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LGBTQ Drug Addiction Treatment: Rehab for Sexual Minorities

Drug and alcohol abuse is a major problem in the LGBTQ community. According to a 2018 study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 9% of sexual minority adults use opioids, compared to only 3.9% of heterosexual adults.

Substance misuse is more common among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning individuals because of the discrimination they face over their sexual orientation. LGBTQ individuals seeking treatment need more options for treatment.

Fortunately, there are drug treatment centers across the United States with program options that address the needs of gays and lesbians, as well as the transgender community.

Substance Abuse and Sexual Orientation

In a heteronormative society, the LGBTQ community faces discrimination in ways that are foreign to gender-conforming cis-het individuals. Consequently, gays, lesbians and transgender women and men are more likely to struggle with depression at some point in life.

Up to 60% of people in the LGBTQ community have struggled with anxiety. That rate is 2.5 times higher than the rate of their heterosexual counterparts. Given the aggravating external factors, non-straight sexual orientation can lead to a higher likelihood of substance abuse.

Of course, some drug use is down to other factors, such as easy access and lack of restraint. Among gay men, methamphetamine use is highly common in sexualized environments. According to one group of studies, crystal meth is used by 34% of gay men who engage in high-risk sexual activities.

Substance Abuse Treatment for Gays and Lesbians

Members of the LGBTQ community have the same rehab needs as heterosexuals who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. Treatment occurs in the following steps:

  • Detox  – The period when chemicals clear the body. Detox starts the moment the individual commits to sobriety and abstains from substance abuse.
  • Residential treatment – Inpatient treatment at a rehab treatment facility. Residents stay at the clinic for 30 to 90 days and undergo therapy. The daily schedule includes group meetings, wellness activities and education.
  • Outpatient treatment – The same objectives as residential treatment, but the patient stays at home and comes in during the daytime. Outpatient is good for people with stable domestic situations and those with less severe addiction problems.

LGBT individuals seeking treatment can find many problems that cater to their needs. Most treatment centers specifically state that they help all types of people and don’t discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Treatment Programs for LGBT Teens

Adolescent members of the LGBTQ community face even greater odds than gay, lesbian and transgender adults. This is due to the judgmental nature of adolescent culture. Most teenagers aren’t accepting of people who are different and most gay teens cope with harassment daily.

Today, 50% of teenagers have used an illicit drug. Considering the higher prevalence of drug abuse among gay people at large, there is a great need for teen LGBTQ substance abuse treatment programs. Fortunately, most American addiction centers that offer teen programs are LGTBQ-friendly.

Treatment Centers for Gay and Bisexual Men

Gay men and straight men alike struggle with substance abuse. The majority of people in addiction treatment programs are men.

A core part of treatment is group therapy, where patients meet collectively with counselors to discuss their struggles and triumphs. Some treatment centers offer programs with treatment options specially tailored to gay concerns.

Treatment Centers for Lesbians

A growing number of addiction treatment centers offer separate programs and campuses for female patients. It’s understood that women who struggle with substance abuse generally feel more comfortable at female-only residential facilities.

The various treatment programs that cater to women are generally safe and welcoming to lesbian patients. Traditionally, straight women aren’t as homophobic as men. Lesbians usually have no problem getting the treatment and support they need at women’s rehab facilities.

Mental Health: Co-Occurring Disorders

People who suffer discrimination for their sexuality or gender identity are twice as likely to struggle with mental illness as their heterosexual counterparts.

At today’s drug treatment centers, counselors treat mental health disorders as part of the problem. Counselors understand what the LGBTQ community suffers because most patients who come in for treatment, gay or straight, suffer from trauma or depression.

Even gays and lesbians who are not in rehab can get prescription medications to help with depression.

LGBTQ Rehab Centers

Across the US, specialized services exist for LGBTQ community members looking for treatment options to overcome addiction. Any search in the local directories, especially in the big cities, should bring up multiple options.

If someone you know needs help, contact a nearby treatment center today. LGBTQ rehab centers offer treatment for substance use disorders and mental health support groups for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

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