Addiction is called a FAMILY DISEASE because the 8 essential symptoms of addiction and codependency are the same. Codependency is a condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. It is also known as “relationship addiction” because people with codependency often form or maintain relationships that are one-sided, emotionally destructive and/or abusive. Addiction/codependency is like an ice-burg. What you see sticking out above the water is only 15 percent of this illness. The majority or 85 percent is what lies below.

I. Preoccupation
Addict – Repetitive focus connected to their drug of choice or addictive behaviors.
Family member – Inability to focus on other things; experiences intrusive thoughts/always thinking about the addicted person.
2. Increased Tolerance
Addict – Needs more of the substance to achieve the same effect.
Family member – Becomes more tolerant of addict’s behavior.
3. Loss of Control
Addict – Loses control of their behavior under the influence of the substance.
Family member – Loses control of their emotional reaction to the addict.
4. Craving
Addict – A physical or psychological urge or craving to re-engage in getting high.
Family member – A physical or psychological craving or desire to control the addict.
5. Compulsive Behavior
Addict – Driven/obsessed to engage in addictive behaviors repeatedly.
Family member – Driven/obsessed to engage in compulsive behaviors such as snooping, rescuing, or fixing.
6. Decreased Tolerance (later stage)
Addict – Cannot engage or use to the extent he/she once did, experiences negative consequences more quickly.
Family Member – Less likely to stay in denial, may experience emotional bottom.
7. Medical/Physical Problems
Addict – Physical problems may escalate; weight loss, injuries may become more frequent, poor dental hygiene, prone to infections, lungs, heart, and liver are affected.
Family member – Stress-related health problems, less apt to prioritize healthy habits due to focus on addict. Experiences, insomnia, high blood pressure, depression, weight gain or loss, and isolation.
8. Denial and Delusion
Addict –
Rationalizing
Minimizing
Blaming
Sneaking, lying, hiding, keeping secrets
Isolating
Euphoric recall (remembering their first high).
Family member –
Rationalizing
Minimizing
Blaming
Sneaking, lying, hiding, keeping secrets
Isolating
Euphoric recall (remembering when times were good instead of focusing on the current situation).

If you can relate to any of these 8 symptoms don’t despair. Self-awareness is key to recovering from codependency and addiction. You can’t change what you don’t know or won’t acknowledge. It’s never too late to start over again. The only way you can fail at recovery is to quit trying.

(c) 2014 Jagged Little Edges All Rights Reserved

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