Essay about Codependency should be a Medical Diagnosis

Essay about Codependency should be a Medical Diagnosis

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A staggering amount of Americans struggle with a form of addiction or “dependency”. According to Winters, 96% of Americans suffer from codependency. Codependency is referred to as a national epidemic, because almost every form of compulsive behavior can be classified as an addiction (1996). Knowing this staggering statistic, we must ask ourselves: How are we contributing to our own codependency?
Being codependent (being addicted to something or someone), can be viewed in two different ways. The alcoholic or drug abuser is the dependent, and the person involved with the dependent person in any intimate way (spouse, lover, child, sibling, etc.) is the codependent. According to Strickland “Codependence is a ter used to describe a person who is intimately involved with a person who is abusing or addicted to alcohol of other forms of addiction”. The definition of the term needs to be expanded to include anyone showing an extreme degree of certain personality traits including denial, silence, or even cheerful tolerance of unreasonable behaviors. From others, rigid loyalty to family rules, a need to control others, finding identity through relationships, a lack of personal boundaries, and low self-esteem” (Strickland, 2001). Codependency should be viewed more as a mental health diagnosis, as opposed to an addiction.
“The popularization of the term codependency among the general public through the self-help literature has had positive and negative consequences for the practice of psychotherapy. On one hand, the popular usage of the term has been helpful in raising public awareness regarding the complex interrelationships that transpire within American families. On the other hand, widespread usage of the term has resulted in misunde...


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...ity” (Winters, 2001). The following is a brief description of each concept:



Works Cited

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. DSM-IV-TR Washington DC.
Gordon. (1997). Challenging Codependency: Feminist Critiques. Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 58.n2.
Hamilton, S. & Winters, P. (1996). The Recovery Movement Helps People Overcome Addiction. Opposing Viewpoints: America’s Victims. Ed. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.
Kaminer, W. & Winters, P. (1996). The recovery movement undermines personal responsibility in addicts. Opposing Viewpoints: America’s Victims: San Diego. Greenhaven Press.
Ponzetti. (2003). International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family. Ed. Vol. 1. 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, P 310-5.
Strickland. (2001). The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology Ed. 2nd ed. Detroit. Gail, P127-8

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