Social relationships significantly impact an individual’s physical and mental health. Codependency is an example of an unhealthy relationship dynamic. According to Innovation Imaging, “The quality of family relationships, including social support (e.g., providing love, advice, and care) and strain (e.g., arguments, being critical, making too many demands), can influence well-being through psychosocial, behavioral, and physiological pathways.”

Codependency can damage relationships and increase the risk of developing mental health disorders. Avery Lane provides clients with the tools they need to establish healthy boundaries within relationships.


What Is Codependency?

Every healthy relationship requires compromise, empathy, and balance. However, some women may struggle to establish or maintain balanced relationships with their loved ones. According to the International Journal of Addiction and Mental Health, “Codependency is described as a characteristic that develops in dysfunctional families, which is associated with neglecting oneself and focusing excessively on others, not being able to express their feelings explicitly, and gaining special satisfaction from their relationships with others.”

Some relationships enable self-destructive behaviors or have an imbalance between two people. A few examples of codependency include:

  • A partner caring for their significant other even when it negatively affects their own health and well-being
  • An adult child not making their own decisions to avoid confrontation with a parental figure
  • Couples doing whatever it takes to keep a relationship even if both individuals are unhappy

Codependency is especially dangerous for individuals diagnosed with substance use disorder (SUD), untreated trauma, complex mental health disorders, or dual diagnosis. Loved ones may try to interfere with treatment if they believe it may come between them or cause a shift in their relationship. Even a positive change may cause conflict unless the codependent behavior is addressed in treatment.

Common Risk Factors

Sometimes, maladaptive behaviors like codependency are caused by trauma or symptoms of unmanaged mental health disorders. Women may not even realize their relationship is codependent until someone with an objective view of their relationship points out the unhealthy behaviors.

Some known risk factors for developing codependent relationships include:

  • Childhood trauma, neglect, or abuse
  • Emotionally restrictive parental figures
  • Family history of SUD
  • Unmanaged trauma
  • Chronic stress
  • Attachment issues as a child or young adult
  • History of domestic abuse
  • Chronic health issues or mental health disorders
  • Active substance abuse

Codependency is most commonly experienced by individuals with mental health disorders. Often, the maladaptive dynamics are protective. For example, a partner of someone with depression may try to shield their loved one from the consequences of their symptoms. Instead of helping, all this does is reduce the need for their loved one to seek treatment, prolonging and worsening their symptoms. Codependency is unhealthy and may interfere with a person’s ability to access and follow through with professional mental health treatment.

How to Recognize the Signs of Codependency

Most people who develop a codependent relationship gradually fall into unhealthy habits and routines. An outside perspective is often the best way to recognize if a behavior or relationship has become maladaptive. For example, people concerned about the quality of their relationships can imagine a loved one in their shoes to see how they would feel about their experiences. Increased self-awareness helps people recognize warning signs and get help early before codependency affects their quality of life.

A few potential signs of a codependent relationship include:

  • Lack of boundaries
  • Low self-esteem or self-esteem tied directly to the other person or the relationship
  • A need to act as a caretaker for the other person regardless of their ability to care for themselves
  • Relying on the other person to act as a caretaker for you to function day-to-day
  • An excessive need to please the other person, even at risk to your own mental or physical health
  • Problems communicating needs
  • Chronic pressure, stress, or tension within the relationship

Codependency can happen in any relationship between partners, parents, children, extended family, and close friends. Professional relationships may also become codependent.

Treatment for Codependency at Avery Lane

Avery Lane is an award-winning treatment facility where clients work with a compassionate team of clinicians to identify, process, and manage primary or secondary mental health disorders, substance misuse, trauma, and any underlying issues. The care team helps clients repair damaged relationships, establish clear boundaries, and build a healthy foundation for personal growth. Individuals struggling with codependency often benefit from spending time away from the unhealthy relationship to get treatment.

Avery Lane offers a full continuum of care, including the following:

  • Medically assisted detox for women with primary or secondary SUD
  • Residential treatment
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Outpatient
  • Supportive living

Treatment options include psychotherapy, psychiatry, trauma and family therapy, group therapy, peer engagement, support groups, and other services. Clients have access to a wide range of treatments and collaborate closely with their care team to ensure all aspects of their recovery are addressed within their treatment plan. A family program is also available to help loved ones replace maladaptive behaviors with healthy alternatives.

Moving Forward and Building Healthy Relationships

Women in recovery benefit from positive social interactions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “When people are socially connected and have stable and supportive relationships, they are more likely to make healthy choices and to have better mental and physical health outcomes.” Avery Lane provides women with the information, resources, and skills they need to make healthy choices in their relationships. Codependency does not have to negatively impact a person’s recovery from substance abuse or mental health disorders.

Codependent relationships have a profound impact on a person’s well-being and their sense of self. Women with substance abuse and mental health disorders may struggle with overcoming codependency during treatment. Avery Lane uses psychotherapy, peer support, alternative holistic therapies, and other treatments to help women heal from unhealthy behaviors and maladaptive relationships. To learn more, call us today at (800) 270-2406.

Contact Avery Lane Admissions Today

Summer Lan Franco
MA, MFT-t, Primary Therapist

Summer Lan Franco loves working with people to facilitate recovery from substance use disorders, disordered eating, mental health issues and complex trauma. She earned her BS in Nutrition and Food Science from California State University Chico and MS in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of California. She has worked in community-based and private practice settings. Her approach is personable and sincere. Summer believes in helping people rediscover their true selves by uncovering barriers that stand in the way. Her warmth and earnest interest in others’ wellbeing are always present in the work she does with people seeking help. She has experience with trauma recovery, substance abuse recovery, codependency, family issues, disordered eating, treatment for anxiety and depression, and working with personality disorders.

Alaina Dunér
Office Manager, Sound Healing Group Facilitator, Reiki Master

Alaina Dunér is a Sonoma County native. She studied sociology and outdoor adventure programming for two years at Loyola University of New Orleans and Warren Wilson College. In 2016 Alaina was on a recreational skydive and had a crash landing that resulted in her fracturing multiple vertebrae in her spine. Since her accident, Alaina has emersed herself in understanding the nuances and complexities of health and spirituality. She is passionate about supporting clients through Reiki and Sound. Since taking a pause from university, Alaina has become a certified Reiki Master Teacher in the Tibetan Usui system, an Ayurvedic yoga instructor, a health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and a trauma informed sound facilitator. At the end of 2022 Alaina will attend Southern Utah University to complete her bachelor’s in aerospace and aviation with an emphasis on rotary flight.

Sunnie Skillman
Energy Worker

Sunnie has worked within the field of Energy Psychology for over 20 years and has been trained in a number of healing modalities, including EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Access Consciousness. She has been using the tools of Access Consciousness for 23 years, teaching classes and working with clients using various hands-on energy body work techniques. She specializes working with clients who have symptoms of PTSD and assisting in clearing where trauma is stored in the body.
Sunnie brings her personal experience with trauma healing as well as her kind and
caring energy to support the ladies interested in working with other healing modalities
at Avery Lane.

Nicole Collins,
AMFT, Primary Therapist

Nicole Collins entered the field of healing after receiving her BA from Colorado State University
in Human Services, which led her to work in domestic violence. Following her beliefs and
passion in the body-mind-spirit connection and the Intelligence of the Self-healing power, she
got her MS from Touro University in Vallejo. She believes that addiction, alcoholism,
depression, the things that push against your joy, calm, serenity, and sense of security, are
powerful and baffling. Still, there is something unique inside of you that is ready to push back
against it all. The fear, anxiety, depression, and trauma that press against your head and chest
are real, but they should not define you. She feels her role is to help you find the resources
within to overcome the challenges and suffering that life may bring. She specializes in trauma,
substance abuse, LGBTQIA+ community, matters of belonging, helping individuals heal in their
relationships within themselves. In your work together, she will meet you where you are and
support you in reacquainting you, with all parts of yourself, including your inherent wisdom.

Erin Miller, RADT
Recovery Counselor

Erin is a Registered Alcohol Drug Technician, Certified Recovery Coach, and Certified Clinical
Trauma Specialist-A (Trauma and Addiction). She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in
Psychology and Addiction Studies at Aspen University. Through her personal experience with
alcohol addiction and recovery, Erin was inspired to support others on their recovery journeys.
She brings kindness, compassion, and encouragement to her work at Avery Lane. Erin lives in
Sonoma County with her husband and their two adventurous children.

Laurel LeMohn
Recovery Counselor

is a Mendocino County native. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University in 2014 and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University. She has been a Recovery Counselor at Avery Lane since October, 2021, and works from a trauma-informed, psychodynamic, and humanistic lens. She has had a desire towards helping others since she was young and looks forward to working with you as you transition your life into one where you are thriving and proud to be living.