Archives for March 18, 2024

Why Alcoholism and Codependency Often Go Hand-In-Hand

Codependency is an actual mental condition, one that may be severe in one individual and mild in another. This codependent individual relies on another person or people for their sense of self-worth. Over time, this pattern can destroy the relationship and prevent them from leading a normal life.

At times, a codependent person becomes an addict. However, it is usually the addict who becomes codependent on someone else. A person who struggles with both issues must receive treatment for each problem or they will never get better. When looking for addiction rehab in Orange County, ask if they have a dual-diagnosis treatment program to ensure this person receives the help they need to achieve a full recovery.

What is Codependency?

Codependency is a relationship where one person is the giver and the other person is a taker. The giver’s self-worth comes from being needed by the taker, which interferes with their ability to have a healthy relationship. These relationships tend to be one-sided and can destroy the giver emotionally. Often, the relationships are abusive, with the taker manipulating the giver, who enables them.

The taker has a substance abuse problem and manipulates those around them to get a response. The other party sits back passively and accepts this bad behavior, enabling it. They lose their identity to please the taker.

Codependent Relationship Types

At one time, people assumed the taker in a relationship was always an addict and their partner enabled them. Today, experts recognize codependency behaviors may be seen in any relationship. However, in most cases, they tend to involve substance abuse or mental and physical abuse.

When substance abuse plays a role in the relationship, dysfunctional patterns emerge. The enabler supports the addict’s lifestyle and finds it hard to break free of the patterns. If physical or mental abuse is present, there is an imbalance in the relationship. However, the enabler often excuses the behavior of the abuser, saying it isn’t that bad or keeping the abuse a secret.

Signs of a Codependent Relationship

One or both parties in a codependent relationship often suffer from low self-esteem. The enabler may feel guilty when assertive because they want to make other people happy. Poor communication skills are often a sign of a codependent relationship and each party may struggle to identify what they are feeling. Lies are common in these relationships and one or both parties might fear abandonment or rejection.

What Leads a Person Into a Codependent Relationship?

Many codependent individuals learn their behaviors by watching others. They probably grew up in dysfunctional homes where their feelings were ignored. The parent or guardian may have been self-absorbed or absent, so the children were forced to grow up early. Emotional neglect can bring about a lack of self-confidence and lead the person to feel as if what they want or need doesn’t matter.

The Link Between Codependency and Addiction

In codependent relationships, the enabler supports the addict. They think this support will help the addict overcome the addiction, but it allows them to continue the substance abuse. The addict uses the substance of choice to hide their low self-esteem and make themselves feel better. They self-medicate with this substance to relieve the stress of codependency. The substance allows them to feel better for a short period. Over time, however, they find they need more of the substance to achieve this feeling.

Help is available for those struggling with codependency and addiction. Both conditions require treatment for the best chance of recovery. This treatment needs to go beyond the physical and address the emotional and mental factors that play a role in the dual diagnosis. When the treatment does, the patient can overcome their addiction and have healthy relationships.