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Co-Dependency

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Although there are several different typologies for co-dependency disorder, the main connection between all co-dependents is the unhealthy or excessive degree to which they exhibit caring feelings and behaviour. The most common symptoms include separation and abandonment anxiety, low self-esteem, denial, avoidance and control patterns, excessive caretaking, the need to people-please, and an extreme dependency on others. If several or most of the below questions apply to you, then you may need to seek treatment for co-dependency disorder.

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About Co-dependency Disorder



Originally, the concept of co-dependency came out of studies of alcohol addiction, when researchers realized that the spouses of alcoholics sometimes contributed to the problem through adopting a set of compulsive and maladaptive behaviours as a means of dealing with the stress and emotional pain. Traditionally, co-dependency describes a disorder where a person has become psychologically dependent on the maladaptive addiction behaviours of their partner. The term has since been broadened to encompass an unhealthy dependence on another person's behaviour in general, and an obsession with controlling that behaviour. Co-dependents need their partners for emotional gratification, to the point where daily tasks, psychological functions, and social interactions are negatively impacted. They often suffer from abandonment anxiety, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, crippling indecisiveness, and denial; co-dependents may resort to manipulation to control their partner's behaviour and make sure that he or she does not abandon them. Co-dependency is often linked with other disorders such as anxiety disorders, drug or alcohol addiction, and clinical depression.

Treatment of Co-dependency Disorder



Studies show that if left untreated, co-dependency symptoms worsen with time, but fortunately, these symptoms can be reversed. It is recommended that people suffering from co-dependency join a 12-step program such as Co-Dependents Anonymous for initial support and guidance. Additional counselling and therapy are often beneficial as well. Because the symptoms of co-dependency stem from deeply ingrained patterns of thought and maladaptive behaviours, one useful treatment is psychotherapy, which can help co-dependents identify the root causes behind their behaviours and emotions, and take steps towards changing these habits. Psychotherapy helps patients confront their abandonment and separation anxiety, and work towards re-establishing personal growth and attaining self-autonomy. Other treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy and trauma therapy can also help sufferers of co-dependency control and change their learned behavioural and emotional responses.

Post-Rehabilitation of Co-dependency Disorder



After treatment, patients should strive to maintain continual awareness of their emotional and behavioural responses and take direct actions to mitigate maladaptive behaviours. Keeping a record of thought patterns throughout the day and analyzing them for the reasons underlying them can be helpful. Patients should also keep working on fostering their self-esteem and reducing separation and abandonment anxiety. Social support is very important, and it may be helpful to share emotions, desires, and fears with close family and friends. In addition to a support group, self-help is recommended and activities such as meditation and yoga can aid in reducing anxiety and eliminating addictive behaviour. Since abandonment anxiety often entails feelings of loneliness, isolation, and emptiness, taking part in something meaningful and altruistic, such as volunteering for a charity, may help to reduce those negative feelings.

AM I SUFFERING FROM CO-DEPENDENCY DISORDER?

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Click to take our test, if any of the following questions relate to your Co-Dependency then you may be in need of help.
This test is intended to be used as a guidline only, please use our contact form or call us direct to speak to a specialist for further advice.
Q.1/24
Do you constantly focus on someone else's needs and desires at the expense of your own needs?
Q.2/24
Do you find yourself refraining from expressing your true feelings or thoughts because you are afraid of inconveniencing or displeasing others?
Q.3/24
Do you feel uncomfortable when others focus their attention on you and offer to help you?
Q.4/24
Do you often feel inadequate or unlovable?
Q.5/24
Do you feel anxious, helpless, or empty when you are alone or not in a close relationship?
Q.6/24
Do you feel ashamed of yourself or suffer from low self-esteem?
Q.7/24
Do you have extreme difficulty making even the most basic, everyday decisions without receiving a lot of advice from someone else?
Q.8/24
Do you go out of your way to be a caretaker and try to help people at high costs to yourself?
Q.9/24
Do you avoid ever disagreeing with other people because you are afraid they will be angry with you or stop supporting you, even if means compromising your own values and morals?
Q.10/24
Do you have a hard time doing activities or starting projects on your own because you have no confidence in your own judgment or abilities?
Q.11/24
Do you go to unreasonable lengths to do things for others so that you can obtain or maintain their support?
Q.12/24
Do you feel responsible for other people's problems or feelings, especially those of your spouse?
Q.13/24
Do you have trouble saying
Q.14/24
When one relationship ends, do you desperately seek another one so that you will have someone to care and support you?
Q.15/24
Do you spend an excessive amount of time worrying about being abandoned or left alone?
Q.16/24
Do you feel rejected, insecure, or resentful when someone does not take your help or advice?
Q.17/24
Do you use your caretaking to control and manipulate those around you?
Q.18/24
Do you spend most of your time thinking about other people or your relationships?
Q.19/24
Do you have a great fear of being rejected?
Q.20/24
Do you often deny your own needs and feelings, or have trouble identifying what you are feeling?
Q.21/24
Do you feel embarrassed accepting praise or recognition?
Q.22/24
Do you go to lengths to appear right in others' eyes, even if means lying?
Q.23/24
Do you use sex as a means of gaining the other person's approval and love?
Q.24/24
Do you use an attitude of authority, rage, helplessness, or indifference in order to manipulate those around you?
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