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Addiction in the LGBTQ Community: Why Does it Happen?

a person looks down toward the ground potentially someone struggling with addiction in the lgbtq community

Addiction and substance abuse rates in the LGBTQ community are significantly higher than in other groups. LGBTQ treatment programs are a fantastic option for those who are struggling with addiction and in need of a supportive environment in which to recover. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with substance abuse, reach out to one of Northpoint Seattle’s addiction specialists today by calling 888.483.6031 to learn more about our LGBTQ treatment programs.

Challenges in the LGBTQ Community

The rates of substance abuse in the LGBTQ community are significantly higher than in the general population. But why? Unfortunately, there are several obstacles imposed upon the LGBTQ community by society. Some of the challenges may include, but are not limited to:

  • Discrimination and stigma surrounding their sexual orientation
  • Hate crimes
  • Emotional abuse
  • Threats
  • Public humiliation
  • Rejection or shame from family or friends after coming out
  • Loss of employment or discrimination in the workplace
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual assault

Unfortunately, these obstacles can often lead to addiction in the LGBTQ community. The circumstances surrounding these obstacles can lead individuals to turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Many patients find that substance abuse may initially be beneficial to numb their feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, or fear. However, there are a number of long-term and negative consequences of addiction and substance abuse that people might not take into consideration.

Those who are part of the transgender and non-binary communities are especially vulnerable to substance abuse. This vulnerability is because transgender individuals are more likely to endure anxiety or loneliness due to stigma and discrimination, which cisgender people will not experience.

Co-Occurring Disorders in the LGBTQ Community

Many members of the LGBTQ community spent some time of their life closeted, meaning they were forced to hide their sexuality from others in an attempt to evade rejection. For many, it feels as if they are living a double life, where their loved ones don’t truly know who they really are. Feeling like you must keep your sexuality a secret can take a huge psychological toll on a person. This secrecy can lead to a deterioration in mental health and the development of mental health disorders caused by significant emotional stress.

Some of the most common mental health disorders present in the LGBTQ community are:

  • Major depression
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • High-stress levels
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self-harming tendencies

Many individuals in the LGBTQ community have a co-occurring mental disorder that may have initiated the substance abuse problem, or that is currently perpetuating substance abuse. When considering LGBTQ addiction treatment, make sure that you can address any co-occurring disorders to become the healthiest version of yourself.

Common Substances Used in the LGBTQ Community

There are several substances to which LGBTQ-identifying individuals can become addicted. These are not solely associated with those in the LGBTQ+ community. However, the following drugs are extremely common:

  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Amphetamines
  • Heroin

The signs of addiction to these drugs can vary, so make sure you do the proper research before treatment.

LGBTQ Addiction Treatment in Seattle at Northpoint Seattle

At Northpoint Seattle, we offer LGBTQ addiction treatment programs to help you or your loved one feel safe and secure while on your journey to recovery. The LGBTQ community faces a much higher rate of addiction than the rest of the population, and we are committed to ensuring our LGBTQ patients get the help they need. When entering Northpoint Seattle’s rehab center specializing in LGBTQ addiction and care, you will feel supported and encouraged to maintain a healthy recovery. Reach out to one of our LGBTQ addiction specialists today to find out more via 888.483.6031.