Codependency and Alcoholism

Home > What We Treat > Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers > Codependency and Alcoholism

Far too often, individuals who have codependent personalities find themselves struggling in various areas of their lives. Some develop what one might call a “relationship addiction”, facing many challenges while trying to form and maintain healthy relationships with others. They may invest much time and energy into relationships that are harmful to them or their partners in an attempt to simply avoid being alone.

Codependency is a common issue; millions of people struggle with the effects of this issue. Not only can it lead individuals to develop harmful relationships, but codependent behavior also puts people at risk for developing problems with substance abuse. In order to cope with the effects of codependency, many people resort to using substances such as alcohol, which can lead to alcohol dependence. When codependency and alcoholism combine, the consequences can be extremely serious.

How Does Co-dependency Affect People?

A codependent relationship is defined as relationships in which one individual has very extreme needs, whether physical, emotional or both. The other person in the relationship devotes his or her energy to meeting the needs of the other individual, sometimes ignoring his or her own needs. 

It’s important to point out that codependency doesn’t just affect romantic relationships. Codependent relationships may exist between siblings, friends, parents and their children, and even colleagues. In any type of relationship, codependency can cause very serious and harmful problems. A common problem a codependent can face is addictive behavior resulting in alcohol or substance abuse.

People who struggle with codependency often show certain characteristics and behaviors. Some of the symptoms and signs of codependency may be overlooked at times, mistakingly seen as normal or natural reactions. But, if the patterns continue to persist in a person’s life, it’s possible that he or she has a problem with codependency and is at risk for experiencing major problems throughout his or her life as a result of this codependency.

A codependent person might:

  • Experience a deep fear of rejection.
  • Be controlling and want to have a desperate need to be in control.
  • Feel guilty about asserting himself or herself.
  • Have difficulty adjusting to changes, even small ones. 
  • Struggle to trust other people and himself or herself.
  • Enter or stay in unhealthy relationships for fear of being alone.
  • Work excessively to please other individuals in his or her life.
  • Have extreme emotional disturbances and outbursts.
  • Lack of the ability to develop loving and intimate relationships with others.
  • Have very low self-esteem and heavily depends on the approval of others.
  • Struggle to understand the importance of boundaries in relationships.
  • Not be able to communicate effectively with other people.
  • Overexert himself or herself in order to respond to the needs of others.
  • Have an “addiction” to relationships, seeking to be with someone even if the relationship is unhealthy. The individual may feel as if he or she is defined by relationships.

These symptoms can prevent people from living healthy and fulfilling lives. Individuals who struggle with codependency may be unable to develop normal relationships with family members, friends, or romantic partners. They may have trouble thriving at school or work because controlling behavior may prevent them from connecting with and helping those around them.

Codependency and Alcoholism: When Addiction Develops

Individuals may also experience problems in their physical health. They might not take care of their bodies as they are constantly working to take care of others, even when it’s not exactly necessary. Sometimes, people who have codependency problems may experience fatigue, exhaustion, anxiety, and depression as a result of their efforts to keep people in their lives.

It can be difficult for codependent individuals to manage their emotions. So, it’s likely that they will have trouble expressing themselves to those around them. They may also struggle with extreme anger or sadness, responding to others in abnormal ways and with extreme emotion. Others may misunderstand these reactions and behaviors, leading them to distance themselves from the codependent individual.

Abandonment is one of the biggest fears of those who have codependent personalities. So, if a person feels that he or she has done something to make others walk away, it can leave the individual feeling devastated. The person may feel guilty, ashamed, lonely, and depressed. These feelings can become overwhelming and lead the individual to seek a way to escape from his or her emotional distress.

In many cases, people find that alcohol allows them to temporarily escape from their emotional pain. It seems to be the cure to stress, anxiety, and depression. But, as people begin to use this substance more and more, their bodies may become dependent on alcohol, making it difficult for individuals to function without drinking leading them to become an alcoholic. 

This dependence often leads to addiction. When a person struggles with codependency and alcoholism, he or she may become even more dependent on others. But, their addiction may make it difficult for others to become close to them, leaving the codependent individuals feeling abandoned once again. As a result, they may resort to drinking even more. This causes a cycle, worsening the symptoms and effects of both the codependency and alcoholism problems. Codependence can have extreme effects on a person making treatment and acknowledgment of the dual diagnosis extremely important for recovery.

In some codependent relationships, both partners have substance addictions. This can make it even harder for individuals to overcome alcohol or drug abuse. 

Getting Treatment for Addiction and Codependency

If you have been suffering from alcoholism and have a codependent personality, it’s important to go through treatment that will focus on all of your needs. Your struggles with codependency may prevent you from successfully ending alcohol abuse in your life. Your body and mind have been trained to rely on alcohol for comfort. But, a professional treatment program can help you to end addiction and provide therapy that can help to manage the symptoms of codependency in your life.

Here at Northbound Treatment Services, we work to help all of our clients find their way to recovery. We know that the journey from a life of addiction to one that is free from drugs and alcohol can be very challenging. So, we walk with our clients every step of the way. From detox to outpatient treatment, we will be here to help make your journey comfortable and successful.

To learn more about our services, just contact us today by calling (855) 858-6803.

Additional Dual Diagnoses We Treat

Addiction and mental illness often go hand-in-hand. Treating one and not the other is ineffective. It’s paramount for an addiction treatment center to identify co-occurring disorders and to treat them in tandem with the addiction.





Get the Help YouDeserve.

Regardless of your situation, we will help you in finding your own personalized treatment solutions – whether that’s our program or another – at no cost or obligation to you. Get started and change your life with the simple click of a button.

We are unable at this time to accept Medicare or Medicaid plans. We do offer affordable self-pay and financing options, so reach out and get started on your journey to lasting recovery.