When many people discuss “cross-addiction,” they mean addiction to multiple substances such as alcohol and illicit drugs. Some, however, use this term in reference to their co-occurring substance addiction and behavioral addiction. While not technically an addiction in the strictest sense, one may also make an argument to include codependency and addiction under the same category. The two can become a tragic combination if even one of them remains untreated for too long, a possibility that addiction treatment centers must take into account when forming treatment plans for codependent patients.
If you suffer from both codependency and addiction, then it would greatly benefit you to understand the relationship between them and why they must be treated simultaneously. Allow the discussion below to help get you started.
How Codependency and Addiction Interact
Codependency and addiction share many traits. Just as an addict struggles to find pleasure when not using their substance of choice, a codependent allows their life to revolve around a person or people they care about. They behave in unhealthy ways to fulfill the need of having this person in their life, even to the extent of suffering emotional—and sometimes physical—consequences.
Another shared side effect of codependency and addiction is obsession, which manifests when the person no longer wants to engage in the same behavior yet cannot seem to break away. Many people who struggle with codependency wish to maintain a greater level of autonomy. When they actually try to put this into action, however, they find themselves torn.
People who suffer from both addiction and codependency will often allow one to fuel the other. Trapped in a codependent relationship, they will often resort to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate the resultant depression and anxiety. If the other person uses drugs and alcohol as well, this may become an unhealthy part of their relationship.
By contrast, those who suffer from both addiction and codependency may resort to codependent behaviors when unhappy with their addiction. Their substance use no longer satisfies their natural need for happiness, and they believe that their relationships can fill the void. The result is a tragic combination between two heartbreaking ailments, both of which will need to be addressed when entering addiction treatment. It will take a unique approach, involving individualized treatment that addresses the underlying causes of each behavior.
The Danger of Leaving Either Untreated
Addiction and codependency both stem from the need to seek external sources of fulfillment. While addicts primarily seek pleasure, codependents often seek purpose. In both cases, the addict or codependent may simply seek relief from co-occurring disorders that make it difficult to feel comfortable in their own skin. Either way, a facility with a strong focus on cognitive behavioral therapy can help by identifying the thought processes at hand and working to develop new, healthier behaviors to counteract them.
Treatment centers that do not offer this level of care will prove insufficient. As noted above, codependency and addiction often fuel each other. If a person receives addiction treatment without addressing their codependency, they may wind up in another unhealthy relationship and resort to substance use when this inevitably leaves them emotionally drained. Certain behavioral patterns of codependency, such as denial, avoidance and low self-esteem may also create emotional disturbance that can lead to relapse.
It goes without saying that the reverse is not as likely. Few, if any, addiction treatment centers would focus on the patient’s codependency issues without addressing their addiction. Nonetheless, patients must work with their treatment team to identify triggers that lead to both. Do not assume, just because codependency is the largest issue you deal with, that it was the only factor in your addiction. Other triggers may still lead to relapse if not addressed, and this will result in the same cycle of addiction and codependency from which you initially sought escape. Only comprehensive care that intensively treats both codependency and addiction on the same level will provide you with the long-term recovery you seek.
Recovering from Codependency and Addiction
Since addiction and codependency both require intense soul-searching and comprehensive therapy services, those who suffer from both should seek the best treatment available. You will find it at an Aspire Health Network facility. Each of our facilities can treat addiction and codependency with the care they deserve, but a particularly strong choice for patients suffering from codependency and addiction is Canyon View Treatment. Patients who enter Canyon View will enter separate facilities for men and women. For many patients, this alone will separate them from a primary trigger influencing their addiction and codependency issues.
Once at Canyon View, or any other Aspire facility of your choosing, you will engage in regular therapy to address the underlying causes of your problem. Your treatment team will customize a plan that not only identifies your issues, but helps build you up and strengthen your resolve against them. We will give you the tools you need to fight off codependency and addiction if the desire to engage in old behaviors begins to arise. Work the program outlined by your treatment team, and you can live free from addiction and codependency for the rest of your life.
For more information on recovery from codependency and addiction, contact us today. Codependency and addiction can combine to create a miserable lifestyle, but we will introduce you to a way of life that will free you from these bonds, lifting your spirits and allowing you to live joyously.