Familiarizing Yourself with LGBT Addiction Treatment
LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) individuals suffering from issues with addiction, are stigmatized twice over. These individuals may have encountered (or currently encounter) bigotry from many kinds of people; their own families, employers, society, and criminal justice officials. It is no wonder that LGBT addiction treatment may differ from that of heterosexual individuals.
LGBT substance abuse treatment providers must deliver skilled care to their patients. They must be cognizant and sensitive to the specific issues of the LGBT community. A number of factors contribute to the predisposition of individuals to becoming addicted. Some people argue that being a part of a marginalized group, like the LGBT community, adds stigma and causes some in the population to deal with the stress by consuming substances to alter their minds.
LGBT Addiction Statistics
According to SAMSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), the precise rates of LGBT substance abuse have been difficult to figure out for more than one reason. LGBT addiction statistics are difficult to pinpoint because the actual size of the population is not known. Studies on drug abuse do not normally ask about sexual orientation.
When compared with the general population, however, studies do indicate that the LGBT community is at a higher risk for abusing drugs and alcohol. The LGBT community also has a higher rate of substance abuse, are more likely to continue heavy imbibing later in life, and are less likely to abstain from use. Additionally, there is a higher instance of cocaine and marijuana use among lesbians than among heterosexual females.
Until 1973, homosexuality was considered a mental illness. Homosexuality is not something new, though, this behavior has been found throughout history and across cultures. Finally, the medical field has caught up. Institutions providing LGBT addiction treatment must be aware of the homophobia and heterosexism that LGBT individuals face (sometimes daily). Heterosexism is like racism or sexism in that it ignores and stigmatizes any form of romantic expression that is not heterosexual. Homophobia is an irrational fear of and discrimination of the LGBT community.
LGBT Addiction Treatment
Individuals who are a part of the LGBT community that have sought help, report feeling anxious, angry, fearful, isolated, and depressed. In addition to being sensitive to the sexual orientation aspect of the individual, one must also take into account their culture. People in the LGBT community are from all walks of life, all countries, all ages, all education levels, and all ethnicities. Some people may experience racism and hate – based on their skin color. Now add to the mix that they are a part of the LGBT community.
For some individuals, it is too much to bear, so they turn to drugs and/or alcohol to numb the pain they feel. Some individuals are part of a culture that shuns homosexuality. During treatment, providers must help people face this fact and learn to cope. Others, on the other hand, may be supported by their culture. It is imperative to discuss this with the patients.
LGBT addiction treatment should include a plan for post-treatment. Analysis should take into consideration the following:
- the client’s type of employment;
- their social support system;
- type of employment;
- employment status;
- living arrangements; and
- ongoing issues related to their sexual orientation.
If the client lives in an environment where they are surrounded by people who use drugs, they must figure something else out to have a higher chance at sobriety.
“Coming out” refers to the act of telling other people about their sexual identity. There are many ways in which people come out. Some people do not come out at all. It is a personal choice and is unique for each individual. Sometimes, LGBT substance abuse treatment includes a plan for coming out.
The LGBT community faces unique difficulties. They face hate, homophobia, bigotry, and a myriad of other issues. Some have faced violent attacks just because they are not heterosexual. Call us at 1-800-429-7690 for more information and for help finding treatment facilities that will cater to your specific needs.