Co-dependency and addiction frequently go hand-in-hand. Addiction and substance or drug abuse often stems from dysfunctional relationships. This includes relationships with loved ones, family, friends and even work colleagues. This is why trauma therapy is so important to recovery.
A dysfunctional relationship dynamic often stems from a childhood trauma that has not been resolved, leaving a person at a loss for how to handle stressful interpersonal relationships in a constructive way.
Originally, co-dependent was a term used to describe partners in chemical dependency, persons living with, or in a relationship with an addicted person. It is also known as ‘relationship addiction’ because people with co-dependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive.
The Link Between Trauma and Addiction
Trauma manifests in a number of ways. What is important to note is it is not necessarily the traumatic event that causes Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or substance abuse but how the event was handled and how long the patient was exposed to chronic stress. Exposure to chronic trauma is termed Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) which is also treated at Recovery Direct.
Recovery Direct’s Approach to Treating Addiction and Co-dependant Relationships
Recovery Direct is a private rehab and recovery clinic based in Cape Town that takes a different approach to treating adults with drug, alcohol, eating disorders or compulsive behavioural disorders (so-called process disorders like compulsive gambling and sex addiction). They specialise in counselling families and close relatives of addicts. The ultimate goal is to help addicts re-integrate into life and working environments.
Symptoms of Unresolved Trauma Include:
- Unresolved trauma still affecting functionality
- Dysfunctional coping systems
- An untrue belief system about self
- Chemical imbalances
How is Co-dependency Treated?
Treatment includes both individual and group therapy where co-dependents rediscover themselves and identify self-defeating behaviour patterns. Most importantly, for treatment to be most effective, a safe environment is essential to recovery.
For this reason, Recovery Direct also offers family treatment programs which aim to improve the relationships between all the members of the family group and not just focus on the behaviour of the addict.
For more information a complete guide to co-dependency can be found here.