Codependency in the family of the drug addict

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Louise Hay

Codependency in the family of the drug addict

When a family member has an addiction, everyone suffers. In addition to this, in order to help some family members they aggravate the situation. It happens in case of codependency.

Last update: April 04, 2022

Drug addiction is one of the psychological disorders that generates the most suffering. This chronic disorder that does not admit treatment, but rehabilitation, affects the life of the addict in its entirety, causing the destruction of his economy, his social relations and his psychological state. But in addition to this, the consequences of the disease significantly affect his family members, giving it often results in codependency in the addict's family.

When a family member is addicted to substances, the whole family system is altered. Father, mother, siblings or children are forced to struggle with their family member's ailment not knowing how to help them.

With the passing years, can be established very harmful dynamics which, instead of helping, make the situation worse for everyone involved. For this, it is important to define and prevent this situation.

What is codependency in the drug addict's family

If a loved one suffers from an addiction, it is natural to worry about her well-being and try to offer her support and help. To disinterest and completely separate from this person on an emotional level would be very complicated and not the most beneficial thing.

It makes more sense for the addict's family members to try to talk to him, to understand him, to encourage him to seek professional help and to accompany him in the rehabilitation process. But on many occasions, the involvement is so intense that it becomes harmful and dysfunctional.

Codependency in the addict's family occurs when another person is too involved in the patient's problem. An overidentification with the other takes place, a fusion of identity that leads the family member to obsessively worry about the addict and to turn all his attention and energies on him, neglecting himself. The main characteristics of this phenomenon are the following:

  • The life of the family member involved revolves completely around the recovery, treatment or protection of the addict.
  • The unsuccessful attempts to help generate malaise and a harmful relationship of disillusionment with the drug addict.
  • The codependent person denies the problem of the toxic family memberdependent, justifies his behavior or minimize its severity.
  • There is a tendency to hide the problem from other people. Then the patient is hidden and you give up the ability to share concerns with others or seek help.
  • The family member is emotionally dependent on the addict, so he merely reacts to his actions rather than deliberately acting for himself. The well-being of him completely depends on the well-being of the other.

What factors affect the development of codependency

Not all family members of someone with drug addiction develop codependency. Generally people who have low self-esteem and poor emotional management show a higher risk.

Frequently, the codependent feels guilty about what is happening to the patient and feels the need to control his behavior (he also believes he can manage it).

In general these are people who have a hard time setting boundaries in their relationships with others, because they perceive this so natural act as a betrayal or a lack of loyalty.

Codependency in the drug addict's family is harmful to everyone involved

Generally, the codependent person is unaware of how harmful his position can be. He has the feeling that his involvement is helping the addict and that it is even leading to recovery. But the reality is totally opposite.

When the family member denies or minimizes the existence of the disease or when he or she bears the consequences of this, it prevents the addict from taking responsibility for his or her actions. As a result, it helps prolong drug addiction.

In addition to this, he causes severe emotional harm to himself, carrying the burden of a problem that does not belong to him and abandoning his own well-being. The best thing the codependent family member can do for the addict and himself is to return to his place and allow the other to take his place.

It is important to stop deny or conceal drug addiction, to feel responsible and start setting limits. It is not possible to solve the drug addiction of another person, the field of action of each one is reduced to himself; so the healthiest thing is to make a distinction and take care of your emotional health.


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