Every June, we celebrate Pride Month in the United States to honor members of the LGBTQ+ community. Since there have been stigmas surrounding LGBTQ+ people for decades, members of this community have been fighting to feel heard and respected for as long as they can remember. Because of all the hardships and discrimination they may have faced over the years, individuals in the LGBTQ+ community have unique needs that deserve to be met.
These needs are particularly specific when it comes to drug/alcohol use and addiction. Unfortunately, many LGBTQ+ people who struggle with substance abuse are turned away from receiving the treatment they need because of their sexual orientation. This could lead to further feelings of isolation, which are already strong in the LGBTQ+ community. To prevent members of the LGBTQ+ from spiraling into addiction, we need to offer them support and a helping hand.
Challenges That LGBTQ+ Individuals Face
There is an extreme lack of support from friends and family toward people in the LGBTQ+ community. Many LGBTQ+ people have faced trauma with loved ones or peers that make them feel rejected and alone. Maybe their parents kicked them out when they were a teenager, or perhaps they were bullied throughout school and weren’t able to make any real friends. Individuals in this community have to face prejudice and hate every day – even from the people who are supposed to love them the most and always be there for them.
Not only do LGBTQ+ face challenges with relationships because of discrimination, but they also are made to feel unwelcome and unsafe in public spaces. It is sadly common for bars, local businesses, and even doctor’s offices to judge individuals or turn them away purely because of their sexual orientation. Due to never feeling accepted in any environment, a majority of LGBTQ+ people struggle with mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse disorders.
Substance Abuse in the LGBTQ+ Community
Individuals in the LGBTQ+ community are more than twice as likely to develop a substance abuse or alcohol use disorder than heterosexual people. This is mainly because of the lack of support and care that LGBTQ+ people receive. When a person feels alone and doesn’t have anyone to turn to, they’re more likely to self-medicate and engage in unsafe behaviors.
A majority of safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community are in bars and nightclubs. While it’s important for LGBTQ+ people to have somewhere to let loose without being judged or frightened, these environments usually glorify partying, drinking, and using illicit drugs.
Unfortunately, many members of the LGBTQ+ community who know they struggle with substance abuse refuse to address the issue because they feel like they won’t receive proper treatment. In addition to some doctors and nurses holding prejudice against members of the LGBTQ+ community, most medical centers lack effective treatment options for LGBTQ+ individuals. However, many rehabilitation centers are now offering robust substance abuse treatment programs that are designed to cater to members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Addiction Treatment for LGBTQ+ Individuals
Since LGBTQ+ have unique needs, they require addiction treatment that reflects these needs. It is important for drug and alcohol treatment facilities to understand the experiences of LGBTQ+ people and tailor their services around them. At Steps to Recovery, we offer a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community to comfortably recover from drug or alcohol abuse. Our welcoming and friendly staff members are trained to meet the needs of every patient, including those who identify as LGBTQ+. For more information on our unique treatment program for LGBTQ+ individuals, contact our team of substance abuse representatives by giving us a call at 267.719.8528.