There is consensus among LGBT experts that the discrimination, isolation and social pressures faced by individuals of the LGBT community increases their risk of using drugs and alcohol to cope. The following are some of the findings of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA):
- LGBT individuals are more likely to use drugs and alcohol and continue heavy drinking later in life;
- The use of meth is a particularly bad problem in the LGBT community;
- LGBT individuals are more likely to have higher rates of substance use disorders;
- Because LGBT individuals are frequently alienated and lack support from their families, it often creates emotional distress.
- LGBT individuals can have a tendency towards sex addiction, especially as a lot of shame can be tied to sexual expression.
Resources for Recovery
In today’s day and age there are a lot of resources to find help. At least in the urban areas one has access to LGBT community centers and other treatment providers. However, it is not enough to find merely adequate help. There need to be specific LGBT trained therapists and counselors to really help the LBGT community. One good resource is the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Addiction Providers (NALGAP), where individuals from the LGBT community can find options.
A common challenge is finding a program that will treat the individual as a whole. Especially in the case of LGBT individuals, therapists and counselors have to step away from the stereotypes of what it means to be LGBT and do some internal examination of their possible biases, and if required attend external training sessions on how best to work with individuals from the LGBT community.
It is important to remember that LGBT addiction is not the same as heterosexual addiction. Placing an LGBT individual in the same program as heterosexual patients will not go very far towards helping the LGBT individual, as the overall environment is not conducive to their healing. In this case the risk of recidivism can be very high.
Barriers to Seeking Help
Frequently LGBT individuals will not self identify openly in treatment. This of course means that they are not receiving the best, tailored treatment program. Coupled with the lack of properly trained therapists and counselors, or even personnel in treatment centers means that it is still difficult for members of the LGBT community the receive the treatment and care they truly deserve for recovery.
Recovery is hard work but you don’t have to do it alone. Call The Villa to find out how we can support your goals for sober living.