Self-esteem disorders include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and obsessive/compulsive behavior. Narcissism also identifies a self-esteem disorder that might appear as high self-esteem and confidence. Psychologists commonly agree that self-esteem disorders begin in childhood as a result of abuse, bullying, or frequent humiliation.
Depression stemming from low self-esteem typically centers on feelings of worthlessness. Patients suffering depression might tolerate abuse from others because they believe they deserve poor treatment. As abuse continues, depression might become deeper and lead to the use of drugs, alcohol, or food as a form of self-medication.
Some people afflicted with self-esteem disorders hold ideals of perfectionism. They might constantly seek ways to be accepted and have trouble tolerating failure. Obsessive/compulsive disorder represents one result of low self-esteem. When these patients cannot maintain self-imposed standards of perfection, it might lead to repeating certain behaviors that ease the stress of daily life.
Self-esteem disorders might also develop as anxiety. People with this problem commonly worry about how others view them. They might dwell on measuring up to what they think others expect of them and become vigilant about not upsetting other people. The fear of rejection might cause a person with this disorder to become passive or aggressive as a way to deal with anxiety.
Some self-esteem disorders also appear as eating disorders, which include anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. These problems might first arise as patients try to lose weight to fit an ideal body image, but still view their body as unattractive despite loss of weight. Anorexics might resort to extreme dieting by refusing to eat food, even when body weight drops dangerously low.
Bulimia represents a progressive disorder that typically start as anorexia. The patient binges on large quantities of food before purging or using laxatives. Binging might produce feelings of guilt and the need to vomit to rid the body of calories consumed. Binging includes eating huge amounts of food without purging, follow by self-loathing linked to obesity.
Patients suffering from narcissistic self-esteem disorders might exhibit an attitude of superiority. They may believe they deserve special treatment because they are more talented or smarter than other people. These patients might take advantage of others because they lack empathy. Although narcissists might appear highly confident, they commonly suffer from poor self-esteem disorders that might cause them to react with anger and criticism around other people.
People with self-esteem disorders might have trouble in relationships because they feel unworthy of love. They often do not set boundaries, or they might appear very needy. Poor communication skills represent another symptom of low self-esteem that might affect social and personal relationships. This might result in refusal to discuss issues or becoming fearful of asking for what people want or need.