Codependency is a condition that is best addressed at the same time a patient receives treatment for substance abuse.
What is Codependency?
Codependency is an emotional condition in which a person has an excessive physical, emotional, or psychological dependence on a dysfunctional relationship. It can also be used to describe a condition in which a person other than the addict enables him or her to continue destructive behavior.
The term codependency was originally used to describe spouses of alcoholics who were sometimes referred to as “co-alcoholics.” However, researchers have recently discovered that the characteristics of codependency are more prevalent than they once imagined, and are especially high among children of alcoholics or those who were raised in a dysfunctional family.
Signs of Codependency
If you or a loved one are codependent, you may notice some outward signs such as:
- Being a “people pleaser”-Those who are codependent may be unable to say no, feeling as though they have no choice but to do what others ask. They may make enormous concessions to please those around them, often sacrificing their own health and well-being to do so.
- Overreacting to other people’s thoughts and feelings. Codependent individuals often become offended easily and may see any disagreement as a personal attack.
- Having an overwhelming urge to “fix” or help someone else.
- Needing to feel in control. Codependents need to feel in control of everything around them and may go to great lengths to manipulate or control friends and family members’ behavior.
- Difficulty communicating. A codependent person may be unable to express his or her emotions or be intimidated about doing so out of a fear of rejection.
Changes in Behavior
Often, there is no significant change in behavior that would indicate a person is codependent. Many people have suffered codependency from their childhood years, and can simply not remember being any other way. Others may develop codependency over a period of months or years after finding themselves in a relationship with a drug or alcohol addict. Regardless of how long someone has suffered from codependency, breaking the cycle of behavior patterns can be difficult if not impossible unless the right therapy and treatment is given.
Codependents are more likely to remain in stressful relationships or situations without seeking help. This may partly account for the fact that codependents often relapse in their early recovery phase. As such, long-term sobriety often depends on an individual’s ability to control his or her codependent characteristics.
Physical and Mental Symptoms of Codependency
There are often many inward symptoms of codependency that might not be apparent to others. A few of these symptoms include:
- Always feeling like a victim – Someone who is codependent will often feel powerless to control certain situations and may, therefore, think that they are a victim when in fact they are not.
- Making excuses for their own or other people’s behavior.
- A fear of rejection.
- Having low self-esteem.
- Feeling responsible for how other people feel about them.
How North Coast Recovery Can Help
North Coast Recovery is an outpatient treatment rehab center in the Pacific Northwest serving the Portland Metro Area, Hillsboro, Beaverton and surrounding areas in Oregon as well as Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver and the I-5 corridor in Washington and Oregon. Contact us for more information and to learn how North Coast Recovery can help you or a family member.
North Coast Recovery, a place of healing…a place of hope.