The LGBT community is a vibrant community filled with millions of individuals who are just like any other group of people, however, have faced adversity based on their sexual orientation and chosen gender assignment. Members of the LGBT community include lesbians, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, some of whom struggle with the disease of addiction.
When anyone, regardless of who they love or how they define themselves, is experiencing a substance use disorder, an innumerable amount of repercussions of that use can develop. For example, a substance use disorder can cost an individual his or her job, leading him or her to struggle financially. The changes in one’s behavior, communication, and overall personality due to substance abuse can cause his or her loved ones to pull away, opening up the doors for separation, divorce, and estrangement. Mental health disorders, if already occurring, can become worsened by substance abuse and if the use continues, it becomes possible for individuals to start experiencing symptoms of one or more mental illness. In addition to these risks, substance use disorders can cause severe physical complications such as vital organ damage, seizures, and cardiovascular problems, as well as death caused by overdose or an accident.
While members of the LGBT community experience several of the same consequences of substance use disorders as anyone else does, they also face a number of other challenges that are specific to their orientation.
Risk Factors for Substance Use Disorders in the LGBT Community
In 2015, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that LGBT individuals were more than twice as likely to develop a substance use disorder than the heterosexual community. In fact, 39.1% of LGBT individuals develop a substance use disorder for every 17.1% of heterosexual individuals. More LGBT individuals abuse drugs like marijuana than heterosexual individuals and 10.4 percent of people in this community abuse prescription painkillers. Comparatively, only 4.5 percent of the heterosexual community abuses prescription painkillers. And, LGBT adolescents experience higher rates of substance abuse than heterosexual adolescents.
So, why is addiction more prevalent in the LGBT community than the heterosexual community? There are several reasons why this occurs, including the following:
- Stress – Everyone experiences stress, however, LGBT individuals experience it on a much different level. Despite several advances being made in the fight for equal rights, LGBT individuals still face discrimination on a regular basis because of their sexual orientation. This can include being given dirty looks in public, being ignored by others, being antagonized, and even being unaccepted by peers. The stress that can come from this discrimination and maltreatment can be so hurtful and overwhelming that individuals turn to the use of drugs and/or alcohol to cope.
- Trauma – LGBT individuals are at an increased risk of suffering trauma within their lives. The types of traumatic experiences that are most common include sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and being disowned by family and other loved ones due to their orientation. When trauma goes untreated, these individuals might find solace in drinking or using drugs to numb the emotional pain being experienced.
- Isolation – Many LGBT community members find themselves isolated from others due to how they fear they may be treated. The idea of being treated poorly can be so frightening that individuals might choose to isolate themselves before that happens. Conversely, LGBT individuals might begin isolating themselves due to how they are already being treated by others.
Challenges Getting Treatment
For members of the LGBT community, getting effective treatment of any kind can be a challenge. From going to the dentist or the doctor for a routine check-up to needing emergency services or psychological care, these individuals run into problems more than most other groups of individuals. These individuals might find it difficult to trust their medical care providers due to their behaviors when interacting with them. Getting comfortable with a therapist who may seem slightly uncomfortable with someone in the LGBT community can be difficult. And, when it comes to reaching out for professional addiction treatment if a substance use disorder is occurring, many LGBT individuals struggle to find programs where they will not be judged by others who are in the program. However, with LGBT treatment in Ft. Walton, FL, those individuals can receive the attention and care they need to stop abusing drugs and/or alcohol for good.
LGBT Addiction Treatment In Ft. Walton, FL
Because of the backgrounds of most LGBT individuals, it often takes a specialized approach to provide the appropriate and most effective addiction treatment. While they might benefit from participating in a regular treatment program with heterosexual individuals, many in the LGBT community benefit even more from receiving specific treatment geared towards their needs.
LGBT treatment in Ft. Walton, FL focuses on providing individuals within this community the resources needed to heal. For example, one of the best qualities found within LGBT Treatment in Ft. Walton, FL is that those therapists and other specialists who are employed are not only experienced in treating this population but are also accepting of each individual whom they treat. There is zero discrimination or stigma associated with any treatment professionals, allowing for the most effective care to be provided. Additionally, LGBT Treatment in Ft. Walton, FL brings together members of this community, allowing them to relate to one another and develop a strong sense of support, rather than spending the majority of their time explaining their sexual orientation to others or being fearful of sharing their full truths due to fear of mistreatment by others.
Do You Need Help?
If you are a member of the LGBT community and are in need of professional addiction treatment, do not allow one more minute to pass by. You do not need to continue to stay trapped in a deadly cycle of addiction for any reason. By reaching out and asking for help, you can begin receiving the care that can help you heal emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. So, do not wait. Make the call that will change your life.