Can You Be Addicted to a Person Like a Drug?

Can You Be Addicted to a Person Like a Drug?

When we think of the word addiction we assume drugs, alcohol, gambling, or pornography. However, addiction can manifest in different ways, including being addicted to a person. This phenomenon, also known as relationship addiction, love addiction, or codependency, involves seeking external validation to compensate for low self-esteem.

Can you be addicted to a person like a drug? It might feel strange to type this into the search bar, but it’s a valid concern. We will delve into this question by discussing the concept of being addicted to a person, examining the differences between love, codependency, and addiction, delving into the causes of this unique form of addiction, and discussing how one can recover from it.

Can You be Addicted to a Person Like a Drug?

When we think of addiction, we typically associate it with substances that have addictive chemical properties. However, addiction can extend beyond substances to behavioral patterns and relationships. Being addicted to a person means relying on them for emotional validation and deriving a sense of self-worth from their presence in your life. This addiction can be characterized by low self-esteem, a constant need for external validation, and harmful consequences in various aspects of one's life.

Differentiating Love from Addiction

It is essential to differentiate between love and addiction when examining the concept of being addicted to a person. While love is a complex emotion characterized by affection, care, and mutual respect, addiction to a person manifests in unhealthy ways. In a loving relationship, healthy boundaries are maintained, open communication is encouraged, and both individuals retain their sense of self. On the other hand, addiction to a person often involves a sense of discomfort or reliance on the presence of the other person, intense jealousy or possessiveness, and neglect of one's own needs.

The Origins of Addiction to a Person

To understand why addiction to a person occurs, we must delve into early childhood attachment experiences. Research suggests that individuals who have experienced parental alcoholism or childhood abuse are more likely to develop codependent relationships. These early experiences can instill a deep sense of distrust and relational insecurity, leading to anxious attachment styles. As a result, individuals with this attachment style may become highly dependent on their relationships, fearing abandonment and seeking constant validation from their romantic partners.

Addiction to a Person and Other Addictions

Addiction to a person shares similarities with other forms of addiction, particularly in terms of brain activity. Studies have shown that feelings of intense romantic love engage the brain's reward system, releasing dopamine and activating regions similar to those associated with substance and behavioral addictions. This overlap in brain activity suggests that addiction to a person can have similar psychological and emotional effects as other addictive behaviors.

The Consequences of Addiction to a Person

Being addicted to a person can have detrimental consequences. Individuals may stay in abusive relationships, neglect other areas of their life, experience strained relationships with friends and family, or resort to substance use as a coping mechanism. The addictive nature of the relationship can prevent individuals from developing a healthy sense of self and hinder personal growth and fulfillment.

Recovering from Addiction to a Person

If you find yourself struggling with addiction to a person, it is crucial to seek support and take steps towards recovery. Here are some strategies that can help:

1. Recognize and Acknowledge the Problem

The first step in recovery is acknowledging that you are addicted to a person and that it is causing harm in your life. Reflect on the patterns and behaviors that indicate addiction, such as neglecting your own needs, constantly seeking validation, and experiencing negative consequences in various areas of your life.

2. Seek Professional Help

Recovering from addiction to a person often requires professional guidance. Consider reaching out to a psychologist or counselor who specializes in codependency or relationship addiction. They can provide valuable insights, support, and therapeutic techniques to help you break free from unhealthy patterns.

3. Build Self-Esteem and Independence

Focus on developing a strong sense of self-esteem and independence. Engage in activities that bring you joy, pursue personal goals, and surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family. Building a fulfilling life outside of the addictive relationship is crucial for your recovery.

4. Establish Boundaries

Set clear boundaries in your relationships and learn to prioritize your own needs. Communicate your boundaries assertively and be prepared to enforce them. It is essential to create a healthy balance between giving and receiving in relationships.

5. Practice Self-Care

Engage in self-care practices to nurture your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This may include activities such as exercise, mindfulness and meditation, journaling, or seeking creative outlets. Taking care of yourself will contribute to your overall recovery and help you develop a healthier perspective on relationships.

6. Join Support Groups

Consider joining support groups or therapy groups specifically focused on codependency or relationship addiction. Connecting with others who have experienced similar struggles can provide valuable support, insights, and a sense of belonging.


7. Educate Yourself

Learn more about addiction, codependency, and healthy relationships. Educating yourself about these topics can help you gain a deeper understanding of your own patterns and provide you with tools and strategies for recovery.

8. Practice Mindfulness

Incorporate mindfulness practices into your daily life. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, allowing you to make conscious choices and break free from automatic patterns.

9. Take One Day at a Time

Recovering from addiction to a person is a journey that requires patience and self-compassion. Focus on taking one day at a time and celebrate small victories along the way. Remember that healing takes time and effort, but it is possible to break free from the cycle of addiction.


The answer to can you be addicted to a person like a drug, though often overlooked, can be just as damaging as substance addiction. Recognizing the signs, seeking professional help, and implementing strategies for recovery are essential steps towards breaking free from this destructive pattern. By building self-esteem, establishing healthy boundaries, and prioritizing self-care, individuals can overcome their addiction to a person and regain control of their lives. Remember, you deserve healthy and fulfilling relationships based on love, respect, and mutual growth.


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