The concept of codependency is often talked about as a major factor in relationships. It can be particularly acute in relationships involving substance abuse. Partners of people with substance abuse can easily fall into the trap of enabling their loved one’s destructive behaviors. That makes the challenge of overcoming codependency severe.
According to Mental Health America, a non-profit organization, codependency has been described as a “relationship addiction.” What this means is one partner exists for the other. But in reaching that point, neither party benefits.
Codependency is important to understand in the context of treatment for substance abuse. To be successful in overcoming addiction, codependency is a factor to be addressed, which is why Georgia Addiction Treatment Center makes addressing codependency a cornerstone of its addiction treatment therapies.
What is Codependency
Broadly speaking codependency is when individuals experience dependence on the needs of, or control by, another. More specifically, it is considered a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as addiction to alcohol or heroin.)
According to Mental Health America, codependent people exhibit certain signs. These may include:
- Making excuses/covering for your loved one
- Neglecting your own needs entirely
- Needing to feel approval and recognition
- Fear of being isolated or abandoned
- Difficulty in making decisions
Codependency can seem innocent – say, for example, calling off work on behalf of your addicted spouse as they nurse a hangover. It’s shielding them from the consequences of their actions.
The term was initially coined in the context of addiction, but codependency is now cited as a factor in many different relationships.
Experts say that codependency likely has its roots in childhood. Overcoming codependency takes time and patience and requires assistance from professional counselors.
According to GoodTherapy.Org, treatment for codependency involves a lot of self-exploration — helping a person understand the patterns of his or her life, both current and past, but in a way that builds self-esteem.
For instance, therapy may involve educating the co-dependent partner on how to exhibit kindness to themselves. They spend so much time pleasing the person or people opposite them, they forget how to treat themselves kindly.
Knowledge about overcoming codependency has advanced greatly in the last several years. There is even a 12-step support group known as Co-Dependents Anonymous, which is structured in the same fashion as other 12-step self-help groups.
In some circles, codependency is even considered an addiction unto itself, something that parallels the reactions in our brains from substance abuse.
Codependency and Women
Codependency can become an obstacle in getting people to accept the need for substance abuse treatment and rehab at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center. A study quoted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse hints at the extent of the problem.
The study involved a survey of 85 mothers of teenagers and adults with drug abuse problems. Researchers found that 80 percent of the mothers exhibited some form of codependence – sometimes severe in nature.
Building a Brighter Future Together
Codependency is a dangerous factor in dealing with substance abuse. You want to be as supportive as you can of your loved one, but you don’t want to be an enabler. Overcoming codependency often requires professional help and is an important part of drug treatment. At Georgia Addiction Treatment Center we have experience in addressing codependency in all forms. It stems from our philosophy that we treat the whole person — not just the physical addiction, but also the emotional difficulties that follow.
Our staff of board-certified therapists, counselors, and medical professionals is well versed in the latest thinking in addiction medicine and follow-up care. We will be with you and your partner the entire way. Don’t do this alone. Contact us at 833.641.0661 to learn about our rehab admissions process today.