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- Content Reviewed By:
- Andrew McKenna - JD
- Deputy Director of NCADD Westchester
LGBTQIA+ Friendly Alcohol and Drug Rehab Centers
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual+ community have endured unconscionable bias since the United States was born. Despite some advancements over the past couple of decades—in areas such as same-sex marriage and military service—targeted emotional and physical violence continues to this day.
While we have made strides, we have a long way to go. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community continue to be victimized thus leading to high rates of Substance Use Disorder, as LGBTQIA+ individuals search for emotional “escape” from the resulting trauma.
For more information see: Psychiatry.org - LGBTQ
Co-occurring Mental Health Diagnoses Are Especially Prevalent Among People With Substance Use Disorders
A dual diagnosis—also known as a co-occurring disorder—describes an individual who has both a Substance Use Disorder and a mental disorder, such as anxiety disorder, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, personality disorder, and schizophrenia, among others.
For additional information visit: NIMH - Substance Use and Co-Occurring Mental Disorders
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “Substance misuse or overuse, which may be used as a coping mechanism or method of self-medication, is a significant concern for members of this community. LGBTQIA+ adults are nearly twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a substance use disorder. Transgender individuals are almost four times as likely as cisgender individuals to experience a substance use disorder.” (Cisgender denotes a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex registered for them at birth; not transgender).
LGBTQIA+ Individual Face Unique Challenges
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), reports:
“People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) often face social stigma, discrimination, and other challenges not encountered by people who identify as heterosexual. They also face a greater risk of harassment and violence. As a result of these and other stressors, sexual minorities are at increased risk for various behavioral health issues.”
For more insight visit: Substance Use and SUDs in LGBTQ* Populations
These findings are supported by other research as well. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that individuals who identify in the “sexual minority” are twice as likely to develop Substance Use Disorder than heterosexual individuals or cisgender men and women. The term “sexual minority” is defined as a non-heterosexual individual. According to the study:
“In 2019, 1.7 million “sexual minority” adults aged 18 or older needed substance use treatment, including 1.2 million sexual minority adults who needed treatment for their use of alcohol and 0.9 million who needed treatment for their use of illicit drugs.”
For more information on this important topic, visit: Sexual Orientation and Estimates of Adult Substance Use and Mental Health: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
There Is Hope; You Are Not Alone.
The best treatment programs are staffed with people who understand the unique relationship between sexual identity and mental health. In order to help you overcome Substance Use Disorder and other mental health challenges, LGBTQIA+ rehabs provide a compassionate, supportive, identity-affirming environment. Treatment centers specializing in LGBTQIA+ provide safe environments and employ master and doctorate-level clinicians to work with you—if you chose—your family members too. Your team of experts will explore the role of sexuality from the onset of Substance Use Disorder, to the present, and give you the necessary tools to achieve and maintain your long term recovery.
LGBTQIA+ friendly rehabs also offer non-gendered housing for transgender patients. Group therapy and individualized counseling provide support and solidarity and, again, create a safe space for patients to open up, exchange insights, and support one another. Most of all, these programs offer a sense of community and belonging in a situation where it’s most needed.
What Types Of Therapies Are Offered In LGBTQIA+ Rehab?
LGBTQIA+ treatment centers will help you or your loved one address the unique and specific factors associated with your addiction through a variety of therapies. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing, and other addiction treatment modalities. Many drug rehab facilities may offer family therapy programs to help you heal and rebuild your relationships with your loved ones. If you are struggling with a Substance Use Disorder and feel that your sexual or gender identity might play a role, you don’t have to struggle alone anymore.
For more information about evidence-based treatment modalities for LGBTQIA+ individuals, visit:
- A Provider's Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals - SAMHSA
- Best Practices for Mental Health Facilities Working With LGBT Clients
Locate a drug rehab center that provides LGBTQIA+ clients with an inclusive, welcoming environment for addiction recovery through evidence-based treatment for a Substance Use Disorder, sexual health, and co-occurring, dual-diagnoses.
Transgender, Queer, Asexual, & Allies
This acronym is often expanded to variations of LGBTQIA+ to best inclusively represent identities which include intersex and questioning people.
Resources for the LGBTQIA+ Community
- The LGBT Support Network
- Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations Information & Resource Kit
- Trevor Lifeline 1-866-488-7386
- Trans Lifeline 1-877-565-8860
LGBTQIA+ Drug Rehabs
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