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Those in the LGBTQ community are experiencing substance use disorders at a higher rate than other populations in America. Also, mental health disorders co-occur at a greater rate within this community because of the tremendous amount of pressure you receive from the wider community along with the discrimination, and this increases the incidence of substance use.

Challenges of the LGBTQ Community


People within the LGBTQ community experience substance use issues more than the general population. The reason that this is true is because they are faced with several obstacles that the larger society imposes upon them, and these obstacles may confront them on a daily basis. For example, people in the heterosexual community do not regularly face the following because of their sexual orientation:

  • Being refused promotions at work or losing their jobs because of their sexual orientation.
  • Being rejected by their family members or friends because they have “come out” or feeling shame because of their sexual orientation.
  • Being ridiculed, publicly humiliated, the object of threats, and suffering emotional abuse or hate crimes against them.
  • Experiencing the stigma or discrimination that their sexual orientation brings them.

It can be extremely difficult for those in the LGBTQ community to deal with the issues listed above, so they often turn to alcohol or other substances to medicate their pain. They experience fear, anxiety, anger and depression, but substances are only a temporary reprieve for these mental conditions.

Those in the transgender community are at an even greater disadvantage than others within the LGBQ population. Transgender people are even more likely to self-medicate with substances for the loneliness and anxiety that they experience because of the discrimination and stigma. For example, transgender youth are 2.5 times more likely to use methamphetamines and cocaine. They are also twice as likely to abuse prescription medications, such as benzodiazepines or opioids.

Treatment for the LGBTQ Community

The medical community is learning more about the specific issues that the LGBTQ community experiences with substance use and addiction, so many treatment centers have the capacity to address the needs of your community now.

In many ways, treatment for those in the LGBTQ community is the same as the treatment that other populations need. For example, everyone must begin in the detoxification program that helps the body metabolize substances and remove them. Because treatment does not end with the detoxification program, the medical community advises that each person continue with treatment with behavioral therapies. They also need to become acquainted with the support group so that they will be able to continue with their treatment in the years to come.

In a treatment program that focuses on the issues of people in the LGBTQ community, it is important that the particular treatment center understands their personal, psychological and social challenges and also has the ability to provide support for all of your issues.

Support may include the following:

  • The guidelines that you will need to accept your identity and the process of “coming out.”
  • Remaining true to yourself when you are in the club scene or experiencing peer pressure.
  • Handling the guilt, anxiety or depression that your gender identity or sexual orientation causes you.
  • Learning ways to address the discrimination you experience from others in the community.

In general, people experiencing substance use disorders are also diagnosed with mental health disorders in large numbers. Those in the LGBTQ community are even more likely to have a mental health disorder along with a substance use disorder, so it is imperative that the treatment center you choose has a dual diagnosis program, and Allure Detox can offer you this type of treatment program.

Mental Health Help

The need for mental health help in the LGBTQ community can be underscored by examining this population. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration discovered that 1.9 million members of the LGBTQ community are experiencing mental health disorders and substance use disorders at the same time. Unfortunately, many of these people are not receiving treatment for either condition. In fact, the SAMHSA stated that 86.8% of LGBTQ members suffering from depression, anxiety or another mental health disorder do not receive treatment for their substance use disorders.

LGBTQ and addction

Statistics on LGBTQ Populations & Addiction

The medical community has known for several years that members of the LGBTQ community are more likely than the general population to have a substance use disorder. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors reported research findings that stated this very principle.

Today, you can find treatment for your substance use disorder that targets your needs specifically. Part of the treatment addresses the reasons that LGBTQ members experience addiction more than the general population.

Discrimination and Addiction in the LGBTQ Community

Members of the LGBTQ community experience discrimination within their wider communities and in their personal relationships. This has many deleterious effects according to the American Journal of Public Health. A published study reported that, after LGBTQ members experience multiple acts of discrimination, they are four times more likely to develop a substance use disorder than members of the wider community. Several things contribute to this reality, and they include the following:

  • Discrimination for one’s sexual orientation combines with the discrimination you experience because of your gender, race or religion.
  • Teenagers may experience discrimination from their peers.
  • Violence associated with being a member of the LGBTQ community or gender identity.
  • Violence perpetrated by a partner or a family member.
  • Losing custody of a child or losing a job because of your sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Being rejected by your family members or your religious community.
  • Not being allowed to participate in social activities or social groups.

Meeting the Particular Needs of LGBTQ Populations

When a treatment center is in tune to the needs of the LGBTQ population, it will integrate the findings listed above with its treatment plans. By so doing, it can more effectively treat your specific issues, including the following:

  • The physical and emotional difficulties that younger members of the LGBTQ community are facing.
  • Integrating hormonal therapy with behavioral therapies.
  • Those in the transgender community regularly feel as if their healthcare providers mistrust them, so this sensitive topic needs to be addressed in rehab.
  • Bisexual members of the community often feel as if they are alienated from the homosexual and the heterosexual communities.
  • Lesbian females often indulge in binge drinking and experience alcohol use disorders.
  • Gay men often engage in illicit substance use and marijuana use.

If you are a member of the LGBTQ community and are looking for help with your substance use disorder, we welcome you at Allure Detox. Give us a call today.


  • How does addiction affect the LGBTQ community?
  • What are the unique challenges that LGBTQ people face when it comes to addiction?
  • What can family and friends do to support a loved one who is struggling with addiction?
  • What are some of the most effective addiction treatment options for LGBTQ people?
  • What are some of the biggest myths about addiction and the LGBTQ community?
  • How can society better support LGBTQ people who are struggling with addiction?
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