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Co-dependency and depression quite commonly occur together.  Co-dependency is a relatively common disorder where one person serves the needs of another in an unhealthy relationship. Generally, the signs of a co-dependent personality are highlighted by a obsessive preoccupation with the lives, feelings, and problems of others.  There is often accompanied by low self esteem, feeling unworthy, little sense of self, and the focus on others needs that they must fulfill in order to feel worthwhile.

Co-dependency can lead to a number of psychiatric disorders, including social anxieties and disorders including painful shyness, drug and alcohol addiction and other self-defeating behaviors. One of the most frequent co-occurring disorders with co-dependency is depression. Depression can lead to further exacerbating the issues and personality problems of co-dependency.

What is the relationship between co-dependency and depression?

By suppressing one’s own desires to fulfill the needs of another, they fail to focus enough on their own lives to elevate achieve a sense of worth and an independent identity. .

Depression is often characterized by feeling of the lack of fulfillment. By obsessing on the needs of another, the denial their own self can have quite a powerful effect. These characteristics can create conditions where depression can find a willing home.

Why do Co-dependency and Depression Occur Together?

Depression is often triggered by forces that keep the person from finding real happiness for themselves. In the end, they spiral downwards into a greater desire to fulfill the needs of another, yet never treat themselves to fulfilling their own needs.

While many co-dependents try to find self satisfaction by attending obsessively to another, in the end there is little chance that this strategy will bring a true sense of worth and independence. Therefore the co-dependent person is actually exacerbating their own lack of fulfillment and setting the conditions for depression.

What are the symptoms of co-dependency and depression?

The signs of co-dependency are many, but the most prominent one is the unhealthy obsession with addressing the feelings, desires and wishes of another person. There is a constant thought pattern of doing what is best for someone else, typically at their own sacrifice. What grows out of continued co-dependency is the sense of becoming a martyr and an obsession with being needed. In fact, being alone or no one needing their attention is strongly avoided. The codependent fears that without someone depending on them or needing them that their live will have no meaning, focus or worth.

However, there are some other effects of co-dependency. These include the development of alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, sex addiction and other compulsive behaviors.  This downward spiral of trying to find fulfillment in serving the needs of another person most frequently results in depression.

However, even the ending of the relationship does not stop the process as the co-dependent will simply find another to obsess over. Only by treating the co-dependency can this relationship pattern change.

Fortunately, there is now an Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of codependency and depression.   Our programs provide services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of codependency, depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Treatment for codependency, depression and anxiety can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.