What is codependency?

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Codependency: Overview

Codependency is an unhealthy relationship pattern between people who have a mental health condition and the people in their lives. It is not a mental health condition.

If you are worried you may have an unbalanced, unhealthy, or harmful relationship with another person, it may help to speak to a doctor or counselor.

Also, it is very important for you to take care of yourself. Making sure you get the understanding and respect you need will help you stay healthy in both physical and emotional ways.

How can you care for yourself if you have a codependent relationship?

  • Try to learn all you can about what healthy relationships look like. This can help you understand where you may need support to make changes.
  • Do not blame yourself for the person's condition.
  • Find a counselor you like and trust. Talk openly and honestly about your problems. Try to make any changes your counselor suggests.
  • Go to all counseling sessions. It is a good idea not to skip any, even if you are feeling better.
  • Talk to friends and family for emotional support.
  • It may help to make a plan with the person's friends or family about how to take care of the person when their symptoms are severe.
  • Try not to focus attention only on the person who has the substance use disorder.
  • Get enough rest. When you are too tired, it can be hard to cope with even small problems.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. For some people, walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities. These include running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports. Exercise can help you relieve stress and feel better.
  • Stay active. Try to do the things you usually enjoy, even if you do not feel like doing them.
  • Join a support group for people who are in codependent relationships. Talking with other people who are going through the same things can help.

Codependency: When to call

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You cannot concentrate or are easily confused.
  • You have trouble taking care of yourself.
  • You cannot go to your counseling sessions.
  • You feel sad or depressed.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.