New Start | Treatment | Mental Health | Codependency

Codependency

Due to their high levels of need/dysfunction, alcoholics and drug addicts are at particular risk for developing codependent relationships with their close loved ones. Counter intuitively, "over-loving" addicts often results in the progression of their disease as their problematic behaviors are continually enabled.

Co-dependency is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.
—  Source:  Mental Health America

Symptoms of Codependency

It is important to understand that codependency is not physical disease/disorder like depression or anxiety. It cannot be diagnosed by a psychiatrist or treated with medication because it is purely relational. Although an underlying disorder may be driving some of the problem, codependent behavior needs to be addressed with a therapist. New Start’s residential program offers family therapy after the initial detox period.

Manic Episodes

High Energy

Increased Activity

Impulsiveness

Insomnia

Irritable

Racing Thoughts

Reckless Behavior

Depressive Episodes

Low Energy

Decreased Activity

Feeling Worried

Hopelessness

Excessive Fatigue

Changed Appetite

Lack of Concentration

Codependency Dynamics

Codependency

Problems look very different (and present different consequences) depending on what role a person takes in their codependent relationship. 

Sometimes codependency is one-sided. Typically, a generally healthy loved one becomes codependent on their spouse, parent, or other loved one who suffers from some kind of addiction or sickness. This codependent person becomes “addicted to the relationship” and exhibits unhealthy, enabling behaviors. This can include trying to take care of the addict, measuring out doses, covering for them, helping them lie, etc. Although this feels warm and fuzzy to the codependent, these behaviors can easily turn into loving their addict to death. Therapy helps establish healthy boundaries for these individuals.

Codependency is the result of someone fulfilling a loved one’s needs, typically an addict or sick person. While being involved with a codependent person may feel good in the beginning, it can be very destructive long term. The enabling behavior of the codependent provides an environment for the addict to bask in their addiction relatively free of consequences. It is important to bring these family members to treatment, establish healthy boundaries, and lessen the chance of relapse by nipping it in the bud.

The term codependent relationship originally described two dependent addicts using and/or drinking together. Dual dysfunction, anyone? Two addicts in a relationship together are much less likely to recognize problematic behavior (in either themselves or their partner) and seek help as compared to one addict surrounded by normies. Although it may feel impossible, usually the only way for this situation to improve is for one addict to leave the relationship and seek help. Although many couples in these situations try to “get clean together,” this is never recommended. Early recovery requires a level of focus and “selfishness” that can’t accommodate another unstable addict, no matter how good their intentions may be. 

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