Personal Development

Do Antidepressants Help With Self Esteem? Explained!

Antidepressants are commonly prescribed medications for individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. One of the many symptoms of depression is low self-esteem, which can profoundly impact a person’s overall well-being.

While antidepressants are effective at improving mood and reducing symptoms of depression, many people wonder: Do antidepressants help with self esteem?

Yes, antidepressants can help with self esteem, as they can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, which can both have a negative impact on self-esteem. 

In this blog, we will explore the link between antidepressants and self-esteem, looking at the evidence for and against their use in treating low self-esteem.

How Do Antidepressants Work?

Antidepressants work by affecting the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly serotonin. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant and work by increasing the amount of serotonin available in the brain.

This can improve mood, reduce feelings of sadness, and increase self-esteem. However, it can take several weeks for the medication to take effect, and some patients may experience potential side effects during this period.

The Link Between Depression and Self-Esteem

Depression and low self-esteem often go hand in hand. People who suffer from depression often have negative thoughts and feelings about themselves, leading to a vicious cycle of low self-esteem and worsening depression.

Conversely, those with low self-esteem are more likely to develop depression as they may lack confidence, feel inadequate, and struggle to cope with challenges.

Improving self-esteem through therapy, self-care, and positive affirmations can be helpful steps in managing and preventing depression.

The Evidence for Antidepressants and Self-Esteem

Antidepressants are commonly prescribed for treating depression and anxiety, often associated with low self-esteem. While antidepressants can improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression, their effect on self-esteem is less clear.

Some studies have suggested that antidepressants may improve self-esteem indirectly by reducing symptoms of depression, while others have found no significant impact on self-esteem.

So, it is essential for individuals considering antidepressant treatment to discuss potential benefits and risks with their healthcare provider.

Do Antidepressants Help With Self Esteem?

Antidepressants are primarily designed to alleviate symptoms of depression, such as persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, and feelings of worthlessness. While improved mood can lead to an increased sense of self-worth and confidence, antidepressants are not specifically intended to target self-esteem.

However, some studies have suggested that certain types of antidepressants may positively affect self-esteem. For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have increased self-esteem in some patients.

You should note that self-esteem is a complex and multifaceted construct, and the effects of antidepressants on self-esteem may vary from person to person. Additionally, you should address the underlying causes of low self-esteem through therapy, other interventions, and medication.

Can Depression Make You Have Low Self-Esteem?

Yes, depression can cause low self-esteem. Depression is a mental health condition that can cause individuals to experience feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and sadness. These persistent and intense feelings can lead to a negative perception of oneself and a loss of self-esteem.

Depressed individuals may find it difficult to see their strengths and accomplishments and may focus solely on their perceived flaws and weaknesses. Additionally, depression can lead to a lack of motivation and energy, making engaging in activities that boost self-confidence and self-esteem challenging.

How to Improve Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is the measure of how individuals view themselves. Having healthy self-esteem is vital for mental health and well-being. People with low self-esteem often suffer from symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The good news is that there are various ways to improve self-esteem.


Therapy is one effective way to improve self-esteem. Behavioral and interpersonal therapy can help individuals understand their negative thought patterns and replace them with positive ones. Family therapy and sex therapy can also help improve self-esteem.


Medication can be used in conjunction with therapy to treat severe depression or other mental health disorders that affect self-esteem. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed to help regulate serotonin levels in the brain, which can improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.


Participating in activities that bring joy and a sense of accomplishment can help improve self-esteem. This can be anything from taking up a new hobby to volunteering or pursuing a new career.


Studies have shown that low self-esteem is associated with decreased activity in brain areas responsible for positive emotions. However, studies have also shown that therapy, medication, and activities can increase activity in these areas, improving self-esteem.


Placebo is a treatment with no active ingredient but can still positively affect the patient. Studies have shown that the placebo effect can improve self-esteem and other mental health symptoms.

Potential Downsides Of Using Antidepressants For Low Self-Esteem

Antidepressants are commonly used to treat symptoms of depression, but some people may also use them to treat low self-esteem. While antidepressants may effectively treat certain mental health conditions, using them for low self-esteem may have potential downsides.

Impact on Treatment

Antidepressants are not specifically designed to treat low self-esteem, so using them for this purpose may not be as effective as other forms of treatment. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that using antidepressants for low self-esteem did not significantly improve symptoms compared to placebo.

Potential Side Effects

Antidepressants have a range of potential side effects, including nausea, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and insomnia. Some people may also experience increased anxiety or suicidal thoughts when taking antidepressants. These side effects can impact a patient’s daily life and may lead to medication discontinuation.

Long-Term Effects on the Brain

Antidepressants increase serotonin levels in the brain, which can have long-term effects on the brain’s chemistry. While serotonin is crucial for regulating mood, long-term use of antidepressants can alter the brain’s natural balance of serotonin. This can potentially lead to changes in brain function and increase the risk of developing other mental health conditions.

Limited Impact on Self-Esteem

While antidepressants may help alleviate symptoms of depression, they may not have a significant impact on self-esteem. Self-esteem is a complex issue that can be influenced by various factors, including life experiences, relationships, and personal beliefs. Addressing these underlying issues through therapy or other forms of treatment may be more effective in improving self-esteem.

Dependency on Medication

Antidepressants can be habit-forming and may lead to dependency. Some patients may develop a tolerance to the medication, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects. This can lead to a cycle of dependence on medication that may be difficult to break.

Read More: How To Build Self Esteem After Being Cheated On?

Final Words

The discussion above on “Do antidepressants help with self esteem?” has provided a good insight into the efficacy of antidepressants in improving self-esteem.

While most experts agree that antidepressants can help improve self-esteem, some suggest that lifestyle changes and psychotherapy are more effective in the long run.

Furthermore, the side effects of antidepressants can be severe and should be considered before taking them.

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