Substance abuse is a terrible problem amongst the LGBTQ community, and the LGBTQ substance abuse statistics are frightening.
LGBT stands for the community encompassing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning individuals.
Whether it is alcohol abuse, binge drinking, or even drugs such as methamphetamines, heroin, and opioids, those who are a part of the LGBTQ community, unfortunately, make up the LGBTQ substance abuse statistics.
Substance abuse in the LGBTQ community shows that LGBTQ adults are more than two times as likely to use illicit drugs or suffer from a substance use disorder.
There are many different reasons, so let’s examine different LGBTQ substance abuse statistics and what is specifically occurring.
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LGBTQ and Substance Use, Why Does Drug Addiction Occur?
Although LGBTQ individuals have made huge strides in terms of acceptance in the United States, the LGBTQ substance abuse statistics show differently.
This is because almost all LGBTQ individuals face some type of homophobia and discrimination.
Whether this is from their family, in public with their partners, or even in workplace harassment or bullying.
LGBTQ individuals also have to worry about hate crimes as well.
This can push individuals to drink or use substances to cope.
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Lack of Support for LGBTQ People
The reason that many members of the LGBTQ community choose to keep their sexual identity a secret is, once again, to avoid discrimination. Unfortunately, this forces them to live a double life, which creates feelings of anxiety and maybe even loneliness.
Often telling people about your sexual orientation can provide the opportunity for rejection, which is why LGBTQ substance abuse statistics are higher than that of those of straight people.
Even if family and friends of LGBTQ members are accepting, there are still cases where individuals suffer from internalized homophobia. This is when someone identifies with anti-gay stigmas.
This is specifically as the result of self-loathing and an inability to feel comfortable. If you are suffering from internalized homophobia, some of the LGBTQ substance abuse statistics show that alcohol and drugs serve as a method for silencing negative thoughts. Being drunk or high can help you to distract yourself only in the short term, as it might help you to live as your true self without worry about what others think.
Co-occurring disorders occur when there is one disorder along with a substance abuse disorder. LGBTQ substance abuse statistics show that LGBTQ members are at a higher risk for clinical depression, stress, and anxiety disorders.
Other risks include mood disorders, eating disorders, psychiatric problems, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted diseases. Dealing with these medical issues may make treating substance abuse even harder.
The Need for Specialized Treatment Options
Because those in the LGBTQ community do not feel comfortable going to a traditional treatment facility, it creates LGBTQ substance abuse statistics that show that LGBTQ individuals avoid treatment. Often there is a risk for group therapy participants or counselors to display homophobic behaviors. This makes it extremely uncomfortable to participate and feel safe in the treatment environment.
Additionally, most of the time the specific needs of LGBTQ individuals are not met in typically treatment options. Some specialized treatment necessities for LGBTQ individual include:
- Methods for dealing with social isolation
- Family problems
- Handling homophobia
LGBTQ Substance Abuse Statistics: Challenges
LGBTQ substance abuse statistics show that the LGBTQ community suffers from higher rates of substance abuse than the rest of the general population. This is mainly because of the many challenges faced daily.
The challenges faced by the LGBTQ community versus the rest of the heterosexual community:
- Discrimination based on sexual orientation
- Hate crimes
- Emotional abuse
- Public humiliation
- Shame from family or friends
- Loss of employment
- Internalized homophobia
Because of these challenges LGBTQ individuals might turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. These feelings might include depression, anxiety, anger, or fear. If this is how you feel and you have been turning to substances to numb your pain, it is important to understand that substances will only temporarily block negative feelings. Additionally, there are many long-term, negative consequences of using substances to block your feelings.
Those who identify as transgender are even more at risk than other members of the LGBTQ community. This means that transgender people may have even more anxiety or loneliness because there are even more societal stigma and misunderstanding.
One of the many LGBTQ substance abuse statistics shows that transgender students are two and a half times more likely to use cocaine or meth, and also two times more likely to abuse prescription medications.
LGBTQ Substance Abuse Statistics: Commonly Abused Drugs
Tobacco up to 200 percent more by gay and transgender individuals than those who identify as heterosexual.
Between 20 and 25 percent of the LGBTQ community struggle with an alcohol dependency of some kind.
Gay men are 3.5 times more likely to use marijuana than straight males. Although marijuana is legal in many states, there is still a risk of addiction.
You are 12.2 times more likely to use amphetamines as an LGBTQ individual.
LGBTQ individuals are 9.5 times more likely to use heroin than heterosexual individuals.
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LGBTQ Substance Abuse Statistics: Co-Existing Disorders
Co-existing disorders occur when you are struggling with some form of mental disorder or mental illness, at the same time as substance abuse. This is also known as a dual diagnosis. Because LGBTQ persons need to hide their true selves due to fear of rejection, this can lead to co-existing disorders.
Common psychological and emotional disorders among the LGBTQ community include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder, known as GAD
- Debilitating stress
- Suicide attempts or self-harm
- Sex addiction
- Sexual dysfunction
- HIV-related anxiety
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual assault
Addressing Dual Diagnosis
If you are LGBTQ and are suffering from a dual diagnosis, it is incredibly important that you treat both disorders. This also means that you need to consider a treatment plan that also addresses your mental or physical disorders, along with your substance abuse disorder. This will give you an overall better chance to find sobriety.
LGBTQ Substance Abuse Treatment Options
If you live in certain areas of the United States, it may be hard to find treatment options and resources.
This is because certain states are not as accepting of LGBTQ individuals as other states are.
Additionally, there are instances of violence and discrimination in treatment programs.
This is why it is so important to find LGBTQ-friendly programs.
LGBTQ-specific rehab centers can help to discover co-occurring mental health disorders, as well as trauma and recovery healing.
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Contact Us For LGBTQ Treatment Programs
Unfortunately, the rate of addiction for the LGBTQ community is concerning, along with the various obstacles that these individuals face daily, substance abuse is only an added daily struggle.
It is incredibly important to find a rehab that specializes in LGBTQ addiction and care.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health we want you to feel like you are part of a community and not ostracized.
Are you interested in learning about the support we can offer you along with free insurance verification for treatment?
This is important because it will allow you to understand what you can afford.
Contact us today to learn more.