they find extremely uncomfortable and don’t want to be in.
Depression may be the first and most common adverse effect which stems from low self-esteem. This is because these individuals often have the belief and feeling that they are not enough or that they are worthless as a human being. This will often cause them to isolate themselves from family and friends.
When a person is depressed, isolation becomes the perfect breeding ground for thinking more negative, self-defeating thoughts. This will cause the depression to become worse and can often lead to thoughts of suicide.
Everyone experiences stressful situations in life. But for a person who suffers from low self-esteem stress which is ordinary for most people can be overwhelming. Overwhelming stress can contribute to anxiety and panic attacks. Research also shows that prolonged stress can be a serious threat to our physical health.
Low Self-Esteem Can Cause Drastic Changes In Weight
Change in weight, either weight gain or weight loss, can negatively affect one’s physical health.
Some people will attempt to use food to fill the void created by low self-esteem. We know that excessive weight gain can cause heart disease and/or diabetes. But there are many more illnesses caused by weight gain that are not as common and well known.
Low-self-esteem can cause a person to fixate on their body image and develop the belief that they would feel better about themselves if they had a more appealing physical appearance. This can lead to bulimia and anorexia, resulting in excessive weight loss. Bulimia will cause them to either refuse to eat or binge eat and purge their food. Anorexia and bulimia led to congestive heart failure and caused the death of pop artist Karen Carpenter at the young age of 32.
Looking for Something to Fill the Void
Some people turn to alcohol to ease their emotional pain. Others will turn to drugs and, unfortunately, can become addicted. It can be an addiction to either prescription or street drugs. They use these substances in hopes it will give them a false sense of self-esteem so they can feel better about themselves.
Alcohol and drugs can give them the nerve to do things they ordinarily wouldn’t do, which they might feel good about. But, any sane person can see the danger in this approach. Abuse can cause liver problems, heart disease and is suspected of contributing to the development of cancer in some people.
These challenges caused by low self-esteem are just the tip of the iceberg. It is important for anyone who doesn’t feel worthy and doesn’t have a high level of self-esteem to begin looking for healthy solutions that don’t cause greater and more serious emotional and physical problems.