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Alcoholism and Drug Addiction – Symptoms of Family Co-Dependency

Early Symptoms

  • Embarrassment
  • Confusion
  • Denial – rationalization
  • Fear, anxiety, apprehension
  • Tension
  • False hopes
  • Disappointment
  • Guilt
  • Isolation, alienation
  • Euphoria
  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Protectiveness
  • Genuine pity and sympathy
  • Preoccupation with chemical dependency or alcoholism

Middle Symptoms

  • Love shift – rejection
  • Rage, panic
  • Constant worry
  • Concern for illness
  • Personal frustration
  • Lethargy – lack of motivation
  • Hostile toward chemical
  • Hopelessness
  • Punish the abuser
  • Self-pity, negative about self
  • Vindictive
  • Distrust of self and others
  • Rigidity
  • Seriously uncommunicative

Chronic Symptoms

  • Decline in independence
  • Role reversal
  • Withdraw from other family/community members
  • Fighting/nagging, verbal abuse
  • Psychosomatic ailments
  • Sexual problems
  • Avoid social occasions with drinking
  • Lying, covering up
  • Threats
  • Hiding, not being seen, paranoia about seeing others
  • More personal use of chemical, join up with chemically dependent
  • Self-absorbing isolation, no outlets, vacuum

“Families must let the alcoholic take the consequences of his drinking and focus less on them and more on their own feelings.”

Not all co-dependents have all these symptoms nor do they necessarily display them in the precise order listed above.

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