What Is Coadiction?

Coaddiction is a highly complex behavior that significantly affects both the person who develops it and his or her closest circle. It can have important consequences in the development of their daily life, causing the person to lose their own tools to face daily difficulties.

Therefore, it is important to know what it is and how it can affect us. Not only to prevent yourself from developing it, but also to detect if any of the people you know may be developing this type of behavior.

Defining the coadition

Coadictions are defined as a dependent relationship in which at least one of the members of the same has an addiction to any type of substance. Therefore, the discord caused by the addiction causes an alteration in the behaviors of the closest members to be created and, therefore, a new way of functioning is generated.

Research has found that women are more prone to it, especially mothers and wives. What could be justified by cultural development in society. In this case, women have taken the role of caregivers, to the point of forgetting themselves to try to meet the needs of their relatives in return.

This term has its origin in families of people who participated in ” Alcoholics Anonymous “. Very particular physical, emotional and psychological conditions were detected in these family nuclei in the different sessions .

People in this situation  tend to develop a certain inability to express emotions and resolve personal and interpersonal conflicts. Efforts are dedicated to controlling the addictive behaviors of the addict, to the point of living through it. Therefore, a dynamic is created in which the addict, through his behaviors and manipulations, controls the life of the coadict.

Types of coaddiction

Two types of coadictions have been found to exist. Each of them has its own characteristics and consequences.


The first type is codependency. In this case, the person has an unhealthy dependent or interdependent bond with an addicted subject. It is important to emphasize that, in this type of addiction, the person is not addicted to any type of substance.

This situation stems from the stress of living and dealing with an addicted person. Therefore, this phenomenon is scalar, that is, it increases and intensifies with the passage of time. Among the descriptive principles of codependency are:

  • Constant investment of time trying to develop skills to control both themselves and the other person. Especially when adverse situations arise.
  • Prioritize knowledge and responsibilities of the addicted person, to the point of ignoring their own.
  • Distortion and anxiety of the boundaries between separation and anxiety. Forgetting your personal space and your needs.
  • Tendency to get involved in relationships with people with impulsivity, personality or drug-dependent disorder .


The second type of addiction is biodependence. This construct can be defined as a dependency on dependency, that is, a relational dependency implanted in a subject who is addicted.

In this case, there is a set of attitudes, affections and behaviors that, apart from the specific addiction, create dependence on people or situations of a sociopathic nature. This determines in an important way the daily activities of the two people corresponding to the coadiction.

Therefore, the biodependent person acquires a passive attitude. Likewise, they deliberately lose or significantly decrease their autonomy.

As a result, he does not make any decisions and becomes “an invalid person.” It could be said that the relationship they have with the person they depend on is similar to the one they have with the substance to which they are addicted.

However, it is important to specify that this lack of autonomy is not maintained when taking actions to maintain their addiction. Therefore, the addict is able to create and carry out actions to seek resources, acquire and buy the object of addiction. Among the clinical characteristics of biodependent people are:

  • Lack of awareness about the problem.
  • Delegation in decision-making and notable decrease in autonomy.
  • Demand for sensations with the partner that resemble those sought with the addictive substance.
  • Obsessive search for the partner, highlighting that this partner is the one that stimulates biodependence.

Why can a coadiction occur?

To begin, it is important to emphasize that coadiction occurs when one of the family members is addicted to some type of substance. When developing this disorder, it is easy for people in the environment to end up performing behaviors that serve as reinforcement for the addiction itself.

However, this perverse adaptation has a set of relational dynamics that are not healthy . In the case of the addicted person, when seeing the presence of significant problems due to the addiction and to minimize the damage that it produces, they begin to carry responsibilities that do not correspond to them.

That is, they begin to do activities and take on roles that correspond to the addicted person, favoring in some cases that the addicted person abandons himself even more.

As a consequence, the person begins to suffer from anxiety, stress. In the same way, it presents feelings of shame, due to the attitude of the addicted person and that of the person himself.

In addition, there is a presence of fear for not knowing if he is doing things well or for impotence because he cannot comply with everything. Finally, feelings of guilt develop because they believe that their attitudes are maintaining the addiction.


Addiction does not only affect the first person. The perverse consequences of dependency go further. On the other hand, the data tell us that the greater the addiction, the greater the chances that an addiction will be generated in the immediate environment.

When we reach this limit, the effects and consequences can be much more significant, to the point of being one of the aspects that reinforce the addiction. For this reason, in these cases, the support that generates a more desirable effect is that which is given within the framework of a psychological intervention, where the professional is always present to advise and direct.