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Ways to help LGBTQ youth identify substance use disorders

The LGBTQ community is a section of the society that faces immense discrimination and challenges due to gender biased stigmatization, violence and isolation from society. Due to social isolation and non-acceptance it is estimated that nearly 20 to 30 percent of the LGBTQ community become prone to substance abuse like alcohol, drugs and opioids.

The term LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. Their addiction treatment should address some cardinal problems such as family problems, social isolation, homophobia, transphobia and violence. 

Challenges the LGBTQ community faces

Living the life as a member of the LGBTQ community is not easy. They constantly face a lot of social challenges such as isolation and unacceptability on a daily basis, which nudges them towards substance abuse. The challenges the LGBTQ community faces include:

  • They face stigmatization and discrimination from society due to their sexual orientation.
  • They are ridiculed, abused, humiliated and also become victims of hate crimes.
  • They face shame or rejection from family and friends.
  • On the basis of sexual orientation, they often encounter loss of employment or do not receive due promotions.
  • Self-hatred becomes evident for them along with internalized homophobia.

LGBTQ people often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope up with the prejudices they face in their daily lives. Using substances relieve their emotional pain such as anxiety, depression and emotional exhaustion temporarily, but in the long run these substances negatively impact their physical and mental state.

Because of social stigma and discrimination, transgender people are particularly prone to use drugs or other substances to cope with fear or loneliness.

What disorders does the LGBTQ community face?

Members of the LGBTQ community always harbor a fear of rejection and isolation from the society for which they hide their sexual orientation. And hiding their sexual orientation can take a greater toll on the mental health.

Therefore, majority of the LGBTQ community members face depression, anxiety, acute stress, suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

Apart from this, LGBTQ people may also experience disorders such as compulsive sexual behavior, sexual dysfunctions, sexual abuse, HIV and sexual anxiety. 

What are the drugs of choice within LGBTQ community

The frequently used substances among LGBTQ community are alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, amphetamines and heroin.

Treatment programs for LGBTQ community and how we can help

There are several treatment options that focus on alleviating the long-term consequences faced by the LGBTQ community members from isolation. These intervention programs focus on reviving them from discrimination. Specialized LGBTQ rehabilitation centers can help identify comorbidities, thereby promoting long-term recovery. If the underlying cause of distorted mental health is due to addiction then chances of relapse become higher.

The level of addiction in the LGBT community is worrisome. They face various challenges and obstacles everyday shoving them to drug abuse.  When they enter a rehabilitation center that specializes in addiction of the LGBTQ community, they start feeling like a part of the majority and not a minority group. They will be surrounded by people who can provide support and encouragement.

If we want to help people from the LGBTQ community we need to consider them as part of our society. We need to treat them with equality because they also possess ability same as ours. Nobody should be discriminated on basis of sexual orientation. Sexual preference is simply an individual’s choice. We need to empathize with them not sympathize. We need to build a support network for them to make them feel that they are among us and empower them.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD) or a mental health disorder get in touch with 24/7 Recovery Helpline by calling our 24/7 helpline 855-441-4405.

We help patients to get the best comprehensive evidence-based treatment plans for substance abuse issues as well as mental health disorders. You can also chat online with our experts available 24/7 at our drug addiction help online to get guidance about dual-diagnosis treatment centers and programs offered.

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