Low self-esteem and depression both fill a mind with negative thoughts. Beliefs about oneself form the self-esteem either positively or negatively. Negative experiences with others may greatly influence the low self-esteem someone develops. Depression, rather, is a psychological and physical disorder that stems from within, but can be influenced by self-esteem. Researchers unlocked some of the connections between the two and found that people with low self-esteem have an increased risk of falling into depression. If those with low self-esteem can be swiftly treated, then they may be protected from the grip of depression. More Than Just Feeling Low A low self-esteem can prevent a person from pursuing goals, fulfilling hopes, and rising to their full potential. Many people start seeing flaws in themselves or misjudging their strengths when they are young. They feel isolated and unworthy, and believe that they are destined to fail in whatever they may pursue. Bullies, mental or physical abuse, or loneliness can all trigger low self-esteem. More Than Feeling Blue Depression can’t be cured by “cheering someone up.” Depression is most often caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, although it can be caused by trauma or the death of a loved one. Depression drains a person of both mental and physical energy, depleting their motivation and isolating them from family and friends. A Decrease in Self-esteem Can Increase Depression Swiss researcher, Julia Friederike Sowislo of the Department of Psychology at the University of Basel, recently examined the unique relationships between low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. She researched 95 different reviews that involved participants of all different ages. Sowislo discovered that low self-esteem could increase depression, but that depression didn’t seem to decrease self-esteem as much. When she analyzed self-esteem and anxiety she found that both seemed to negatively affect each other. Self-esteem’s impact on increasing depression was apparent. Harmful Combinations The combination of a low self-esteem with depression causes a vicious cycle of helplessness. Depression can debilitate someone from socializing, even while that person who has a poor self-concept is angry with themself for not having many friends. Both depression and low self-esteem are also often related to eating disorders. Low self-esteem can distort views of a normal body so that a person feels the need to lose weight and look more attractive. When they believe they have failed they may fall into depression. The depression, then, can prevent them from finding the mental and physical strength to work towards their goals. From Lower to Higher Sowislo encourages doctors to look at all of the forces at work when someone is suffering from either low self-esteem or depression. Therapy and medications can help treat low self-esteem and depression. For those suffering from depression, she believes that treatment should focus on making sure the self-concept is strong. Programs that help people see their strengths and the value of their life may help them avoid falling into a deeper depression later.