Members of the LGBTQ+ community face unique challenges that can impact their mental and emotional well-being, including social stigmas and discrimination that can lead to behavioral health issues. Substance abuse disorders, in particular, are more prevalent in this community, with higher rates of illicit drug use, prescription drug misuse, and alcohol dependency. LGBTQ+ youth are also at a higher risk for behavioral health issues, including depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. At Top of the World Ranch, we recognize the importance of offering addiction treatment services that are sensitive to the unique needs and experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals. In this blog post, we will explore the prevalence of substance abuse in the LGBTQ+ community, the mental health challenges faced by this community, and the importance of offering LBGTQ+-friendly addiction treatment services.
Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse in the LGBTQ+ Community
According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2015, LGBTQ+ individuals are more than twice as likely to have used illicit drugs in the past year compared to heterosexual adults. They are also more likely to experience a substance abuse disorder in their lifetime and to enter treatment with more severe substance abuse disorders.
Substance abuse disorders are often co-occurring with other behavioral health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Common psychological and emotional disorders among the LGBT community include major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, high levels of stress, and low self-esteem.
To put things into an even greater perspective, an estimated 20 to 30 perfect of the LGBTQ+ population as a whole abuses illicit substances, while the community is reported to be about nine percent of the entire population. Up to 25 percent of the general LBGTQ+ population has moderate alcohol dependency, and some subgroups have even higher rates of abuse. For example, 25 percent of bisexual women reported heavy drinking.
LGBTQ+ youth are also at a higher risk for behavioral health issues. They are four more times likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts and ideation, and engage in self-harm. Even among all adults, LGBTQ+ adults may experience behavioral health symptoms more greatly.
Treatment for the LBGTQ+ Community
When counseling LGBTQ+ members and guiding them through their recovery journey, it is important to consider all of the unique challenges they may face. At Top of the World Ranch, we understand the importance of providing addiction treatment services that are sensitive to the specific needs and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community.
One of the key elements of effective treatment for LGBTQ+ individuals is creating a safe and supportive environment. This means offering a judgment-free space where clients feel comfortable being open about their sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as any related issues they may be struggling with. By creating a safe space, we can help reduce the stigma and shame that LGBTQ+ individuals may feel, which can be a significant barrier to seeking treatment.
Another important aspect of treating the LGBTQ+ community is recognizing the unique risk factors that contribute to substance abuse disorders in this population. For example, LGBTQ+ individuals may experience rejection or discrimination from their families, friends, or community, which can lead to feelings of isolation and a sense of not belonging. This can increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, as well as substance abuse.
In addition, some members of the LGBTQ+ community may be hesitant to seek treatment for substance abuse disorders due to concerns about potential discrimination or a lack of understanding from healthcare providers. At Top of the World Ranch, we have a team of experienced and compassionate healthcare professionals who are trained to provide culturally competent care to LGBTQ+ individuals. Our team understands the unique challenges faced by this population and is committed to providing personalized care that addresses each client’s unique needs and circumstances.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction please reach out to us.