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Why Is Drug Abuse Common in the LGBTQ Community?

a diverse group of lgbtq community members gather in support of each other and their sobriety

At Northpoint Nebraska, we take an integrated approach to addiction treatment. Patients have access to inpatient detox and rehab, a comfortable and safe environment to heal in, and same-day admissions. We offer an evidence-based treatment philosophy as well as a highly qualified and accredited team of professionals. Our addiction facility ensures that each patient feels welcome and secure as they go through treatment. Northpoint Nebraska offers LGBTQ addiction treatment to assist our LGBTQ patients and meet their specific needs as they go through treatment and recovery.

Addiction in the LGBTQ Community

An estimated 9% of the American population abuses substances. In comparison, it is estimated that 20 to 30% of the LGBTQ community abuses substances. Addiction in the LGBTQ community is prevalent. LGBTQ individuals are twice as likely as heterosexual adults to use illegal drugs. They are also almost twice as likely to suffer from substance use disorder. In addition, members of the LGBTQ community are about 12 times more likely to abuse amphetamines and more than nine times more likely to abuse heroin.

Addiction in the LGBTQ community is not the only common disorder. Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are also common among members of the LGBTQ community. A co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis, where an individual has substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time, is fairly common among LGBTQ individuals. It is important if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction in the LGBTQ community that you seek professional treatment to go through recovery.

Why is Drug Abuse Common in the LGBTQ Community?

The LGBTQ community has the highest rate of substance abuse compared to other social groups in our country. So why is drug abuse so common in the LGBTQ community? Many factors contribute to a higher rate of addiction among LGBTQ individuals. The LGBTQ community faces distinct challenges and societal obstacles. This can lead to self-medicating with substances to feel better or make the pain go away. This is a problem because continued use of substances can lead to dependence and addiction.

Challenges the LGBTQ community faces are:

  • Discrimination and social stigma based on sexual orientation
  • Internalized homophobia
  • Hate crimes, emotional abuse, threats, or public ridicule
  • Rejection or abandonment from friends and family after coming out
  • Loss of employment or employment opportunities
  • Lack of LGBTQ support services

These challenges can take a serious toll on a person’s emotional and mental well-being. Turning to drugs can temporarily numb negative feelings, but there are many long-term negative consequences of addiction. A lack of LGBTQ support services or resources can make it hard for individuals to reach out if they are struggling. However, more and more addiction facilities are beginning to offer LGBTQ addiction treatment and support programs.

Treating Substance Abuse in the LGBTQ Community

LGBTQ addiction treatment focuses on the specific challenges the community faces. Members of the LGBTQ community are likely to experience depression, isolation, and anxiety due to living a “closeted” life. Treating substance abuse in the LGBTQ community should involve programs and therapies that allow the patient to heal physically, emotionally, and mentally. Attending group therapy sessions where LGBTQ patients are surrounded by peers who have faced similar challenges can help them form healthy relationships and feel more comfortable opening up. Treating substance abuse in the LGBTQ community is not easy, but it is important for LGBTQ individuals struggling with addiction to know that help is available.

LGBTQ Addiction Treatment at Northpoint Nebraska 

If you are a member of the LGBTQ community struggling with addiction or know someone who is, it is crucial to seek treatment. At Northpoint Nebraska, we provide a safe environment and quality care to all our patients regardless of their background. Contact us today at 888.351.3834 to learn more about how we can help you.