Substance abuse has destroyed families and communities at disproportionate rates. Unfortunately, individuals who identify as LGBTQ and addiction often go hand in hand. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), studies indicate that 39% of LGBTQ adults engaged in illicit drug usage.
Substance addiction can affect anyone, regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation, so it’s essential to understand the unique obstacles that LGBTQ individuals face when dealing with addiction. As a result, you can provide a more nuanced treatment plan that enables long-term positive effects.
If you or someone you love is battling with alcohol or substance abuse, recovery treatment programs can help provide a foundation for long-term recovery. AspenRidge offers dual diagnosis care for LGBTQ community. Contact us directly at 855-281-5588.
What are the Effects of Alcohol Abuse?
Alcoholism is a chronic disease that can cause many physical and mental health problems. It is characterized by an intense craving for alcohol, and many people who suffer from alcoholism find it very difficult to control their drinking. There are several symptoms of alcoholism, including liver damage, impaired judgment, and problems with memory and coordination. Alcoholism is also associated with an increased risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Although there is no cure for alcoholism, treatments can help people control their drinking and improve their overall health.
Alcohol Abuse in the LGBTQ Community
It’s no secret that the LGBTQ community has struggled with addiction and substance abuse at higher rates than the general population. But what many people don’t realize is that this problem is especially acute when it comes to alcohol abuse. According to a recent study, binge drinking rates were at 18% for straight individuals, while 29% in the LGBTQ community reported binge drinking. This issue is often compounded by the fact that members of the LGBTQ community are more likely to face discrimination and isolation, leading to feelings of loneliness and despair.
As a result, many LGBT people turn to alcohol and other drugs to cope with their problems.
There’s no doubt the LGBTQ community faces a disproportionate amount of mental health issues. There are a number of reasons why alcoholism is such a widespread problem in the LGBTQ community.
Increased Anxiety and Depression from Marginalization
While progress has been made to normalize LGBTQ issues in recent years, the fact remains that many LGBTQ people still face discrimination and exclusion on a daily basis. This circumstance can take a toll on mental health, leading to higher rates of anxiety and depression among LGBTQ people. Unfortunately, some people turn to alcohol to cope with these feelings of isolation and despair. While drinking may offer temporary relief, it ultimately makes things worse, exacerbating anxiety and depression.
Lack of Mental Health Resources
LGBTQ people have a higher risk for mental health problems due to the stress of hiding their identity, discrimination, and rejection by family and friends. However, they often have difficulty accessing mental health support due to a lack of trained providers, feeling unwelcome in mental health settings, and fears of discrimination. As a result, many LGBTQ individuals do not receive the care they need. This can lead to severe consequences and alcohol and drug abuse in the long term.
Members of the LGBTQ community have a lot to deal with regarding societal pressure and discrimination. One of the most challenging hurdles LGBTQ individuals face is internalized shame. This feeling is when someone takes on the negative messages about their identity that they see in the world around them. For LGBTQ people, these messages can be very harmful and lead to a sense of worthlessness and despair. As a result, many LGBTQ individuals turn to alcohol to numb the pain. Unfortunately, this only leads to more problems down the road, as alcohol addiction can wreak havoc on one’s physical and mental health.
Trauma from Violence
LGBTQ people experience a high rate of violence and trauma, which can lead to increased rates of substance abuse. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, almost half of transgender individuals have been assaulted. In addition, reports of incidents motivated by gender-identity bias increased by nearly 20 percent for the second year in a row in 2020. This ongoing violence and trauma can cause LGBTQ people to turn to alcohol and other drugs as a way to cope.
Treatment Options for LGBTQ and Addiction
The LGBTQ community has long been underserved by the addiction recovery industry. Traditional approaches to recovery often ignore the unique needs of LGBTQ individuals, who may struggle with issues like homophobia, shame, and isolation. As a result, many LGBTQ people feel like they don’t have a place in the recovery community.
Fortunately, there are now a number of recovery programs designed explicitly for LGBTQ and addiction. These programs recognize the challenges that LGBTQ people face and provide them with the support they need to recover from their alcohol addiction. In addition, these programs create a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ people to heal and connect with others who understand their experiences. With the help of these specialized programs, many LGBTQ people are finally finding the hope and healing they deserve.
LGBTQ individuals need to seek out supportive communities and counseling to heal the wounds of internalized shame and pave the way toward LGBTQ recovery. Only then can they hope to move on with their lives and do things like advance in their careers and start dating.
Unique Approach to LGBTQ and Addiction Treatment
AspenRidge Recovery offers a variety of addiction treatment programs that cater to LGBTQ groups. Our qualified staff is dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all patients, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. We offer a variety of specialized treatments designed to meet the unique needs of LGBTQ individuals. Our programs are based on the principles of 12-step recovery, and we provide a wide range of resources and support to help our patients achieve long-term sobriety.
If you or an LGBTQ loved one is looking for substance abuse treatment, we encourage you to reach out to us today. We are here to help you on your journey to recovery. Contact us directly at 855-281-5588.