Drug & Alcohol Addiction Services for the LGBTQ Community in the United States
Substance abuse and alcoholism among the LGBTQ community within the United States are not an uncommon problem, and there are numerous factors that contribute to someone choosing to abuse drugs and alcohol. Many people in the United States who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender will often face social stigma, discrimination, or various challenges because of their sexual orientation. Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse through a national survey on drug use and health, it was found that people of a sexual minority were more than twice as likely to have used illicit drugs within that past year. For example, roughly over 30% had used marijuana, and over 10% had abused prescription pain medications. Many of the surveys and statistics done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse are not necessarily current but do provide a general idea of what is happening. Youth within the LGBTQ community are more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexuals, and transgender youth have the highest risk of developing substance use disorders, and the suicide rate among the transgender community is roughly around 40%.
Being gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transsexual does not cause drug addiction, but the stress of being a sexual minority can lead to substance abuse issues. Many youth within a sexual minority are often bullied in school, there is still discrimination, and attacks from other groups. Much of this along with early sexual confusion can lead to substance abuse problems. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report that two-thirds of Americans, who are ages 12 or older will have used drugs and alcohol in the past 12 months. Unfortunately, among the LGBTQ community, this can be much higher, and much of this can be linked back to facing rejection in their personal and professional lives or being bullied as a child. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol use is an attractive way to relieve stress;drinking, for example, is significantly more common among the LGBTQ community, and one out of every ten adults within this community has abused prescription pain medication. As mentioned above, one of the common reasons for this is because of minority stress.
Did you know this about treatment for the LGBTQ community?
It is known that the LGBTQ community has had a hard time getting the proper healthcare treatment without any bias in the past, but treatment centers have become more inclusive and it has made it easier for them to get the care they need.
Anytime that someone is socially stigmatized, there will be an increased risk for addictive habits to develop. Much of this can start at a young age, when an adolescent may be questioning their sexual orientation, and may be bullied as a result of it, which can later cause them further emotional trauma as an adult. Once you have discovered drugs and alcohol, this does become an easy way to fix the problem and cope with the stress. For example, LGBTQ homeless youth within the United States have some of the highest rates of illegal drug and alcohol abuse. Historically, many LGBTQ communities have centered around activities that do involve drinking and drug use. Despite this becoming less prevalent within American culture, the statistics still show that those in the LGBTQ community have a higher rate of drug and alcohol abuse. There are also differences between gay men and women with alcohol and drug abuse. Gay men often report a higher rate of lifetime drug use, than gay women; however, gay women are more likely to habitually abuse alcohol than gay men.
Throughout the United States are numerous drug and alcohol treatment services, support programs, and counseling and therapy centers who work directly with the LGBTQ community. Members of a sexual minority will see better outcomes when they attend drug rehab centers who do provide treatment for LGBTQ. Much of the counseling and treatment that will be provided at these specific programs may center around things such as homophobia, transphobia, family problems, and violence, along with social isolation. Other problems within the LGBTQ community that are often addressed at drug rehab centers include mental-health problems or a co-occurring disorder. Problems such as anxiety and depression are common, but all can be treated effectively at a drug rehab program that caters to sexual minorities.
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Extended Recovery Care
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