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Mental Health and Addiction in the LGBTQ Community

Members of the LGBTQ community face a number of challenges that contribute to the existing high rate of addiction among transgender and questioning individuals and gay and bisexual men and women. We take a closer look at the link between mental health and addiction.

Social Factors

Individuals often suffer obstacles imposed on them by society on a daily basis. They may be stigmatized and discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. This can take many forms, including not receiving promotions or losing their job. An LGBTQ person may also experience public humiliation, threats, and emotional abuse.

Fear of experiencing the above can cause an individual to avoid coming out, which can also negatively affect their mental health. As well, many experience self-hatred as a result of reactions from friends and family after coming out.

All of these factors can cause anger, anxiety, and depression that many will attempt to numb with drugs or alcohol.

 

Co-Occurring Disorders

In addition to the social factors that can negatively affect mental health and lead to addiction, co-occurring conditions like depression, eating disorders, and mental distress are also common among LGBTQ individuals. Often, illicit drugs are used to self-medicate instead of entering drug rehab clinics, only to result in addiction and the need for treatment. However, many barriers exist here as well.

 

Treatment Barriers

BriteLife Addiction Recovery in Hilton HeadThose who wish to seek treatment for their addiction often face one or more barriers to treatment. The needs of LGBTQ individuals may go unaddressed due to a lack of knowledge on the part of health care providers.

Negative past experiences with health care providers, such as discrimination, may also prevent a person from seeking help. They may also not be able to access sufficient treatment services due to other factors like education, ethnicity, income, or cultural beliefs.

 

Drug Use and Illness

When an individual turns to illegal drugs, they can put themselves in a position to contract serious illnesses. Heroin use can greatly increase a person’s chances of contracting HIV. The use of any drugs can impair judgment, which can lead to participation in high-risk activities like unprotected sex. This can also increase the risk of contracting HIV and other STDs.

Sexual health issues can also exist and include sex anxiety, compulsive sexual activity, and sexual dysfunction. These issues can be caused by drug use. As well, they may already exist, and addiction forms as the result of self-treatment.

 

Components of Successful Treatment

In order to receive successful treatment in addiction recovery centers, the body, mind, and spirit need to be considered. As well, those providing treatment must be willing to invest the extensive time needed to truly get to know the person they are treating. Finally, no recovery program can be considered complete without aftercare.

BriteLife Recovery provides comprehensive and customized residential drug and alcohol rehab. Our 1-on-1 sessions allow us to truly get to know our clients, and our experienced staff provides world-class treatment and aftercare. Learn more by getting in touch with us today.

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