Those in the LGBTQ+ community may encounter a few barriers to addiction treatment that are unique to the life experience of this demographic. What are the challenges associated with LGBTQ+ addiction treatment and how can they be overcome?
LGBTQ Addiction Treatment Challenges
Today, 1 in 7 people in the United States will develop a substance use disorder at some point in their lives, but only 1 in 10 will receive treatment, according to The New York Times.
Those numbers are worse in the LGBTQ+ community, where substance use disorders affect up to 30 percent of the population. Though there are many reasons this might be the case, people identifying as LGBTQ+ typically face more social stigma, discrimination and other types of challenges heterosexual people do not. The National Institute of Health (NIH)
suggests: “Sexual minorities are at increased risk for various behavioral health issues.”
What are some of the challenges typically experienced when someone in the LGBTQ+ community seeks addiction treatment?
- There are generally not enough treatment facilities to cover the population experiencing a substance use disorder. The waiting list for facilities is long, sometimes as long as a year, and people can die just waiting for care.
- Out-of-pocket care for substance use disorders can be expensive, and many insurance carriers do not cover the disease. Even if insurance does cover treatment, the LGBTQ community is less likely than the general population to have insurance.
- Individuals in the LGBTQ community make less money than their peers, and unemployment rates are particularly high among transgender populations.
- Finally, the LGBTQ community can experience social isolation or rejection from family members. Lacking these supports can make it more challenging to enter a long- or short-term treatment facility.
Holistic Treatment Is Needed
Though addiction treatment resources
may be less widely available to the LGBTQ+ community, there are several ways to help those identifying as LGBTQ+ to achieve and maintain sobriety. Comprehensive and compassionate care for this community typically involves a deep understanding of the wants, needs and priorities of LGBTQ+.
Addiction treatment professionals should be trained to comprehend and address client needs peculiar to this demographic. For instance, understanding homophobia is only part of it; knowing that transgender people often prefer to be called by the gender they are transitioning to is another part.
Recognizing these issues as well as the fear and rejection that can stem from being an LGBTQ+ person can have an impact on the recovery effort. Conducting family and individual counseling in a way that comforts the LGBTQ+ person while acknowledging their unique life circumstances can enhance and support their recovery efforts.
Finding Help for Addiction
For anyone in need of addiction treatment, it may be best to seek a treatment program that can address specific needs in a caring and compassionate environment. Effective rehab programs are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Rather, an effective addiction treatment program is a holistic, individualized program designed for you personally.
To learn more about such programs in your area, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield
today to speak confidentially with a highly trained intake coordinator.