Seeking codependency help is often the first step to improving a relationship overall. It is important that the person suffering from codependency and the people he or she is close to seek help together, as this is a disease of interaction. Therapy, support groups, and self-help books can all help decrease codependent behavior and prevent the disorder from becoming something more dangerous, such as alcoholism or depression.
Codependency is a discreet disorder, which makes recognizing and seeking help for codependency much more difficult than for other problematic behaviors. Disorders such as alcoholism and abusive behavior affect others negatively and often lead to interventions. A person who is codependent, on the other hand, often treats others better than themselves, and so people who are around someone suffering from codependency often do not notice the disorder until it is quite severe. This makes seeking codependency help very difficult, because the behavior has become deeply ingrained.
Working with a therapist can be a good source of codependency help. A therapist can help suggest strategies of assertiveness for a codependent person as well as identify deeper problems that may have led to codependent behavior in the first place. Codependency often occurs within a spectrum of other negative behaviors, such as addiction and self-hatred. A therapist is often the best professional to suggest ways of overcoming a large variety of personal problems associated with codependency.
There are also a variety of codependency help groups that have a number of different theories guiding their tactics. Some codependency help groups think of the disorder as an addiction to pleasing others. Others think of it as simple learned behavior that merely needs to be identified and changed. Many of these groups specifically work with women, who are often more likely to identify and seek codependency help than men.
Self-help books can be considered the origin of help for people suffering from codependency. Many books exist that provide guidelines for improving unhealthy codependent relationships, and these are often used in conjunction with self-help programs. Finding the right book on one's own can be a matter of trial and error, so it may be a good idea to check out multiple books from a library before investing in one plan. Much of the information contained in these books is also available online for more discreet help.
It is important to note that not everyone believes that people who are considered codependent need help. In many countries, relationships that would be considered codependent in certain Western contexts are considered normal and healthy. Moreover, codependency is valued in some religious traditions and thereby gives believers a sense of satisfaction. Codependency is a subjective diagnosis, and so it is important to make sure that the people identified as codependent feel that something is wrong, not just that their behaviors match a list of symptoms.