The prevalence of substance use disorders in the LGBTQ+ community is significantly higher than that of the general population. A significant reason for this is that historically, people who identify as LGBTQ+ have experienced more stigma, discrimination, and other familial and societal challenges than those who identify as heterosexual. These factors have also made it challenging to find an addiction treatment program that addresses the specific needs of those who identify as LBGTQ+.
Thankfully, in recent years the shift in perceptions about people who identify as LGBTQ+ has helped create a more accepting society, making it easier for LGBTQ+ individuals to seek the treatment they need openly. Today, addiction treatment centers across the nation are developing programs that address LGBTQ+ community’ s needs, as does New Bridge Foundation®. Call 866.772.8491 to learn more about our LGBTQ+ rehab treatment program.
The Need for an LGBTQ+ Addiction Rehab Program
Many people who identify as LGBTQ+ have experienced discrimination. Historically, this has included not getting the healthcare they need without bias or prejudice, including treatment for drug and alcohol use disorders. Identifying the unique issues of those who identify as LGBTQ+ and understanding how to account for these needs in an addiction treatment program is critical to providing a safe, comfortable environment for LGBTQ+ clients to pursue recovery.
An LGBTQ+ rehab program needs to address issues that impact overall well-being, including:
- Gender identity and sexual orientation
- Coming out
- Social stigmas, prejudice, and discrimination
- The link between trauma and substance use disorders
- Healthy sexuality
- Internalized homophobia
- Mental health impacts of trauma
So often, LGBTQ+ individuals have had to spend their lives trying to conform to norms not in line with their identity, leaving them feeling alienated or disconnected. These experiences are a critical reason for the need for inclusive addiction and mental health treatment that addresses the specific needs of LGBTQ+ individuals.
At New Bridge Foundation®, we believe that your story is unique. We design individualized treatment plans that address your addiction and any underlying mental health conditions that contribute to it.
3 Benefits of LGBTQ+ Addiction Treatment Programs
Addiction and mental health disorders do not discriminate. Discrimination, homophobia, bullying, and other trauma can cause many LGBTQ+ community members to suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health disorders. Often, these conditions are what contribute to substance abuse and addiction.
Of course, members of the LGBTQ+ community can receive addiction treatment from any rehab center. However, having a specialized program has numerous benefits, including:
- Support from peers – Peer support is a critical component of all addiction treatment programs. Members of the LGBTQ+ community have had experiences that might best be addressed in a group comprised of other LGBTQ+ individuals.
- Experienced treatment staff – In an LGBTQ+ rehab program, treatment staff members will have experience working with the LGBTQ+ community. Treatment team members can help with issues related to sexuality, discrimination, and past trauma that inexperienced staff might struggle with.
- Dual diagnosis treatment – Clinical depression, stress, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and eating disorders are common in the LGBTQ+ community and occur at higher rates than in the general public.
The Link Between LGBTQ+ Trauma and Addiction
Trauma is a deeply disturbing or distressing experience that threatens a person’s sense of safety and well-being. There are three specific types of trauma:
- Acute trauma, which results from a single traumatic event
- Chronic trauma, which results from repeated or prolonged exposure to traumatic events
- Complex trauma, which results from exposure to multiple and varied traumatic events, which are usually invasive and interpersonal
Most people associate trauma with a specific incident or experience. For members of the LGBTQ+ community, trauma can look much different and is usually the result of ongoing situations rather than one particular event. Individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ are typically victims of complex trauma, which can be a combination of any of the following frequently reported within the LGBTQ+ community:
- Being the target of hate crimes
- Being rejected or disowned by family and friends
- Social stigmatization
- Discrimination and prejudice
- Being the victim of physical, mental, or sexual abuse
Because of these experiences, LGBTQ+ individuals often hide or suppress their true identity and develop internalized homophobia, contributing to ongoing trauma. Many withdraw and isolate themselves to avoid the pain of harassment, ridicule, or rejection. This isolation and loneliness compound their mental health symptoms and fuels substance abuse and addiction.
Discover LGBTQ+ Addiction Treatment at New Bridge Foundation®
In the San Francisco Bay Area, New Bridge Foundation® offers an affordable and award-winning substance abuse and mental health treatment for members of the LGBTQ+ community in a safe and welcoming environment. Learn more about how we can help you or your loved one embrace your authentic self and take the first steps toward recovery. Use our online form or call 866.772.8491.