Co-dependency and addiction

Codependency and addiction is a dual-diagnosis that can have serious harmful effects on a person’s health and well-being. As human beings, we all depend on those we love at some point or another, but dependency can get out of hand if we become overly attached to others. If you are battling addiction alongside a co-dependent relationship, you may feel like you have lost yourself to both. Fortunately, codependency and addiction can be treated and once you identify the reasons for the conditions, you can begin the healing process and develop stronger, healthier relationships with yourself and those you love.

Co-dependency couple tied together

What is codependency?

Codependency is when a person is entirely mentally, emotionally or physically reliant on a romantic partner, friend or family member, often at a cost to their own well-being. A co- The term codependency was derived from Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1950s and referred to partners of people with substance addiction. Codependency often develops when that partner or loved one is involved in the person’s recovery but then becomes the subject of their psychological reliance.

Some of the main symptoms of codependency are listed below:

  • Often feeling sorry for the other person even if they upset you
  • Unable to find any time for yourself
  • Often apologising- even if you are not at fault
  • You find yourself making up excuses for someone’s negative actions
  • You often question whether you’re to blame for the other person’s behaviour.
  • Doing things for the other person- even it makes you uncomfortable
  • You need a specific person to like, love or accept you – to feel good about yourself
  • A feeling of “walking on eggshells” around another person

What is co-dependency and addiction?

If a person has a co-dependency and a simultaneous addiction, it is known as a co-occurring disorder. Addiction is characterised as a mental health disorder as it is an invisible yet overbearing force that compels people to partake in unhealthy behaviours to the point where they feel powerless to stop. Addiction comes in many forms, and it’s possible to be addicted to pretty much anything. Some common examples are substance abuse, such as drinking, abusing prescribed or illicit drugs and behavioural addiction, such as compulsive gambling, sex and love addiction and eating disorders.

Signs of codependency and addiction

Spotting the signs of addiction and codependency isn’t so straightforward. However, if you are concerned that you or someone close to you may be showing signs of either of these conditions, consider the following traits, and if any of them resonate, it may suggest that addiction or codependency is present:

  • Your loved one feels that they are inherently flawed or undeserving of love
  • They frequently engage in risky or unsafe behaviours
  • Your loved one feels a sense of guilt or shame for no apparent reason
  • They are in a close relationship with someone who abuses illicit substances
  • Your loved one often participates in ‘people pleasing’ behaviours, prioritising the happiness of others above their own
  • They seem emotionally unstable, jumping quickly from one emotional extreme to another

Co-dependency and addiction couple chained together

What are the causes of codependency and addiction?

There are many reasons why an individual may fall into codependency and addiction, some of which include:

Learned behaviour

Some people can become co-dependent and struggle with addiction if they have witnessed a parent or someone close to them exhibit similar behaviours. Moreover, if their codependent partner is addicted to substances, it’s likely that they may also develop a similar addiction.

To self-soothe or self-medicate

People who are codependent are often struggling with a lack of self-worth and may be battling with ongoing anxiety that causes them to feel distressed. The need to please a partner or to seek gratification from others can result in them feeling under pressure. They may turn to addictive behaviours or abuse substances as a way of calming their minds and bringing temporary relief to their anxiety. If such behaviours become habit, their tolerance also builds, meaning they need to engage in the behaviour to achieve the desired result. As a result, a person with co-dependency may become addicted to substances or behaviours without realising it.

How Liberty House treats codependency and addiction

At Liberty House, our staff are specialists in treating co-occurring disorders but it’s important to note that we treat addiction as the main disorder and so that will be the primary aim of your treatment. If you are addicted to a substance, you will be provided with a closely monitored detox process while receiving addiction counselling. During rehab treatment , your therapist will be able to show you the possible correlation between your addiction and codependency and, in doing so, will be able to help you to better handle codependent tendencies and symptoms

Some of the ways in which we help our clients to work through codependency and addiction are:

One-to-one counselling

One-to-one counselling with a licensed therapist can help to express your thoughts and feelings in a safe space. Your therapist will be able to help you to understand how your addiction came about so you gain clarity on your addiction and how best to stop it.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT specialises in the link between our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Liberty House offers thorough CBT sessions with a qualified psychologist to help you pinpoint feelings that trigger addiction, so you can have the power to respond with healthier behaviours.

Family therapy

We invite you and your loved ones to attend fortnightly Zoom calls, facilitated by a therapist. Not only can these sessions help you all to understand the nature of addiction, but your therapist can also help you to deconstruct unhealthy dependent behavioural patterns and reconstruct healthier boundaries in your relationship.


Mindfulness practices such as Yoga, meditation, and sound healing can bring restoration to the mind and body. This can help you to feel calm, bring your clarity of thinking and prepare you for a healthy night’s rest- such things are a great accompaniment to talking therapies.

Reach out for help

We take satisfaction in establishing a comfortable environment, run by a professional team, where you can feel safe to address and recover from codependency and addiction. If you have any additional questions, please contact us today and a member of our team will be able to guide you on the next steps.

Frequently asked questions

Will I stay overnight at Liberty House?
Yes, our centre works as an inpatient rehab, meaning that clients will take up temporary residence while they undergo addiction treatment. You will receive a comfortable room and our in-house chef will cook and prepare your daily meals. In addition, you will have access to exercise facilities and will be able to relax in the lounge during your free time.
How long will I be in treatment for?
We offer different treatment length programmes depending on the nature of your addiction. However, our most successful programme is our twenty-eight-day programme as this gives clients enough time to absorb all treatments available to ensure they get the best possible chance at recovery.