Codependency: Care Instructions

Skip to the navigation

Your Care Instructions

Codependency happens when you are greatly affected by a loved one's or another family member's substance use problem or dependence. You may feel that you can control the actions of another person through your will power. Since this cannot be done, you feel hopeless, betrayed, or angry.

Addiction is a disease. A person with a substance use problem is not choosing a drug or alcohol instead of friends or family. The person needs professional help to deal with the problem. The best thing you can do is to help the person get the help he or she needs.

Also, it is very important for you to take care of yourself. Making sure you get the understanding and respect you need will help you stay healthy in both physical and emotional ways.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Learn all you can about codependency. Being informed can help you deal with the problem.
  • Do not blame yourself for your family member's condition.
  • Find a counsellor you like and trust. Talk openly and honestly about your problems. Be willing to make some changes.
  • Go to all counselling sessions. Do not skip any just because you are feeling better.
  • Talk to friends and family for emotional support.
  • Make a plan with all family members about how to take care of your loved one when symptoms of his or her substance use problem are bad.
  • Do not focus attention only on the family member who has the problem.
  • Get enough rest. When you are too tired, it can be hard to cope with even small problems.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet to help prevent illness.
  • Get at least 2½ hours of exercise a week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports. Exercise can help you relieve stress and feel better.
  • Stay active. Try to do the things you usually enjoy, even if you do not feel like doing them.
  • Join a support group for family members, such as Al-Anon. Talking with other people who are going through the same things can help.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You cannot concentrate or are easily confused.
  • You have trouble taking care of yourself.
  • You cannot go to your counselling sessions.
  • You feel sad or depressed.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter X062 in the search box to learn more about "Codependency: Care Instructions".