Every person that exists is a unique individual that lives their lives in different and beautiful ways. Everyone deserves quality treatment when it comes to substance abuse, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. The LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community has faced several obstacles that stand in the way of their potential sobriety.

There are treatment centers that exist intending to be sensitive to the needs of those within the LGBTQ community who require substance abuse treatment. Some studies have shown that LGBTQ groups in addiction treatment are more successful than non-specialized treatment programs

LGBTQ Challenges

Some challenges that members of the LGBTQ community face include the following:

  • Discrimination on sexual orientation
  • Hate crimes 
  • Emotional abuse
  • Threats
  • Public humiliation 
  • Rejection 
  • Shame from family or friends
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loneliness

Compared to the population as a whole, the LGBTQ community, in particular, suffer more from addiction than any other community. There are many obstacles that homosexuals face, as listed above. Because of this hatred that they so often experience, they are more likely to self medicate with drugs or alcohol to cope. This is because these substances can help numb the pain and heartache that they are experiencing. 

There are also a great many transgender people who have felt overwhelming loneliness or anxiousness due to the negativity projected upon their preferred life choices. This could make them more likely to use particular substances and abuse them. There are even some studies that suggest transgender students are between two and three times more likely to use cocaine, meth, and also abuse prescription opioids or benzos.

Depression and Other Behavioral Disorders

Life in the LGBTQ community is immensely difficult. There are many people who, even in the 21st century, hate diversity and become uncomfortable with such a lifestyle. Sadly, for the majority of human existence, this has been the same old story. Fear and hatred boil in the hearts of many individuals, and it’s just not right. Many within the gay community are impacted psychologically as a result.

When equal rights and treatment is even brought into question, a life of uncertainty ensues. This could lead any individual to an anxious or depressive state of mind. Because of this, these behavioral and mental health disorders must be treated properly; that’s why dual diagnosis is so significant in the realm of addiction treatment.

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is referred to when someone is suffering from a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder at the same time. To best understand and combat a co-occurring disorder, one must familiarize themselves with the science of dual diagnosis. It’s so significant because, if not treated properly, one illness could worsen the effects of the other. 

It is significant to note the difference between a co-occurring disorder and a sequence of disorders that influence one another before one misunderstands the concept of dual diagnosis altogether. The most common misunderstanding concerning dual diagnosis is the thought process of one disease influencing the other. It can be difficult to discern which disease came first.

To better understand what this all means, a person suffering from substance abuse could have been doing so long before they experienced a depressive state of being. The two aren’t required to have anything related to the two. The main point to grasp is that they are merely occurring and require treatment simultaneously.

Co-occurring disorders are so important to give attention to. Many people throughout the United States suffer from both a behavioral disorder and substance abuse. The number is well above nine million. That is enough people to cover the population of the entire state of Georgia. Not everything has to be so hopeless, however; there are many options concerning treatment for co-occurring disorders because it is so common. 

Treatment options for dual diagnoses are available for those who need it. If you or a loved one are suffering from a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder simultaneously, it may be time to consider finding help. Mental health and sobriety are very important to us at Discovery, and we want to provide patients with whatever is necessary to progress in their recovery journey. 

Other Treatment Options

While treatment for co-occurring disorders is significant to us at Discovery, other treatment options work better for some patients that we care just as much for. Many unique individuals walk through our doors, and our treatment shouldn’t force them into a mold. 

Some suffer from severe addiction, some suffer from mild addiction; some work well in intimate environments, and some are more successful in a group setting. Regardless of these differences in treatment, we at Discovery are committed to providing our patients with the best we have to offer. 

Inpatient Treatment

Lasting anywhere from 28 days to six months, inpatient residential treatment is for those who are suffering from more severe cases of addiction. This treatment option provides patients with 24/7 access to medical personnel, and weekly, in some cases daily, access to professional therapists and psychiatrists. This method of treatment is more intensive and has proven itself successful in the lives of many. 

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment, often a stepping stone to the world outside rehab for those exiting inpatient treatment, offers minimal disruption to one’s day-to-day life. This recovery method is meant for those who are suffering from a milder case of addiction. Patients who participate in this program are granted 10-12 hours of weekly access to professional therapists and psychiatrists. Outpatient rehab could take anywhere between six months and one year to complete. 

Detox Treatment

Detox, or medically assisted treatment (MAT), is used to help those who are experiencing symptoms of withdrawal come off of drugs easier, more comfortably. Withdrawal is a result of dependency, and for someone to no longer be dependent on a substance, they need to function without it. MAT provides patients with medication to combat the symptoms of withdrawal. 

Therapy in LGBTQ Treatment

For those within the LGBTQ community, the majority of their life may have been immensely difficult. From struggling with confusion as to why people are as hostile as they are to homosexuals or trans people, to the terrifying pressure of coming out, there are a vast array of circumstances that need to be addressed and resolved. Therapy is a good way to start in this regard. 

Generally, therapy is referred to as the process in which qualified professional attempts to help someone heal from whatever ails them psychologically or physically. Many different kinds of therapy have all proven themselves successful, and each one can be structured in a variety of ways. Therapy, no matter the kind, has been known to change the lives of those who participate. 

Ultimately, we aim to be successful in our treatment of the LGBTQ community. To do so, it is imperative that those participating in therapy, no matter which kind, trust the process. Trust goes a long way in rehab, and it could mean the difference between success and frustration. Sometimes, therapeutic methods may seem counterintuitive or silly, but to heal, skilled professionals use a wide variety of methods to treat their patients. Once trust has been established, patients can be sure to make great strides on their road to recovery. 

Treatment Centers For LGBTQ Community

There are many reasons why some of the LGBTQ community won’t seek help. Fear, denial, and depression are all factors that impact someone’s motivation. The biggest reason is perhaps due to the resources available to them in certain areas of the U.S. 

At Discovery, the LGBTQ community can rest assured that we have many different treatment programs to meet their individual needs. Many from these communities have endured isolation and unfair treatment, and we want to address that throughout their addiction treatment. Rehab centers that specialize in this realm of treatment can call co-occurring disorders what they are. 

Discovery Can Help

There are many hardships that those in the LGBTQ community face, and sadly, substance abuse is the reality for many of them. Any number of issues could contribute to someone’s substance abuse, and for those who endure such hostility in this day-in-age, it’s not far fetched to believe that this has something to do with the alarming rate of addiction.

There is no cookie-cutter addiction treatment method. Each individual is unique, with their battles to fight and demons to conquer. Empowering them in a way that caters to their every need is perhaps the most important part of what we do. 

At Discovery, our desire is for each person who enters our facility to feel as though they’re not just a number, but a unique individual. We are passionate about seeing those who struggle with substance abuse through to the end. If you or a loved one is battling addiction, you can contact us here.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.