Substance Abuse and Co-Dependency: A Dangerous Relationship Mix

counselor writing

Co-dependency can be a subjective term to many, but in many contexts of alcohol and abuse, co-dependency is associated with the following:

  • Guilt and perfectionism
  • Blurred boundaries
  • An intense desire to please others
  • Fear of rejection
  • Exaggerated emotional reactions
  • Difficulty forming loving relationships

In general, co-dependency involves depending on someone or something else for happiness; no autonomy is present, and the person solely relies on a substance or a person to tend to almost all their physical, mental, and emotional needs. Some people with co-dependency issues attach themselves to people struggling with substance abuse in hopes they will fix them – unfortunately, their fear or rejection causes them to enable their partner rather than hold them responsible.

Additionally, many people who classify as co-dependent and maintain a relationship with individuals who abuse substances also meet the criteria for other mental disorders. A 2017 study published in the journal Heroin Addiction and Related Clinical Problems involved the assessment of 131 co-dependent people and 276 non-codependent individuals to see if either group showed significance in the diagnosis of symptoms related to borderline personality disorder (BPD) or dependent personality disorder (DPD). Results from the study showed that every 2nd co-dependent participant met the requirements for BPD diagnosis, and every 7th participants met the criteria for DPD diagnosis. Thus, it can be concluded that about a third of individuals with codependency also qualify for mental disorders such as BPD and DPD.

If left untreated, symptoms of co-dependency could become more severe, making it even more difficult for a person to leave a relationship if it has become abusive or otherwise very unhealthy. People with substance abuse disorders may come to expect that their codependent partner will take care of them even as they pursue their addictions, placing more strains on the relationship.

If you have been struggling with substance abuse and/or mental illness, speak with someone from a reputable treatment center today. Recovery is possible, and by seeking treatment you can develop the tools necessary to take back control over your life.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.