Codependency (sometimes called codependence) is a popular construct first proposed by the authors of self-help books directed at people who have a family member with a substance use problem. The construct was not derived from scientific research or theory and has not been adequately validated as a model that is appropriate for mental health professionals to use when conceptualizing the emotional and social difficulties associated with having substance use problems in the family.

In the bulk of the scholarly and popular literature, codependency refers to a dimensional attribute or disposition within a person, with high levels denoting a specific syndrome of psychological disturbance. Some proponents of the model have argued that codependency is a personality disorder, albeit yet to be formally recognized by the mental health ...

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