Working with those who struggle with addiction, it would be impossible for us to overlook the overlap of codependency in drug abuse. However, for those who are not currently moving within these tight-knit circles, or for those who have not yet sought treatment for their drug dependency, the link between the two might not be immediately obvious.
In order to break the codependency cycle, we must learn to recognize this dynamic and understand how it can affect relationships in which drug abuse is present.
What Is Codependency?
Codependent relationships occur when one person is entirely reliant on another. The term codependent describes relationships in which one person is needy or overly dependent on another.
There is much more to this term than everyday clinginess. Codependent relationships are far more extreme than this. A person who is codependent will plan their entire life around pleasing the other person, or the enabler.
Within codependent relationships, both the enablers and those who are dependent on them rely on one another for their emotional fulfillment. Indeed, when one partner is needy and the other needs to be needed, this creates a codependency cycle.
What Causes Codependency?
For the most part, codependency is a learned behavior that develops as a pattern within relationships, often involving narcissistic partners. Unhealthy patterns quickly become entrenched.
While tracing the roots of codependency can be a challenge, this dynamic often has its roots in one’s childhood experiences. Though there are some other contributing factors, people who had significantly over-protective or under-protective parents or caregivers are much more likely to enter codependent relationships down the road.
When codependency coexists in a relationship with drug abuse, problems escalate and matters quickly spiral.
What Are the Types of Codependent Relationships?
While any relationship could become codependent, this dynamic is most often seen among
- Romantic partners
- Close friends
- Family members
Codependent relationships are severely imbalanced, in which one person is extremely active and controlling, while the other is passive and submissive.
Codependency in Drug Abuse
Though both codependency and drug abuse cause individual harm, they often coexist.
Codependency and substance abuse have been associated since the term “codependent” was coined to identify family members and friends of individuals with drug use disorders. Enabling can take many forms, but it is most commonly provided by a spouse or parent. In these situations, the addict knows how to get the other person to react in a certain way.
Within codependent relationships, there’s a significant amount of abuse and manipulation. Codependency and drug abuse exacerbate one another, creating an extremely toxic relational feedback loop.
Both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) have proven effective in treating codependency in drug abuse.
CBT works from the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. On the other hand, DBT helps individuals find the middle ground in the dialectic between rational mind and emotional mind. Together, these modalities help clients understand that circumstances do not dictate their behaviors. Instead, that emotions must be neither blindly obeyed nor suppressed.
At Fairwinds Treatment Center, we favor a restorative treatment model that addresses each client’s needs individually.
That includes leveraging both CBT and DBT to help them overcome both drug abuse and the negative impacts of codependent relationships.
We Can Help You Overcome Codependency in Drug Abuse
Here at Fairwinds Treatment Center, we help those who are struggling with addiction to get their life back on track. If you are looking for a treatment center for addiction or have further questions about our treatment modalities, which include CBT and DBT, please feel free to contact us at any time.
We look forward to serving you.