Josh Chandler | June 17, 2022

Why LGBTQ People are 2-3 Times More Likely to Develop Addiction

Within the overall societal canvas that makes up the United States, there are certain demographics that are hit harder by specific health issues.  The LGBTQ addiction rates regarding drugs and alcohol is one of those issues.  Providing LGBTQ addiction rescources is important for alcohol and drug treatment organizations.  That’s why at Muse Treatment we are LGBTQ friendly and provide the customized care plans that can help everyone we treat.  No one should ever be afraid to reach out for treatment regarding substance use and mental health issues.  However, people everywhere, including those seeking LGBTQ addiction programs, often are hesitant to ask for help.  This is especially true in the LQBTQ community, as they already feel the pressure of discriminiation and stigma, and adding the stress of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction can sometimes be too much.  

 LGBTQ people are two to three times more likely to develop drug or alcohol addiction.  That’s why at Muse Treatment we have developedLGBTQ addiction programs to meet their specific needs. At Muse, we understand that the stress of discrimination and being a minority adds to the reasons why LGBTQ people turn to drugs and alcohol and need treatment for drug and alcohol use disorders.  No one should ever have to try and deal with alcohol or drug abuse on their own and finding substance abuse treatment that fits you and your needs can be an important first step on the road to addiction recovery.  If you or one of your loved ones is struggling with addiction and looking for LGBTQ addiction resources or any other treatment programs, please give us a call today. We’re here to help. 

LGBTQ Addiction Statistics

2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), suggests that rates of substance use patterns reported by sexual minority adults (in this survey, sexual minority adults includes individuals who describe themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual) are higher compared to those reported by heterosexual adults.  Specifically, an estimated 20 to 30% of the LGBTQ community struggles with substance abuse, compared to their heterosexual counterparts. First of all, the United States has been battling an opioid addiction epidemic for the past two decades, which has added to the need for the amount of alcohol and drug treatment programs that are available.  This includes the need for increased LGBTQ addiction treatment resources. The higher level of LGBTQ addictoin rates has been noticed by the drug and alcohol treatment community and at Muse we have taken action by offering specialized programs. 

Treatment for substance abuse has had its own stigma for many years, much to the detriment of those who truly need alcohol or drug abuse rehab care. Addiction affects people from every walk of life and it is a sign of strength, not weakness, to ask for help and get on the right path.  The LGBTQ community is also susceptible to having a dual diagnosis.  A dual diagnosis occurs when some has a drug or alcohol addiction and is also struggling with one of the many mental health disorders. 

Click here to call Muse Addiction Center today. Our staff is available 24/7 to provide answers and begin the admissions process. Call (800) 426-1818.

Risk Factors for Developing Addiction

There are many risk factors involved in developing a drug or alcohol addiction.  Addiction affects individuals from every demographic, with some substance use disorders being more prevalent in some communities than others.  Genetics can play a big part in why drug abuse becomes part of a person’s life.  If you’ve ever known someone who can have an occasional cigarette and not start smoking regularly, they are an example of someone who is not genetically predisposed to having an issue with alcohol and drug addiction.  The possibility of substance abuse can also be impacted by an individual’s environment.  If drug abuse, alcohol addiction, or other issues with drugs and alcohol are negatively affecting an individual’s life, they may have neglect or abuse from a parent or other family member in their past. 

Dual diagnosis is something we see and treat at Muse on a regular basis. Dual diagnosis of cooccurring disorders is the situation that occurs when a person has both an addiction and mental health issue.  In the past, addiction treatment and mental health disorders were cared for separately, which sometimes caused a patient additional problems if one issue was ignored or prioritized over the other. At Muse Treatment we have a specialized program for people who have cooccurring disorders so that they receive all of the care they need.  People who begin drinking or abusing drugs at an early age, between 18 and 24 or earlier, are more susceptible to developing a mental health disorder later on.  

The type of substance a person abuses can also be a factor as to whether or not they will develop drug or alcohol addiction.  Most if not all substances that are abused can have negative health impacts but some, like methamphetamines, cocaine and opioids can quickly become physically addictive.  Alcohol addiction, on the other hand, can take much more time to develop. Regardless of the why or how someone behind someone developing a drug or alcohol addiction, alcohol and drug substance abuse treatment is now more readily available than ever.  If you or one of your loved ones has drug abuse as part of their life and are afraid an addiction may be developing, do not wait, call us at Muse Treatment today.

Why Addiction Rates are High Among LGBTQ

As with factors that affect other demographic groups, there are reasons why LGBTQ addiction rates are higher than their overall heterosexual counterparts.  LGBTQ community members have often experienced emotional trauma, many at a young age, which impacts their susceptibility regarding alcohol and drug abuse.  In some cases, the level of trauma does not come out until an individual begins treatment for substance abuse.  Depression and anxiety also occur at a higher rate among LGBTQ people, compared to their heterosexual counterparts, which can also lead to alcohol or drug abuse, with the possibility of a dual diagnosis occurring, too.  Within all demographics that are treated for substance abuse, including LGBTQ addiction programs, there is approximately a one in three chance that someone struggling with drugs or alcohol also has a mental health issue they need cared for, too. 

In general, people who identify as LGBTQ lead a more stressful life than people who identify as heterosexual.  LGTBQ community members are a minority in the United States, which comes with its own set of feelings and circumstances, from isolation to being denied services.  Many people in the LQBTQ population fear being ostracized by family members, friends and coworkers, which leads to a higher level of stress on an everyday basis. In searching for people with similar lifestyles, the LGBTQ population also congregates in locals that have alcohol and often drugs readily available. This of course occurs with young people across all demographics, which also leads to alcohol and drug abuse.  There are some substances that are also more prevalent in their abuse within the LGBTQ population. 

Most Common Addictions Among LGBTQ

Every group that receives addiction treatment at Muse displays a preference to some extent to certain substances.  We see this in men versus women, people in different places on the economic spectrum, and members of the LGBTQ population. MDMA, GHB, ketamine, and methamphetamine, which are referred to in street terms as Molly, G, Special K, and Crystal, respectively, are often referred to as “gay party drugs.”  These drugs are used for recreational purposes but also as a way to escape some of the risk factors mentioned, like stress, depression, abuse, and neglect.  This causes a vicious cycle often seen in LGBTQ addiction programs. Professional treatment oganizations who proivde LGBTQ addcition resources, like Muse, are very aware of all of the complicated issues that are faced by trangender, gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals.     

Healing Trauma in LGBTQ

Emotional trauma is something everyone faces throughout their life.  Children are traumatized by the simple act of being separated from their parents as well as things that happen in the schoolyard.  It’s important, especially within the LGBTQ population, to know that you most likely have been traumatized.  This way, you can address the issue during addiction and mental health counseling and therapy.  Residential and outpatient treatment at Muse can help you work through trauma and triggers and assist you in developing coping and life skills as part of behavioral therapy.  At Muse Treatment, we have comprehensive programs that can help anyone who is committed to beginning a new phase in their life without the negative impacts of alcohol or drug abuse.

Addiction Treatment for LGBTQ People at Muse

LGBTQ addiction treatment is available at Muse and covers many levels of care.  At Muse we offer treatment for substance abuse that includes residential care, outpatient programs, specialized dual diagnosis plans, behavioral therapy and counseling, and introduction to aftercare support groups.  Aftercare can be a vital part of staying clean and sober and there are specific LGBTQ addiction support groups available in addition to the long standing Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous organizations.  If you are struggling with addiction, or one of your loved ones is being negatively affected by alcohol or drug abuse, give us a call today.

Josh Chandler
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