Codependency is a term used to describe those who live with someone struggling with alcoholism. In most instances, the codependent person assumes the responsibility of caretaker and this often includes putting their own wants and needs aside. They often become chemically dependent themselves and exhibit many of the same characteristics as the addicted person they are dealing with.
There is a growing of awareness today regarding this type of relationship. In codependent relationships, a person will lose their individuality and lose the ability to express themselves freely. The drug addiction of their spouse becomes their identity, and they are unable to express opinions of their own out of fear or or denial of those feelings.
Codependent individuals usually focus all their attention on the person addicted and end up feeling confused, guilty, inadequate and angry. This relationship affects the codependent persons ability to develop normal self-esteem and they have difficulty establishing boundaries. The self-denial stems from a deep desire to be loved and accepted by someone, and this trait puts them in the perfect position to be victimized by an addict who needs a caretaker. The addict doesn’t need a caretaker, he needs drug rehabilitation.
The physical and emotional consequences of codependency include depression, anxiety, relationship dysfunctions, and cycling between hyperactivity / lethargy. Physical problems often result from untreated codependency. These may include: gastrointestinal disturbances, colitis, ulcers, migraine headaches, non-specific rashes and skin problems, high blood pressure, insomnia, sleep disorders, and other stress related physical illnesses.