Dr. Timmen Cermack is a psychiatrist in Mill Valley, CA, who specializes in Addiction; he has also written books such as A Time to Heal: The Road to Recovery for Adult Children of Alcoholics, Marijuana What's a Parent to Believe, etc.
He wrote in the Preface of this 1986 book, "Co-dependence is both a legitimate psychological concept and important human disorder... It is time to define co-dependence at a level of sophistication at least equal to standards set forth in the DSM-III: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders... Once we establish scientific validity and reliability for the concept, more professionals will take it seriously and we can advance our understanding of this major source of distress. A definitive work on co-dependence is not yet possible. What IS possible at this point is to develop a more complete framework for understanding... than has been available so far... That is the goal of this book." (Pg. vii)
He observes, "The concept of co-dependence outlined herein assumes that chemical dependence is at least a fourfold disease. We are accustomed to thinking of it as having three facets---physical, emotional/psychological, and spiritual... But chemical dependence is also a FAMILY disease in the most profound sense of the word. Sooner of later, everyone around the sick person 'catches' it in one form or another." (Pg. viii) Later, he summarizes, "This book poses a single question: whether co-dependence meets the same standards for a personality disorder that ALREADY apply to the current categories." (Pg. 101)
He defines the term: "Co-dependence is a recognizable pattern of personality traits, predictably found within most members of chemically dependent families, which are capable of creating sufficient dysfunction to warrant diagnosis of Mixed Personality Disorder in DSM III." (Pg. 1) He adds, "[DSM III] gives therapists a way to communicate, it provides diagnostic criteria for research, and it affords a means for individual clients to interface with health resource providers." (Pg. 7)
He suggests, "whether co-dependence is seen as a disease or not depends ... on how one defines a diesase. Nonpsychotic Psychological Disorders are generally PATTERNS of maladaptive behavior which lie outside an individual's conscious ability to control (e.g., phobias, depression, personality disorders). In this broad sense, co-dependence can be seen as a true disease..." (Pg. 35)
He says, "The rediscovery of one's spirituality can lead to the deep characterological change that is essential to recovery from codependence. But because my intent is to help professionals to do better THERAPY with co-dependents, I have restricted my comments to the means by which psychotherapy can promote such change with or without the assistance of spiritual efforts on the part of the client... indeed, those therapists who take spirituality into account are probably more effective practitioners as a result." (Pg. 68)
This book will be of great help to anyone interested in Co-dependence, and related "Recovery" issues.