One of the hardest things about being affirmed as having a dual diagnosis is the fact that even though you are supposed to be quitting drinking and drugs you are still prescribed drugs to treat your bipolar or depressive disorder. This can seem like it is hypocritical and a contradiction but medication is necessary if the person who suffers from this is going to get better.
Most people who have a dual diagnosis enter a rehab and then are thoroughly detoxed from any recreational drugs or alcohol use. The next step is usually medication because that it is what is needed to control uncomfortable withdrawal and psychiatric symptoms.
Some alcohol and recovery groups do believe you can’t be clean and sober unless you have abandoned all medication. However with a bipolar or manic individual this is an impossible request. If you suffer from these psychiatric disorders you need medication like this in the same way that a diabetic needs insulin to stay alive.
The good news is that if you do have a dual diagnosis you do not have to go to a standard recovery group. There are many dual diagnosis groups in North America. They are known as DBSA (www.dbsalliance.org) support groups and they can help you adjust to medications, being sober and becoming a socialized member of society.
Combined with medical treatment these DBSA support groups can help you understand and adhere to your treatment plan and also help you understand how you are not defined by a mood disorder or addiction. The DBSA can also be a place where you are better understood as everyone suffers from the same issues and afflictions that you do. Not only that but making friends does help you get better sooner, especially if you can benefit from experiences with having a dual diagnosis as well.