How Addiction affects the LGBT Community and When to Seek Help
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community is among the most discriminated against populations in the United States. It is an unfortunate reality that LGBT individuals are also slightly more likely than heterosexual individuals to abuse drugs or alcohol. However, LGBT individuals are also less likely than others to seek out or remain in addiction treatment, out of a fear that they will be discriminated against or harassed by both other individuals in treatment as well the treatment professionals.
So how can members of the LGBT community obtain good quality addiction treatment? And what are some of the barriers they face?
Addiction Treatment for the LGBT Community
Addiction treatment programs generally place a very high emphasis on the privacy and safety of their clients and most will have a strict policy of non discrimination. But this doesn’t always stop the discrimination from taking place. Nor does it make LGBT individuals feel more comfortable. An environment where the LGBT individual doesn’t feel understood are a hindrance to their recovery. Suitable treatment options for the LGBT community include:
Psychological Outpatient Treatment
It might be more comfortable for the LGBT individual to speak to a mental health professional in a private setting. This way they can be open about their lifestyle without the fear of being judged or ridiculed. It is important to keep in mind however that outpatient treatment may be less effective than some other types of treatment, and carries a higher risk of relapse.
LGBT Addiction Support Groups
A support group where LGBT individuals can talk with recovering peers gives them a safe and comfortable environment to share experiences, whether about their sexuality or as someone in recovery. However, such groups may not be available everywhere.
LGBT Residential Addiction Treatment Facilities
There are a few, very few, inpatient addiction treatment facilities around the US, which are starting to offer programs specifically for the LGBT community. Like the LGBT addiction support groups, these programs are not always available in all areas. Regions with high LGBT populations will have the most of these sorts of services.
Treatment Barriers for LGBT Communities
LGBT individuals face a number of barriers when it comes to obtaining addiction treatment. If these barriers are not overcome, they can significantly decrease the chances of an LGBT individual seeking or wanting to stay in treatment. Some common barriers are:
- Failed past addiction treatment
- Fear of ridicule or harassment due to their lifestyle
- Financial difficulties
- Perceived stigma surrounding addiction treatment
Initially, the best places for an LGBT individual to turn to in order to seek addiction treatment is their primary physician, local psychologist clinic, hospital or other medical facilities. Medical professionals will be able to determine the extent of addiction and also recommend the right treatment options.
Blueprints provides support for young adults facing addiction recovery. Call us if you are an LGBT individual needing support to quit addiction. 877-594-4901.