Are you worried that you or someone close to you may be suffering from co-dependency and is it an addiction? Or maybe you want to know more about what co-dependency actually is and what are the symptoms of co-dependency? Here at Addiction helper we specialise not only in treating alcohol and drug addiction, we also offer advice and specialist treatment for those suffering from an activity/process addiction such as co-dependency. We have helped over 10,000 individuals with addiction problems to access help, support and recovery. We have here to provide you with the latest information on all addictions, including co-dependency and how to access the correct treatment for your individual problem. This page will inform you on what co-dependency addiction actually is, what causes co-dependency in relationships, how it manifests and more importantly, how to get the correct psychological treatment for co-dependency.
What Is Co-dependency?
Co-dependency is a disorder and addiction that leads to dysfunctional relationships; the person suffering from co-dependency is affected in the relationship they have with themselves and with others. Just because it doesn’t involve a substance, does not mean it is any less dangerous and it is recognised as an addiction as it responds well to the same treatment applied to other addictions, including substances. Some co-dependents also suffer from an alcohol, drug problem, eating disorder or an addiction to a particular activity such as gambling, sex and love or internet addiction. Others suffer from the co-dependency alone. Whether you or your loved one are suffering from co-dependency addiction on its own, or along with another condition, mental health illness or addiction, there is help and treatment available. An individual suffering from co-dependency will put concentrated efforts and obsess over a certain individual(s) whilst neglecting their own wellbeing. Put simply, they put the welfare of others above their own basic needs. A co-dependent addicted individual, needs to be needed; without being needed they feel lost, empty and without purpose. It can manifest in many different ways in their interpersonal relationships with others. Read on for information on the more common manifestations of this illness
Examples of Co-dependency Addiction
Here and some examples of co-dependency that Addiction Helper frequently come across:
A co-dependent addicted parent and child:
The child becomes the parent as the parent is ill/disabled or perhaps an alcoholic or addict. The child’s life revolves around caring for the parent and they are both co-dependent on each other. Neither will ask for help outside of the relationship, neither has independency or a life to speak of. Both feel responsible for each other’s feelings and actions and find it difficult to take time out to look after themselves independently. The child feels the constant need of affirmation and aims to please to parent, neglecting their own life. The parent is unfairly dependent on the child and puts the responsibility on their shoulders, instead of seeking appropriate help from other sources. If the parent is an alcoholic or an addict, the child will assume responsibility for their bills, welfare, other children not old enough to care for themselves etc. This is enabling the parent not to take responsibility for him or herself. The child will end up feeling resentful, depressed, isolated and anxious. They are likely to carry the traits of co-dependency into their future close relationships with others. In this kind of relationship, both will suffer from co-dependency.
Co-dependent addicted partner/parent/child of an alcoholic/addict/abuser:
The co-dependent’s life revolves around the significant others and their safety and happiness. They neglect their own happiness, hobbies, interests and self-care and give their all to the individual that their efforts are concentrated on. They see themselves as the only one that can save them from their self-destructive behaviour and enter into a constant cycle of control, manipulation, expectations, shame and anger.
The above table gives a clear picture of someone who is co-dependent with an addict or alcoholic. Often the co-dependent will inadvertently enable the addict/alcoholic by paying their bills, lying to cover up for them, give them money for alcohol or drugs or pay for them to have a home and shelter. The co-dependent will have no personal healthy boundaries; they may even take on the addict or alcoholics maladaptive behaviours and traits. This relationship is particularly complex and destructive, and both need intensive treatment to overcome their problems.
The co-dependent addict in an abusive/violent/narcissistic relationship:
This is a very dangerous example of co-dependency addiction; the co-dependent has no idea of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. They believe that if they act a certain way the object of their co-dependency will change for them. They will justify the abuser’s actions by blaming themselves or tell themselves they are overreacting; they make excuses for harmful and abusive behaviours. They have no healthy boundaries whatsoever when it comes to their own safety and wellbeing. They will often stay in relationships like this for far longer than they should. Their fear of being alone outweighs the fear of the next punch or abusive outburst. This particularly destructive cycle can lend to the co-dependent become extremely withdrawn, physically and emotionally harmed and in the worst cases of violence, even in their own death.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Co-dependency Addiction?
As previously advised, co-dependency addiction can manifest in many forms but below are some common signs and symptoms of co-dependency.
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know is co-dependent, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you/they need to be needed and become angry and frustrated when they are not?
- Do you/they justify unacceptable behaviour and have no healthy boundaries?
- Do you/they get upset, anxious or angry when the object of their co-dependency does not behave as they want?
- Are you/they blind or shut off from others advice that your relationship is unhealthy as you fear making changes that could result in ending the co-dependent relationship?
- Do you/they have an extreme fear of abandonment and rejection?
- Do you/they feel the need to constantly fix others problems and fail to look at your/their own problems?
- Do you/they offer advice and instructions whether asked for or not?
- Do you/they ever find yourself/themselves making excuses for the needy people in your/their life or covering up for them and keeping secrets?
- If you/they are in a relationship with an addict/alcoholic/needy person, do you fear the day they get well and no longer need you?
- Is your/their mood in alignment of someone you/they love?
- Do you/they ever remind people that they need you/them and ask them where they would be if you/they were not in their life?
- Do you/they feel resentful and hurt if they seek help and advice from someone else?
- Do you/they enable their behaviour by giving them money/paying bills/providing shelter/making excuses and covering up for them?
- At the cost of putting others before yourself/themselves, have you/they become isolated, depressed, fearful, anxious and neglected personal and financial affairs?
- Do you/they go for relationships with individuals who have complex problems/issues/baggage that they have not dealt with?
- Do you/they suffer with very low self-esteem/unworthiness or feelings of grandiosity or superiority?
If you have answered yes to any of the above, you should monitor your behaviour (or that of the person you are concerned about) for a period of time.
If you have answered yes to three or more of these questions, it would indicate that you or your loved one have a problem with co-dependency addiction and that you, or they, need to seek immediate professional help to challenge and understand the illness of co-dependency and find recovery.
What Are the Causes?
Contrary to popular belief and also the co-dependents belief, the problem is not the person they are with, the problem lies within them. Co-dependency addiction often manifest during childhood and teenage years through dysfunctional relationships with caregivers and/or close relationships with others. Here are the 5 main factors that can cause the illness of co-dependency to manifest in an individual:
Co-dependency addiction is very similar to other addictions in that their reliance to fix themselves internally and the way they feel inside is on something external, such as a person, drug or activity based addiction. Many co-dependents have addictions or substance misuse problems themselves. Those with Co-dependency addiction, due to their false belief systems, low self-worth and low self-esteem issues are more likely to attract further abusive relationships and stay in jobs that that cause them a lot of stress. Generally they are chronic people pleasers also and will often do things to please others that they feel uncomfortable with or do not enjoy. Co-dependency addiction can also be accompanied by a co-occurring mental health disorder such as depression, PTSD or generalised anxiety and panic disorder. They have a great need to be in control at all times, yet to everyone around them, it is plain to see that they are not. They cause themselves a great deal of unhappiness, pain and misery.
People who have a co-dependency addiction often blame those around them for their behaviours and, in fact, use this to deny they have a problem. They will justify their actions and suggest that what they do is simply because they “love the person so much” and that the person “could not manage without them”. Realistically though, what the co-dependent person really needs is to recognise that others need to take care of themselves, take responsibility for their own problems and find a way of addressing them. The co-dependent needs to do the same for him or herself. Co-dependents often end up hurting those that they love the most and hurt themselves in that process too.
Unresolved patterns of co-dependency addiction can lead to more serious problems like alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, sex addiction and other self-destructive behaviours. Co-dependents may develop panic attacks and anxiety disorders. They are less likely to seek medical attention when needed or to get promotions and tend to earn less money than those without co-dependency patterns. For some, the social insecurity caused by co-dependency can progress into full-blown social anxiety disorders like social phobia, avoidant personality disorder or painful shyness.
Is It Possible for Both Partners to Be Co-dependent?
Yes, absolutely. More often than not co-dependents will seek out each other as they both need to be needed. Co-dependency in both partners is very common in a relationship with two addicts in particular. This is a very destructive relationship as they will both enable each other’s addiction.
How to Recover from Co-dependency Addiction?
It is vital that the co-dependent person seeks treatment that helps them to understand and challenge the psychological reasons behind their negative, compulsive and destructive behaviours. To find a way to improve on their own emotional and psychological well-being and self-esteem. In so doing, the co-dependent addict may have to make the decision to break away from the relationship with the “needy” person, abuser or the substance addicted person. Or indeed they may even decide they need to move away from the co-dependent to aid their own recovery.
A number of treatment options should be considered when treating co-dependency addiction. When co-dependency is accompanied by another co-occurring illness or another addiction, inpatient treatment is recommended to treat all conditions presenting simultaneously. It is essential for the co-dependent addict to understand and process where their illness has manifested from and receive treatment for their dysfunctional thinking and maladaptive behaviours. This requires professional assistance and treatment.
Our team of professionally-trained addiction treatment experts are on hand to discuss you or your loved ones co-dependency addiction or problem and will help you when it comes to getting the best treatment possible. Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or require immediate assistance for a co-dependency problem or addiction.
Is Treatment Available on the NHS?
Treatment for co-dependency addiction is not available on the NHS as such. However the individual can request CBT therapy through their GP. This can mean waiting for up to eight weeks, not ideal for an individual in crisis with the illness or an individual suffering from an additional illness. Treatment for Depression and Anxiety can also be sought through your GP, but medicating the symptoms will not deal with the co-dependency traits; which will continue. For an individual that also has a substance addiction or abuse problem, help and support can be accessed through the local DAT (Drug and Alcohol Team); who will provide key work sessions and groups to attend. Many find Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and also SMART groups helpful to maintaining recovery from substances. Any serious mental health illnesses presenting will need to be dealt with by your local mental health team. Your GP will be able to provide a referral to their services for a correct clinical diagnosis and appropriate treatment. More specific co-dependency help can be sought through accessing Co-dependents Anonymous meetings, who provide a useful 12 step programme for those suffering with an addiction to co-dependency.
Is Private Treatment Available?
There are various options for private treatment of co-dependency; the type of treatment most likely to be successful will depend on the severity of the individual’s addiction and any additional addictions, co-occurring illnesses or mental health conditions also present.
The first step towards recovery from co-dependency addiction is to abstain from the co-dependent relationship, only then can psychological, medical and therapeutic measures be of maximum benefit. For an individual that finds it impossible to abstain an inpatient private rehab programme would be strongly recommended.
Addiction Helper only work with CQC regulated treatment centres and have access to over 100 exemplary private rehabs within the UK and also some elite and luxurious rehabs abroad. All of our approved rehabs adhere to strict medical and therapeutic guidelines and policies at all times. Providing you with the reassurance and treatment environment needed to get well.
We specialise in treating substance addictions, co-occurring illnesses and non-substance addictions such as co-dependency and sex and love addiction. We can find you or your loved one the ideal treatment plan and rehab facility in which to recover from co-dependency addiction, ranging from affordable to luxury treatment, with locations all over the UK and also overseas. We can also provide day care treatment and local specialist counsellors. We treat the individual as a whole person and also treat any other conditions or addictions presenting simultaneously for optimum results. Co-dependency can become life threatening if left untreated, so we take this particular illness very seriously.
For those that have a physical addiction to a substance also, following a comprehensive assessment by a Doctor on admission to one of our rehabs, they will receive a full medical detox to help relieve the withdrawal symptoms. We appreciate that physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms can manifest in early withdrawal from many substances; therefore our doctors will prescribe a suitable and approved medication to help alleviate these symptoms, making withdrawal much more comfortable, easier and safer. Our approved rehabs are only staffed by experienced and fully qualified addiction treatment experts, including doctors, nurses, counsellors, psychotherapists, holistic therapists and highly trained and experienced support workers.
Our private co-dependency addiction treatment rehabs deliver the latest in evidence based therapeutic and medical treatments such as One to One Counselling, Process Group, Trauma Therapy, CBT, DBT, 12 Step Therapy, Group Therapy, Educational Workshops and Relapse Prevention, Mindfulness, Meditation, Fitness Programme, Healthy Eating Programme and more. We ensure that the issues, maladaptive behaviours and thought processes underpinning the co-dependency are comprehensively treated for a full recovery to be possible and maintained. We will provide you or your loved one with a full, individualised, therapeutic rehabilitation programme and the recovery tools required to maintain permanent recovery from co-dependency. With privately funded rehab for co-dependency, there are no waiting lists and we can arrange for you or your loved one’s immediate admission and take care of all of the arrangements for you with just one call. Furthermore we offer 12 months free aftercare to all patients that complete their treatment programme with us; thus further securing on going recovery in the early and vulnerable days on returning back home.
If you have any questions relating to co-dependency, addiction, treatment, private rehab, or would like to find out more about how we can help, please call or chat to us live, for a free and comprehensive assessment of your individual treatment needs. We are open 24/7 and ready to help you now!