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What is Codependency?

What is Codependency?

Codependency can be defined as an emotional disorder characteristic of family members or people who live with drug addicts, pathological gamblers, and people with personality disorder. It is an intra and interpersonal psychological phenomenon that affects the emotional, physical and professional well-being of thousands of people.

The suffering resulting from the consequences of the family member's problematic behavior, plus the resignation that he needs to help him at any cost, is called codependency. Codependents impress by their resignation to “save” the addicted family member. They give up their own interests, or their own lives, to dedicate themselves to the family. One has the impression that it means an act of love, but it is a pathological attitude, since it does not result in the improvement of the person who presents the problem, besides leading to his own illness.

The term appeared between the 1940s and 1950s concomitant with the structuring of Alcoholics Anonymous: - When health professionals directed their attention to alcohol dependent women and observed that most of them had characteristics specific, different from those of other women who did not relate to an alcoholic.

However, it is important to note that codependency is a learned behavior - dependence on people and things outside of yourself; generating neglect and declining identity. The false self that emerges is often expressed through compulsive habits, addictions and other disorders that also increase the alienation of the real identity, adopting a feeling of shame.

Disease is not restricted to chemical dependence - codependents have been identified in various contexts as people with personality disorder or chronic illnesses. The Codependent generally takes responsibility for all areas of the other person's life: marital, family, social, and even work.


Text by Me. Mariane Radke, psychologist at the CEFI INTEGRATION Center, multidisciplinary approach and treatment center for chemical dependence at CEFIPOA.


If you know someone who needs our help or want to talk about this disease contact our team via WhatsApp: 51 94207006 or phone: 51 33461525