How to Tell If it Is Depression, Anxiety or Low Self-Esteem?

Feelings of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem can overlap, and sometimes it’s hard to tell if it’s a serious disorder or if someone has just had a bad day. A person may have low-self esteem, along with conditions of depression and anxiety disorder. To better understand these disorders, and how serious they are, you can learn more about each and then compare them to your feelings and symptoms.

Learn about self-esteem. Self-esteem is defined as confidence in and respect for yourself. According to the National Association for Self-Esteem, people who have high self-esteem are respectful of themselves and others, have integrity, are self-motivated and more. The association points out a link between low self-esteem and addiction problems, depression, violence and other problems.

Learn about the difference between low self-esteem and depression. Unlike low-self esteem, major depression is a specific disorder that is diagnosed by doctors and therapists. The Mayo Clinic describes depression as an illness that is mental and physical, that can make people feel like they don’t want to go on living. Some of the many symptoms include lack of interest in everyday activities, feeling sad and hopeless, crying for no obvious reason, thoughts of suicide, problems sleeping and more. For a longer list, see the link at the end of this article for Mayo Clinic.

Depression can be treated with medication, therapy and treatment plans, or specialized plans of action created together by care providers and patients. Depression and low self-esteem are related, and many who have one may suffer from the other.

Learn about anxiety. Some anxiety or nervousness is normal, but if it begins to effect everyday functioning, a person could have generalized anxiety disorder, or another type of anxiety condition, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Some symptoms of the generalized disorder include constant worrying, restlessness, rapid heartbeat and more. To see a complete list of signs, and to read more about anxiety, see the Mayo Clinic links at the end of the article.

Consider that you may have a combination of these conditions. It’s possible to have both major depression and anxiety disorder, according to a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Hall-Flavin. One disorder may cause or complicate the other. Fortunately, the treatment for each is similar, and getting help for one will often help alleviate the other, explains Hall-Flavin. A person may also have low self-esteem without these conditions, or any combination of the three.

Seek out treatment. Only health professionals can accurately diagnose mental health problems and disorders. Once a diagnosis is made, a treatment plan can be set up. Treatment for both depression and anxiety disorder may include medication, and/or a choice of several types of therapy. Therapists can also help individuals work on low self-esteem, even if no mental health disorder is present. To find treatment options in your area, ask your regular physician, contact your insurance company for a list of doctors and therapists within your plan coverage, or try using an online locator, like Psychology Today’s “Find a Therapist” tool. See the link for this tool at the end of this article.