When you have a loved one or friend battling an addiction, you can develop codependency traits. Codependency can make it difficult to balance your needs with your friend or loved one’s needs, especially when it comes to setting healthy boundaries. If you find yourself prioritizing others before yourself, or allowing a partner to keep the both of you mired in addiction, you may be struggling with codependency traits.
Addiction is a destructive disease that doesn’t discriminate. Anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, or income, can ultimately develop a substance abuse disorder, alcoholism, or addiction. Substance abuse disorders impacted nearly 22 million Americans in 2017 alone, demonstrating just how common addiction is. In fact, 46% of Americans have a relative or close friend who has a substance abuse disorder.
You can develop codependency when someone you care about is struggling with addiction. Codependency means you have developed an unhealthy relationship that is oftentimes unilateral.
Codependency is a condition that causes you to become mired in unhealthy relationships at your own expense. Some common codependency traits include:
- Putting someone else’s needs above yours
- Obsessing over your relationship (friendship, romantic, or familial)
- Losing your sense of self
- Inability to end the unhealthy or codependent relationship
- Attempting to control the other person
- Feeling that the other person’s failures or struggles are your fault
Many people confuse codependency with love, support, or friendship. However, codependency traits demonstrate that your relationship is toxic. While it’s good to try to help friends and family members, codependency traits cause you to feel responsible for their actions, behaviors, and choices. Codependency traits are especially common when someone you care about is dealing with a substance abuse disorder.
When someone is battling an addiction, they can become dependent on others to fix their problems or enable their behaviors. This can mean relying on you to financially support them or to rescue them from dangerous situations.
How is Codependency Treated?
When you notice you’re exhibiting codependency traits, it’s important to seek help. Codependency is treated with a variety of evidence-based and holistic therapies that help you identify unhealthy and codependent relationships and learn how to remove yourself from those types of toxic relationships.
Individual counseling, which can include treatments like cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy, can empower you to change negative thinking patterns and behaviors. Learning how to identify healthy and unhealthy relationships is another important part of codependency treatment.
Treatment can help you improve your communication skills, which in turn assists you in establishing healthy and positive boundaries with friends and family members. While addiction is a family disease, codependency traits can make it hard to live a healthy and productive life when you’re loved one is struggling with a substance abuse problem.
Finding Help Today
When you become mired in a codependent relationship and experience codependency traits, finding treatment is the first step in regaining control over your life. If you have questions about codependency or would like to discuss your treatment options, call us today at 855.786.1978.
Licensed Physician and Surgeon
Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, and is the medical director at Northern Illinois Recovery Center. She is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at both campuses. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.