Understanding Codependency

A codependent relationship consists of two individuals with dysfunctional personality traits where one relies on the other for meeting all of their emotional needs. Codependency also refers to a relationship where one person enables another’s irresponsible, addictive, or underachieving behavior. 

Codependency is often seen in family members of those with substance abuse issues. When a person is struggling with addiction, having a loved one who is codependent can make it even more difficult to achieve recovery. Codependent symptoms can worsen if they are not treated. Fortunately, treatment to reverse codependent behaviors is possible. 

Symptoms of Codependency 

All relationships are unique, but there are some common signs of symptoms of codependency or being in a codependent relationship. It’s important to note that codependent individuals may not display all of the symptoms listed. Some of the common signs of codependency include:

The Development of Codependency 

As human beings, we are naturally dependent on our caregivers for food and safety. A child’s attachment to their caregiver is necessary for survival- both physically and emotionally. 

Codependent behavior can stem from childhood, especially if the individual was exposed to addiction or had a troubled relationship with a parent early on. It can also be a learned behavior if the individual picked up cues from a parent that had codependent qualities.

If a parent is unable to provide a stable, supportive, and comforting home environment, codependency symptoms can arise when the child steps into the caregiver role or you feel flawed or unworthy. Unresolved childhood difficulties can contribute to adult codependent behavior when faced with a new relationship. 

Codependency and Addiction

Addiction and codependency often go hand-in-hand as codependency was originally associated with partners of alcoholics. Addiction is a complex disease that presents its fair share of challenges to both the user as well as their loved ones. The illness places pressure on the loved ones to help the addicted person function better. Because it can be incredibly difficult to face, loved ones may want to ignore the problem or pretend that the behavior is acceptable. This, however, only makes it worse in the long run for everybody involved. By justifying the behavior, the individual is simply enabling their loved one’s addiction. 

Codependency Treatment

Treatment for codependency usually involves uncovering early childhood issues and how they have contributed to current destructive relationship patterns. The first step towards changing unhealthy behaviors is to understand it. An effective treatment plan for codependent individuals usually includes educational therapy, experiential groups as well as individual and group therapy. Those who are suffering from substance abuse and addiction will need to go through detoxification while simultaneously receiving psychological treatment for codependency issues. 

Recovery requires a significant amount of growth for both the addicted individual as well as the codependent loved one. Luckily, treatment is available to those who would like to regain control over their lives. People will learn how to maneuver through recovery and establish healthy relationships in sobriety. Contact us today for more information.