Codependency: How it Affects Mental Health

Putting others’ needs before your own can be a positive quality, but how much of this seemingly harmless behavior is too much? People pleasing is one of many characteristics that can be observed in an individual suffering from codependency disorder. Control issues, low self-esteem, avoidance patterns and compliance patterns are a few additional identifying qualities. Could this be you?

Codependency disorder is defined by an excessive emotional attachment to a partner or individual, making it so that the affected individual develops an unhealthy bond within the relationship. When substances are involved, codependency can lead to enablement and can worsen existing drug or alcohol addictions due to the codependent individual’s need to satisfy his or her partner’s desires. This kind of relationship can lead to dangerous circumstances since unhealthy vices are being placed above all else without rational thought. Becoming educated on the signs, symptoms and treatment options for a codependency diagnosis can facilitate the beginning steps to a successful recovery.

Characteristics of Codependency

Codependency exists when one individual shows his or her “love” for the other primarily by giving assistance, while the other person feels “loved” when they receive the assistance. The more that the other person needs help, the more that the individual with codependency issues feels valued in the relationship. When drugs and alcohol are what the other individual desires, the codependent party will stop at nothing to meet these risky and detrimental needs, enabling the addiction.

Common characteristics of codependency disorder can be found in the list below:

  • Difficulty identifying what feeling they are feeling.
  • Alter or deny how they truly feel.
  • Perceive themselves as unselfish and dedicated to the well-being of others.
  • Project personal negative traits onto others.
  • Believe they can take care of themselves without any help from others.
  • Mask pain through other emotions: anger, humor, isolation.
  • Express passive aggressiveness and indirect negativity.
  • Act extremely loyal, remaining in harmful situations too long.
  • Compromise their own values and integrity to avoid rejection or anger.
  • Ignore their own interests in order to do what others want.
  • Freely offer advice and direction without being asked.
  • Become resentful when others decline their help or reject their advice.
  • Buy lavish gifts and favors on those they want to influence.
  • Use sexual attention to gain approval and acceptance.
  • Must feel needed in order to have a relationship with others.
  • Use blame and shame to exploit others emotionally.

Treatment for Codependency Diagnosis

Codependency disorder can be managed with professional support, guidance and the right coping tools. It is important for the individual who is suffering to be able to visualize his or her self in a loving and satisfying relationship where all of his or her needs are met. Examining one’s own behaviors allows the individual to step out of denial and into the next phase of recovery. Group therapy and one-on-one counseling to review new behaviors are available at mental health centers like Advantage Mental Health Center, and these forms of treatment help to provide accessible and easy-to-use resources in real time. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start, that’s where the experts step in.

During treatment, individuals may have their beliefs, as well as their own self-defeating thoughts, challenged so that a wholesome, positive image can take the place of negative self-judgments. Allowing for transformation to occur and closing the door to addiction are two big steps toward a healthier, happier quality of life for the individual and for his or her family. If you or someone you know can benefit from treatment for symptoms of codependency, request an appointment today at Advantage Mental Health Center.