Substance Abuse and Addiction Among LGBTQ Individuals
People who identify as LGBTQ are more likely to face social rejection, verbal harassment, and social stigma than people who identify as heterosexual. Friends, family members, and loved ones may even be a source of judgment or rejection in an LGBTQ person’s life. These issues can all lead to stress, anxiety, mental health problems, and substance abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), LGBTQ individuals have a much higher rate of substance abuse and mental health problems than the general population.1 LGBTQ adults more than are twice as likely to abuse alcohol and drugs and between 38 and 65 percent of transgender individuals think about suicide.2
- 20-30% of LGBTQ people abuse substances, compared to about 9% of the general population.
- 25% of LGBT people abuse alcohol, compared to 5-10% of the general population.
- Gay and transgender people smoke tobacco up to 200 percent more than their heterosexual and nontransgender peers.
- LGBTQ teens are six times more likely to experience symptoms of depression than the general population.
- Between 38-65% of transgender individuals experience suicidal ideation.
Although our society is continually taking steps to improve equality among all people, including those who identify as LGBTQ, there are still many instances of prejudice, discrimination, and social stigma in the workplace, at school, within interpersonal relationships, and in the health care industry, as well as elsewhere.
Sources: https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/LGBTQ https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2012/03/pdf/lgbt_substance_abuse.pdf
Using Drugs and Alcohol to Cope
Due to the additional challenges LGBTQ individuals face, many of them turn to alcohol and drugs to cope. The fear of coming out and being discriminated against may also produce a great deal of stress and anxiety. As a result, substance abuse becomes a way of survival and a tool to numb feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, isolation, and fear. Substance abuse is not only physically harmful, but it can also contribute to the development of mental health problems and exacerbate existing ones. As a result, a person can easily become trapped in a never-ending cycle of substance abuse and mental health problems, with each one fueling the other.
How to Find Addiction Treatment for LGBTQ Individuals
Six or seven decades ago, homosexuality and bisexuality were often considered a mental illness in the eyes of mental health professionals. As a result, many patients were forced to undergo treatment against their will. Fortunately, this is no longer the case, but many LGBTQ individuals still avoid getting professional help for their addiction and mental health problems due to social stigma and a general lack of understanding and empathy among treatment professionals. Although there is generally a much more positive attitude among treatment professionals regarding the LGBTQ community today, many addiction treatment professionals still lack the necessary knowledge and understanding to treat the unique needs of addicted LGBTQ individuals. Unfortunately, treatment often focuses much more on the person’s gender identity than their addiction and mental health problems, which is not helpful.
Finding LGBTQ-friendly addiction treatment can sometimes be difficult, but there are local resources available that can help you or a loved one overcome substance abuse problems and successfully make the transition into a fulfilling, sober life. Additionally, it’s important to find an addiction treatment provider that is familiar with current terminologies and newer forms of defining the LGBTQ community. An example is the term LGBTQIAPK, which incorporates a wide range of terms that people use to identify themselves and express their sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBTQIAPK is a term used in the LGBTQ community that stands for:
- Lesbian: Women who are attracted to other women
- Gay: Men who are attracted to other women
- Bisexual: A person who is attracted to both males and females
- Transgender: A person whose gender identity does not match the gender they were assigned at birth
- Questioning: A person who is unsure of their sexual orientation or gender identity and is exploring
- Intersexual: A person who has both male and female physical characteristics
- Asexual or Ally: A person who does not experience sexual attraction toward any gender or a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community who does not identify as LGBTQ+
- Pansexual: A person who is not limited in sexual choice regarding biological sex, gender, or gender identity
- Kink: A person who expresses their sexuality in ways that differ from mainstream society
LGBTQ Addiction Treatment and Recovery Resources in Austin, TX
A combination of addiction treatment services may be the best way to meet your unique treatment needs. Depending on your situation and the severity of your addiction, these services may include:
- Medical detox: This type of inpatient detox provides professional medical care during withdrawal from alcohol and other substances. Clinical counseling also gives clients an opportunity to work through emotional and psychological issues while preparing them for entry into a drug and alcohol rehab program.
- Residential drug and alcohol rehab: Inpatient rehab offers intensive care for LGBTQ individuals with severe or long-lasting addictions. It provides a structured and supportive environment and a break from the stressors of everyday life so clients can focus on their healing and recovery.
- Outpatient drug and alcohol rehab: Outpatient rehab is ideal for LGBTQ clients who cannot commit to a residential program. It offers more flexibility with flexible outpatient meetings so clients can tend to other obligations at work or home while they complete treatment.
- Sober living program: LGBTQ-friendly sober living homes provide sober and judgment-free living spaces for people in recovery, in addition to recovery support and social services. This structured home environment acts as a buffer between residential rehab and the return to society to better prepare clients for the increased responsibilities of independent sober living.
There are also several different addiction recovery groups in Austin that cater to the LGBTQ population. They include:
|AA Meetings||NA Meetings||Al-Anon and Nar Anon Meetings||LGBTQ Roundup||SMART Recovery Meetings|
LGBTQ Sober Living Homes in Austin
Some sober living homes may also offer LGBTQ-friendly sober living environments for people in recovery. Our closest LGBTQ sober living facility is an apartment complex at 7211 Northeast Dr, Austin, TX 78723.
At Eudaimonia Recovery Homes, we welcome all LGBTQ individuals who are working to achieve a life of sobriety. We want you to know that you deserve the highest quality of addiction treatment in a space that fosters acceptance for all, encourages honest and open communication, and meets your unique treatment needs. Whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning, we are here for you. Call today to speak with an admissions representative about our LGBTQ sober living options. References:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Substance Use Among Gay and Bisexual Men | CDC. Retrieved March 7, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/substance-abuse.htm
- National Alliance on Mental Illness. (n.d.). LGBTQ | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved March 7, 2019, from https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/LGBTQ
- Center for American Progress. (2012, March 9). Why the Gay and Transgender Population Experiences Higher Rates of Substance Use [PDF]. Retrieved March 7, 2019, from https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2012/03/pdf/lgbt_substance_abuse.pdf
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Nova Recovery Center is dedicated to helping you or your loved one get help. Please call or fill out this form for a confidential consultation. One of our understanding, dedicated advisors will contact you about your options. Begin healing today.