Codependency Within the Context of Addiction

Codependency, in the context of addiction, refers to the overt and harmful emotional involvement of a person in the life of an addict. Nobody suffers more than the addict’s loved ones while the addict is in the full throws of their habit. The heartbreak of watching someone go through addiction can render loved ones incapable of the emotional detachment needed to successfully convince an addict to deal with their problem. Their emotional bias can cause them to enable the victim, and perpetuate the addictive cycle. Codependency is evident in a person’s over-compliance, weak will, low self-esteem and compulsion to please. Typically a codependent person’s inclination toward excessive caretaking is a crippling deterrent to the patient getting the real help they need for lasting sobriety. Codependency is a serious issue that warrants compassionate psychiatric assistance.

Codependency In Other Contexts

There are other forms of codependency that also mandate a certain level of psychological evaluation. Codependents go to irrational extremes in the maintenance of somebody else. This can occur within the family, the workforce, a romantic relationship, etc. It’s not uncommon for a codependent to see to the well-being of someone else, while completely neglecting their own. Theirs is a serious and common psychological problem that dictates behavioral patterns daily.

Causes of Codependency

Codependency can develop through a number of circumstances, although a common point of origin is within the family. The child of an unloving parent often seeks approval, respect, trust and protection well beyond adolescence, and their insecurities can frequently evolve into codependency. It’s also possible for a parent to become codependent on their child through their own fears of rejection or loneliness. Other common contributors to codependency include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Social anxiety
  • Verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse

Treatment for Codependency

Understanding and overcoming codependent tendencies requires self-awareness and long-term dedication to exploratory psychotherapy. Using therapy as a tool to peel back layers of behavior to find the core motivation for codependent behavior is the only effective way to prevent repetition of this inherently self-destructive behavior. Unfortunately, since codependency so often grows out of traumatic events, it can be difficult for a patient to confront their own feelings on the matter. If you or someone close to you is locked in a codependent relationship, call us now. 

Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime toll-free at (800) 784-6776 or through our online form, and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.