It has been suggested that individuals with low self-esteem are more likely to choose maladaptive coping behaviors, such as abuse of opioids, when faced with life stressors.
In a recent study conducted in New York, over 1000 adults, of white ethnic identity and relatively high incomes, responded to an online survey that gathered information about five common life stressors (health, money, work, family, romance), their levels of self-esteem and indications of opium use.
Results indicated that of the five life stressors, health, family and romance were particularly associated with higher opioid use. It was also identified that individuals with lower self-esteem were more likely to use opium to cope with stressors stemming from family and romantic issues.
This study highlights the importance of understanding the risk factors and life stressors associated with opioid use in order to provide holistic support to those wishing to reduce the behaviour. It also underlines the importance of professionals conducting work with individuals in developing their self-respect and confidence in their ability to use alternative healthy coping behaviors.