Though addiction impacts a large portion of the LGBTQ community, they often face barriers when seeking treatment for addiction problems. It is true that any addict will face problems in the course of trying to beat addiction, but LGBTQ addicts face a whole set of problems that is unique to them.
Recent studies into available rehab programs have shown that less than 10% of addiction treatment facilities offer LGBTQ-specific programs or even counseling methods that tailor to LGBTQ addicts. Despite the prevalence of substance abuse in the LGBTQ community, many facilities simply do not address the unique needs and requirements of LGBTQ addicts at this time for one reason or another.
Addiction in the LGBTQ Community
Every day, members of the LGBTQ community face discrimination and stigmatization simply for being who they are. Everyone from the general population to religious leaders and even to the government have promoted anti-LBGTQ agendas that discriminate against these individuals. Notably, it has been less than thirty years since homosexuality was finally declassified as a mental disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and the tides of this discriminatory attitude towards these individuals have not yet run out completely.
All of these factors combined have led many membtaers of the LGBTQ community to internalize this homophobia within their own minds and they have even let it control their emotions and their day to day lifestyles. This has caused feelings of self-doubt, fear, depression, and anxiety in countless individuals in this population. To deal with these feelings, these persons often turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. Though many self-medicate in order to relieve themselves of pain, humiliation, shame, and stigma, the reprieve is often temporary, and more often than not leads to addiction.
To make matters even worse, when members of the LGBTQ community do actually reach out for help with their substance abuse issues, they frequently face several barriers to getting clean and sober from addiction.
Barriers Faced by LGBTQ Addicts
Despite being a population that is vulnerable to addiction, members of the LGBTQ community often face barriers when seeking treatment. It is actually more difficult for them to beat addiction than it is for other demographics. These barriers include things like:
Discriminatory staff members: Frequently, staff members of treatment facilities are not properly trained in cultural sensitivity, leading to direct discrimination of LGBTQ patients. This causes these patients to not be treated as well as patients that are not LGBTQ, which makes for a less than optimal experience in rehab.
Lack of proper healthcare: Many doctors aren’t aware of the unique needs of members of the LGBTQ community. The discrimination faced by these individuals, however, requires special attention when it comes to addiction recovery, but they often do not get this special attention.
Ineffective health insurance: Though all citizens are required to carry health insurance, coverage for certain issues, (such as hormone therapy for transgender individuals), may not be included. This leaves members of this population without the care they need to achieve self-acceptance within their own lives and communities.
Lack of LGBTQ specific programs: When addressing addiction in the LGBTQ community, it is necessary to treat the underlying internalization of homophobia, self-hatred, and fear. Many facilities do not offer these specific programs, leaving LGBTQ addicts without the proper tools they need to recover from addiction. This is probably the most important factor, as only getting to the bottom of these underlying issues will truly resolve the addiction habits. If the treatment centers do not offer counseling that addresses these issues though, then LGBTQ addicts will have a hard time beating addiction.
Fear of recovery: When addicts enter recovery, they must face issues head on in order to set future goals. As with other addicts, LGBTQ addicts must face the underlying reason for their substance abuse issues. This may be more difficult for members of the LGBTQ population because they will face the full reality of societal stigmatization. Without the proper support, they might not be able to do this.
Though it is more difficult for LGBTQ addicts to beat addiction than it is for most others, it is not impossible. With the right tools, the right therapies, the right staff, and the right rehab center it is possible. One can use the resources in this article and others like it to aid one in the search for perfect treatment centers that will meet the needs of the addicted LGBTQ community.
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- The Barriers LGBTQ Addicts Face When Seeking Treatment Options - October 26, 2016