After Teen Rehab: Navigating Body-Image and Self-Esteem Challenges
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Drug use can impact many aspects of life for teenagers, including body image and self-esteem. These issues can lead to drug use and linger during recovery and after they leave teen drug rehab. Teens may face different challenges due to drug use affecting their feelings about themselves and their bodies.

As we explore the connection between teen drug use, self-esteem, and recovery, we’ll also examine how co-occurring mental health issues factor in and how teens can boost their self-esteem during recovery.

What is the Connection Between Body Image, Self-Esteem, and Teen Drug Abuse?

If teens suffer from poor body image, their self-esteem will suffer. For some, this can lead to drug use to cope with the self-esteem issues that can come with negative body image. Teens may turn to drugs or alcohol to increase their confidence, make friends, or escape from feelings of depression.

While body image issues and low self-esteem can lead to drug use, these problems can also arise during the recovery process after teen drug rehab. Addiction-related behaviors can leave teenagers less than pleased about their appearance because using drugs wreaks havoc on the body for many reasons.

Here are several things to consider 1:

  • When teens use drugs, many are not paying attention to the food they put into their bodies, resulting in poor nutrition. When the body is not getting the nutrients it needs, the appearance of skin and hair can be negatively affected.
  • Dental health problems can lead to yellow teeth, cavities, and gum disease.
  • Some teens may also have bruises and other scars due to drug use.

When teens are addicted to drugs or alcohol, they typically neglect self-care. So, when they look in the mirror, they don’t like what they see and begin to feel bad about themselves. Many don’t realize this consequence until the recovery process as they step away from drugs and start to get on the path to sobriety.

Self-Esteem And Recovery After Teen Drug Rehab

Since these body image and self-esteem issues may not surface until teens go through the teen drug rehab process, they need to be aware of how this can hinder their recovery.

Low self-esteem can make it difficult for teens to be successful in the recovery process because they may feel like they are not worthy. They may feel no point getting past their addiction and not trying as hard. This can easily lead to relapse if these self-esteem challenges are not addressed.

How Co-occurring Mental Health Issues Impact Self-Esteem and Recovery

Besides self-esteem issues, many teens simultaneously deal with mental health issues. Some research has indicated that as many as 60% of adolescents are dealing with a dual diagnosis. 2 For many teens, their mental health issues lead to their drug use.

For these teens, getting treatment for both conditions simultaneously is essential. Without addressing both at the same time, teens will not be able to have the successful recovery they deserve because there will always be something else lingering.

Since mental health issues can lead to low self-esteem and body issues, addressing these and a substance use disorder is the best way to succeed in recovery. At Ember Recovery, we offer dual diagnosis treatment to help teens deal with both conditions. Our team provides therapies and other proven methods to help teens with these co-occurring conditions best.

At Teen Drug Rehab: How Teens Can Boost Self-Esteem During Recovery

As teen seek help for a substance abuse disorder, mental health issue, or both, there are several steps they can take to boost their self-esteem during recovery. Consider these suggestions to help get your teen on the right path:

Practice Self-Care

Encourage your teen to exercise, eat right, and care for themselves. This will improve their body image and self-esteem. These benefits will aid their recovery as they take pride in their appearance.


If your teen blames themselves for their actions, it will result in low self-esteem and hinder their recovery. Allow them to forgive themselves for their mistakes. Studies show that people who forgive themselves for past mistakes experience less depression and anxiety.3 This can also help teens with a dual diagnosis.

Set Achievable Goals

Help your teen set achievable goals. As they reach their goals, they will gain more self-esteem. When this mounts, it will do wonders for their recovery.

Accept Compliments

People with low self-esteem often have difficulty accepting compliments because they think they don’t deserve them.3 Teach your teen to say thank you and take the praise at face value rather than trying to dissect it.

Seek Professional Support

Having a support network during recovery can give the teens the cheering squads they need to keep going. Knowing there is someone who has your back can help you feel good about yourself.

Teen Drug Rehab Services at Ember Recovery

At Ember Recovery, we are committed to helping boost teens’ self-esteem with our teen drug rehab services. We offer a variety of programs aimed at tackling substance abuse disorders as well as mental health diagnoses. For more information on our teen treatment programs, call us today or contact us online.