How to seek treatment for codependency?

In this blog, we will answer the question of how to get treatment for codependency and also how it is treated. Therefore we would take a look at various treatment options, and also various others methods that help deal with codependency.

How to seek treatment for codependency?

Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marr... x
Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marriage

Codependency may not be classified as a mental health condition as of yet but it is still a very grave personality and behavioral issue. Treatment for codependency can be obtained in the following ways

By approaching a licensed psychologist

Coping skills and activities that help deal with the negative symptoms of codependency

Undergoing counseling

Reading Self help and motivational books that guide on how to deal with codependency

Seeking healthy support from family and friends

Psychotherapy (mainly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been found to be very effective in dealing with this issue). It is important to note that therapy does not just help with existing issues occurring due to codependency but it also helps with its causes, past and present relationships, childhood trauma, etc. 

What is Codependency?

Codependency is an emotional and behavioral condition that is sometimes even called “relationship addiction”. This condition is harmful as it severely affects a person’s ability to have a healthy, mutually consensual, and satisfying relationship. Codependents almost always end up in relationships that are emotionally unrequited, destructive, and toxic.  

This term originated to refer to the spouses or partners of addicts who preferred to stay in a abusive relationship and suffer instead of opting out of the relationship. But over time as more relationships dynamics have been discovered it has now become more inclusive.   

 

What is the difference between codependent relationships and dependent relationships?

Codependency is very different from a healthy dependent relationship. Because in codependency the codependent person has an unhealthy attachment almost like an obsession with a person. It does not necessarily always have to be a romantic partner. It could be anyone, a sibling, parent, or even friend. It can be between friends, family, or sometimes even in work dynamics such as between an employer and his employees. In simple words, a relationship in which one partner displays dysfunctional and abnormal dependence on the other partner is called a codependent relationship.  On the other hand, A dependent relationship is between two people who have a healthy relationship dynamic. Every relationship needs some sort of dependence. But the kind of dependence that occurs in a dependent relationship is healthy and helps in maintaining the relationship.

The roles in this kind of relationship are equal and both the partners rely on each other support. It is a give and takes relationship where each partner gains something from the other and also returns the favor.  But in a codependent relationship, one is an enabler and the other partner is codependent. 

Treatment for Codependency

Fortunately, codependency is not incurable and many treatment options are available to help deal with codependency. Medications can also be prescribed for this condition but only if there are some comorbidities, i.e. there are other co-occurring symptoms and conditions. 

Following are some ways to seek treatment for codependency

By approaching a licensed psychologist

Coping skills and activities that help deal with the negative symptoms of codependency

Undergoing counseling

Reading Self-help and motivational books that guide on how to deal with codependency

Seeking healthy support from family and friends

Psychotherapy (mainly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is very effective in dealing with this issue). It is important to note that therapy does not just help with existing issues occurring due to codependency but also helps with its causes, past and present relationships, childhood trauma, etc. 

There are some unconventional treatment options as well that help in mitigating the symptoms of codependency. One of them is called Co-Dependents Anonymous. It is quite similar to “Alcoholics Anonymous”.  Just like in alcoholics anonymous where recovering ac=diicts come together to share their experiences and struggles and support each other to recover from their addiction, Co-dependents Anonymous (Co-DA) works with the same concept and principle. CoDA is also a recovery group where codependents help and support each other in healing from their condition. The CoDA follows 12 steps, has 12 essential traditions, 12 sacred promises, and 12 service concepts. It is a very structured and focused program that helps to recover codependent to learn about healthy relationship dynamics and seek support and guidance from fellow codependents. 

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Essential techniques to recover from codependency

Establishing Boundaries

Codependents either have trouble setting up boundaries or do not understand the concept of boundaries in relationships. This can create complications and even resentment between the partners. A healthy amount of space is necessary for a thriving relationship. Aso partners should acknowledge and respect the limitations and concerns that each partner has regarding the relationship. Also, a codependent person may not be able to distinguish their needs from their partners and be genuinely confused regarding what they actually need. They might start considering their partner’s needs and choices as their own and expend all their resources in meeting those needs. They end up prioritizing others over themselves and it is unjust and harmful for them. Hence they must learn to draw boundaries. 

Saying No 

Codependents find it very difficult to refuse someone. They are inclined to prioritize other people’s needs, emotions, and happiness over their own. They do not like disappointing people as they fear that would lead them to abandon them or dislike them. Due to their people-pleasing defense mechanism, they end up agreeing to everything someone asks of them. Even if it is at the cost of their own benefit or safety. 

Following are some helpful and easy steps to say no:

Be firm and assertive. Don’t hesitate or doubt yourself while saying no. Being clear about one’s refusal works better than just hinting at it so always say the word “no” while stating your refusal. 

Repeat your refusal as many times as required if the other person is not used to being refused by you and starts persuading you. Be firm and respectful but do not budge from your stance. Once they realize you are being serious and see your firm resolve they will back off.

Do not create excuses or lies to escape from fulfilling someone’s request. If you do not wish to do something state it politely and truthfully. Lying hurts and creates complications in the long run

Be aware that you cannot make everyone happy or be at someone’s beck and call. Be your own person and allow yourself the autonomy to refuse thighs you do not wish to do or are uncomfortable to do. Do not beat yourself feeling guilty about disappointing someone. 

Focusing on SELF-CARE 

Codependents exhaust themselves caring for others, mentally physically, and emotionally. They dedicate very few resources to take care of themselves. Therefore it is essential to start taking care of oneself and being aware of one own needs and wants. 

Ways to indulge in self-care

  • Partake in hobbies you enjoy or learn new things that you always wished to learn
  • Read books that help and guide you in dealing with your codependency symptoms.
  • Use coping skills and activities that will help mitigate the negative consequences of this condition.
  • Work on your self-esteem and confidence 
  • Nurture and pamper yourself with nutritious meals and healthy sleep. 
  • Take out time for yourself in a day to spend on things you enjoy doing. 

Learn to enjoy your own company and make new connections and friends

Conclusion

This blog helped us to discover the various way to treat codependency and also helped us to learn how it is treated with each of the methods. We also learned about the difference between a normal and codependent relationship.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I fix codependent friendship?

A codependent friendship can be quite toxic and lead to negative outcomes if it is not fixed. Therefore following steps could be taken to deal with codependent friendships. 

Do not be afraid or hesitant, to be honest, and express how you feel to your friend.  

Be aware of how you cannot meet all your needs just by being with one person. You need to divide your needs and spend time with other people as well, such as family and other friends.  

Prioritize yourself over others. 

Be assertive and firm but not aggressive in your expression. Do not demand unreasonable things that the other person cannot offer. 

What is the best therapy for codependency?

Codependency is not a mental health disorder or an illness. At most, it can be classified as a behavioral and personality issue. But yet it is treated with the help of psychotherapies. The most effective therapy to help with Codependency is found to be cognitive behavioral therapy. It focuses on changing the negative thought process, ideation, and converting them into positive thoughts and affirmation to bring about desirable changes in a person’s behavior. 

What are the tools of recovery for codependency?

Codependency can be very difficult to deal with and can create issues not just for the person experiencing it but also for people around them. Fortunately, there are various treatment options and tools to deal with codependency. Following are some of these tools or stages that help in recovering from codependency. 

  • Abstinence.

Maintaining and practicing  Abstinence or sobriety is extremely crucial to recover from codependency. Dependency on alcohol or other substances can deteriorate their codependency symptoms and can affect their decision-making skills.  

  • Awareness. 

Often people are in denial of their problems and that is one of the worst ways to deal with the problem. By being aware that one has a problem, they can actually put effort into dealing with it instead of avoiding and running away from it. 

  • Acceptance

Once you are aware of the problem the next step is to accept it without any judgment in order to deal with it and heal yourself. Self-acceptance is the key to recovery.

  • Action. 

The final stage would be taking appropriate action against the problem, that is codependency to take control of your life and start on the path of recovery. Because just insight without action accompanying it would not take you too far.

How do I know if I’m codependent?

Some of the signs that can help you identify if you are codependent are as follows

Experience trouble in taking decisions in a relationship

Trouble identifying own feelings and expressing them to others

Unhealthy reliance and dependency upon others

Needing constant validation and approval from others and judging one’s self-worth based on other people’s opinions. 

Poor communication in the relationship

Self-sacrificing behavior

Manipulating and controlling the partner and the relationship to regain a sense of control.

Fear of abandonment and being left alone. 

Do codependents like drama?

Codependent relationships are prone to a lot of chaotic occurrences and situations. The characteristics of this condition are strange and call for negative attention and misunderstandings. The fears, insecurities, and abandonment issues that are symptoms of this issue can lead to a lot of dramatic events taking place. The codependents may not even create the drama intentionally but their behavior and fears can lead to such occurrences. 

References

How to fix an addicted and codependent relationship. Willingway. (2021, April 7). Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://willingway.com/fix-addicted-codependent-marriage/

Jones, H. (2021, February 8). How do I know if I’m in a codependent relationship? Verywell Health. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/codependency-5093171#toc-treatment

Team, G. T. E. (n.d.). Tips for learning to say no. Therapy for Codependency, Therapist for Codependency –. Retrieved January 25, 2022, from https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/codependency/recovery 

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