Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBT) individuals experience different challenges than non-LGBTQ people because of stigma and discrimination. In 2012, the Center for American Progress stated that 20-30% of LGBT individuals abuse substances, compared to about 9% of the general population. This number has risen greatly, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) stated in 2015 that the LGBTQ population is twice as likely to abuse substances – a rate of 39.1% versus 17.1% of the general population. There are several reasons for these high numbers:
- Stress – negative effects associated with stigma and discrimination; social prejudice may be experienced, even in the subtlest of ways (a lesbian couple being asked which person is the “real” parent of their child, for example). As many LGBTQ people do not feel they have a voice or cannot appropriately respond during these situations, self-medication is an unfortunate yet common scenario.
- Lack of cultural competency – hostility in the healthcare setting and misunderstandings regarding the needs of a person can cause many to not seek help.
- Targeted marketing efforts – many alcohol companies specifically target members of the LGBTQ community to help them “socialize”, when in reality people use those products to cope with the harsh realities they face.
Many people of the LGBTQ community experience discrimination in the workplace. Whether it’s through rejection of employment, rude comments at work, sexual harassment cases or never getting promoted even after hard work, LGBTQ people often struggle to find their way through the professional world as they are not always regarded with respect. This can lead many to become angry, effecting their relationship at home.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that for gay and bisexual men, drug use can also increase the chances of getting HIV and other STDs. The more support and empathy that can be provided to the LGBTQ community, the more likely these individuals are to seek help.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.