Codependency and Opiates: Understanding This Co-Occurring Condition

Codependency and Opiates

Addiction causes life-changing effects to occur in the lives of those who suffer from it. When an individual is suffering from a substance use disorder, it’s likely that he or she will feel the impact of this disorder in various areas of life. Substance dependence can have a negative effect on a person’s emotional, mental, and physical health. It can also interfere with important relationships between individuals and their loved ones.

There are also cases in which substance dependence occurs in combination with other behavioral health disorders. Such is the case when addiction and codependency co-occur. When an individual suffers from the effects of codependency and addiction, the results can be life-altering. On their own, these disorders can wreak havoc on an individual’s life. But, when combined, these disorders are likely to cause quite a bit of trouble.

But, thankfully, help is available for individuals who are suffering from the impact of addiction and codependency. Through therapy and treatment, struggling individuals can find hope and freedom. By learning more about these disorders, those who wish to overcome them can prepare to take the first step toward recovery. Having more information on this subject and the resources available can also prove to be helpful for the family members and friends of suffering individuals.

Defining Codependency: What is It and How Does it Affect People?

Codependency is a behavioral and emotional health condition. It affects the way people think, behave, and feel. Codependency also negatively impacts the way people interact with others. When an individual suffers from codependency, the effects can lead to unhealthy behaviors and broken relationships. 

Some believe that codependency is a learned behavior. In some cases, this behavioral disorder may even seem to run in the family, being passed from one family member to the next. However, regardless of the way in which a person develops a codependent nature, the impact remains harmful.

Individuals who are in codependent relationships will find that their relationships with others are “one-sided”. Relationships that involve a codependent person are generally dysfunctional and unhealthy. They may even be abusive or destructive, bringing physical and/or emotional harm to those involved.

Symptoms of Codependency 

Some of the signs that a person is codependent are as follows:

  • The individual spends more time and energy on meeting another person’s needs instead of his or her own needs.
  • Codependent people typically have low self-esteem or a poor self-image, although they may seem to think well of themselves.
  • Individuals who suffer from codependency are often “people pleasers”. They frequently feel afraid of letting others down.
  • A lack of emotional boundaries may be present in a codependent person’s life. The individual may take responsibility for the way other people feel or think. Or, the person may have trouble allowing others to become emotionally close to him or her.
  • Some individuals who suffer from codependency may be controlling of others. This helps them to feel a sense of security and order.
  • Poor communication skills are often found in those who have codependent tendencies.

Codependency can cause issues between individuals and the people around them. It can lead to problems at work or in other group settings. It can also be problematic when it comes to romantic relationships.

Codependency in Relationships

Many relationships that involve individuals who are codependent either come to an end or remain in a harmful and unhealthy cycle. Often, a codependent individual may rely heavily on the approval and validation of his or her partner. The strong desire to please others can present itself in the way a codependent individual behaves in a relationship. The fear of being abandoned or rejected can keep individuals from saying “no” or being emotionally open and honest.

The control aspect is another way in which codependency can be harmful to relationships. Individuals who have codependent tendencies often experience an intense need to feel safe or secure. This need can cause them to try to control the situations and people in their lives. 

This could lead people to become overprotective or lose sight of other people’s boundaries. Individuals may try to control the actions of their spouses or partners. They may attempt to keep track of everything their partners do or the places they go, and so forth.

Since codependency is characterized by poor communication skills and discomfort when it comes to intimacy, codependent relationships can be very difficult. Those who suffer from codependency might have trouble opening up to their partners or spouses. They may be unable to communicate their true feelings or even identify the feelings and emotions of their loved ones.

More Effects of Codependency

Many times, those who struggle with codependency experience intense emotions. They may feel guilty or ashamed of their struggles, thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. This shame or guilt can cause them to feel unworthy or unloveable. They may also experience anxiety or depression due to the challenges they face.

The very thought of making a mistake or failing at something can be devastating to an individual who struggles with codependency. Individuals who suffer from this behavioral disorder may even begin to have severe feelings of resentment toward themselves and others. They might also feel extremely angry about their struggles or toward others who misunderstand them.

What Are Opiates?

Opiates are substances that have pain-relieving qualities. While there are prescription drugs that fall under the opiate category, there are also illicit substances within this category. Often, people consider the terms “opiate” and “opioid” to mean the same thing. However, there is one main difference between these two types of drugs.

Opiates drugs come directly from a plant called the opium poppy. But opioid drugs are synthetic drugs. They do, however, have a similar effect to that of opiate drugs. Despite this difference, many individuals and professionals alike use the term “opioid” as a reference to both types of substances.

Some of the common types of opiates and opioids are:

  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone

Opiates and opiates are extremely powerful and can be highly addictive to those who use them. The legal forms and doses of these drugs may seem to be helpful in that they can help to relieve pain. But, numerous individuals have found the use of these substances to lead to substance dependence and addiction. 

Unfortunately, many people who use even the legal forms of opiates and opioids develop substance use disorders. 

Codependency and Opiates: A Dangerous Combination

Addiction often co-occurs with mental and behavioral health conditions. Those who suffer from codependency may also struggle with addiction. This can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes, co-occurring disorders are in no way related to each other. Other times, a person may develop a substance use disorder as a result of their emotional, mental, or behavioral health challenges.

A codependent individual may struggle severely with guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, or depression. Unfortunately, the idea to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs may present itself as the only effective option. Individuals may turn to substances such as opiates in order to cope with their struggles.

When a person misuses opiates (whether they are illicit or prescription drugs), the effects can be serious. These effects may even be elevated by the symptoms of the individual’s mental health disorder. 

Those who suffer from addiction and codependency may become even more dependent on others. Substance dependence may also cause some individuals to become abusive, angry, destructive, or harmful in other ways. So, it’s important to seek professional help, guidance, and support immediately.

Receiving Hope and Help at Sana Lake Recovery Center

If you have been struggling with the effects of substance use disorder and codependency, you have probably experienced hopelessness. Many of the individuals who deal with co-occurring disorders often feel afraid, alone, and without hope. But, please rest assured that there is hope for you! You can overcome the struggles in your life and find healing and freedom. All, it takes is one phone call to begin your journey to brighter days and a healthier future.

Here at Sana Lake Recovery Center, we want to do more than simply help you to end addiction. While that is certainly one of our main goals, we strive to encourage growth in every area of your life. This includes your mental and emotional health. So, whether you’re dealing with codependency or a different mental or behavioral health concern, we are here for you!

Our mission is to grant our members the peace and healing that can come only through recovery. Your needs are very important to us; in fact, they are our top priority. This means that we will not treat you with a generalized approach. Instead, we will address your needs with an individualized approach, understanding that you are a unique individual who has specific needs. 

At our facility here in rural Dittmer, Missouri, you will find an atmosphere that is safe and judgment-free. You will also find a team of compassionate counselors, therapists, and professionals. Our team is dedicated to your well-being and we won’t rest until you are able to live a life that is fulfilling and free from the negative effects of addiction and mental illness.

About Our Dual Diagnosis Program

At Sana Lake, we understand that our members who suffer from co-occurring disorders have different needs than those who struggle with only addiction. A dual diagnosis program is essential during the treatment process of those who are dealing with co-occurring disorders. Treating only one disorder without addressing the other can be counterintuitive and ineffective. After all, many times, co-occurring disorders affect one another, sometimes intensifying each other’s effects. 

While in our dual diagnosis treatment program, our members can benefit from various services and therapy methods. These include:

At our treatment facility, we also offer resources for the family members and loved ones of struggling individuals. These include family therapy and much more.

Contact Us Today!

There is no need to wait any longer to get the help you need. Please contact us today to start traveling down the road to recovery. Our team is ready to walk you through this recovery process and help you begin living a new life! Please allow Sana Lake Recovery Center to be a part of your journey. We look forward to hearing from you!

Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MDDavid Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.