What is Codependency and How Can You Stop It?

The Recovery VillageDrug Rehab

Woman sitting down on the ground next to a wall.

What does it mean when someone says that they are struggling with codependency? This is a common problem when a loved one is an addict. If a family member or friend is seeking addiction treatment, you need to understand codependency and learn how to stop it. 

What is Codependency? 

What is codependency? Codependency is controversial. Some people think that it does not exist, while others feel that it is a set of behaviors that are of real concern. According to Addiction.com, "codependency is not a diagnosable mental health condition, but it is an issue that therapists often see in the lives of their patients." 

Those who are codependent will do anything to keep the other person in the relationship, and this can put their own health and wellbeing at risk. They worry more about other peoples' needs than they do about their own needs and constantly put others ahead of themselves. People who are codependent can suffer from blurred relationship boundaries, fear, a need to control the relationship, and perfectionism that's focused on themselves and others in the relationship. 

While some people feel that these behaviors are an appropriate response to living in a relationship with someone who is an addict, others feel like these behaviors are destructive to those involved in that relationship. Sometimes, those who are in a relationship with an addict also grew up in that kind of relationship as well. A parent or other close relative was an addict, and as a child, the person had to learn how to maintain the peace to maintain the relationship.

Father and daughter horsing around on a couch.

Positive and negative relationship patterns can begin in childhood.

Why You Need to Stop Codependent Behaviors 

It can be difficult to move out of the need to please and preserve the relationship at all costs. However, it can also be entirely necessary. When you are completely focused on preserving that relationship, you can lose your sense of self and your ability to safeguard your own wellbeing. You can become consumed in that relationship, unable to step aside and do what is right for you and the rest of your family. Codependency can lead to depression and anxiety, and it can also lead to disorders that focus on control, such as eating disorders. It is also a poor model for any children in the family who might then move on to perpetuate the same pattern in their future family. 

How to Stop Codependent Behaviors

Moving from codependency into independence can be hard, because these patterns are ingrained and can even seem supportive of the addict. How can you move forward if you see that you are exhibiting some of these behaviors and need help? 

  • Counseling and skill-building sessions can help you understand codependency and develop your own strategies to manage it. 
  • Medication and therapy can help you manage the symptoms of other disorders such as depression and anxiety so that you are better able to work on your codependent behaviors. 
  • There are also support groups for codependency that can help you in your desire to be free of these behaviors. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from codependent behavior, this can be very difficult. Thankfully, there is help. At The Recovery Village Columbus, we offer Ohio drug rehab options for you and your loved ones, including family therapy to address issues of codependency. Connect with us to learn about admission: contact us today.