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Find more information on us and our work in About The Center. Your contributions make our work possible! Thank you for being our partner in serving and supporting the LGBT community. Visit Support The Center. We are constantly inspired by the passion, creativity and pride of the LGBT community.
At this time, The Canyon at Peace Park is not accepting patients for any services. For too long,many addiction treatment programs overlooked the needs of gays and lesbians, leaving the unique relationship between substance use and the gay community out of treatment discussions. The best facilities now recognize the importance of addressing gay culture and incorporating culturally sensitive therapies into treatment plans.
Many research studies link the emotional struggles of people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender LGBT community with higher rates of substance use. Since many LGBT people feel stigmatized by their lifestyles, they may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to numb feelings of pain. Furthermore, many social gatherings for LGBT people take place at bars or center around drinking or drugs. Statistics on the of people who identify as LGBT are difficult to verify, as not everyone in the community feels comfortablesharingresponses with researchers.
The true may be much higher or much lower, depending on the region of the country and how comfortable people in the community feel about revealing their sexuality. Firm statistics about addiction in the LGBT community are similarly hard to find. For example, studies in the s and s indicated higher alcoholism rates among lesbian women when compared to heterosexual women. Since these studies were conducted in bars, some researchers now believe the were skewed as a result.
Other studies may have held hidden biases about LGBT activities, implying that addiction is a part of the lifestyle, when no such bias truly exists.
Some LGBT communities, however, place a high premium on alcohol and substance use. Gay-friendly bars are relatively easy to find, while gay-friendly coffee shops are slightly more rare. In addition, research associates some specific drugs of abuse with the LGBT community.
For example, gay men are ificantly more likely to use the following drugs, when compared to heterosexual men:. Gay men who use crystal meth known for its ability to increase sexual pleasure and promote weight loss are at further risk for developing psychotic symptoms similar to schizophrenia.
People who struggle with addiction and a co-occurring disorder, such as AIDS or anxiety, need more intensive treatment to address all of their symptoms at once. Having an addiction as well as a physical ailment like this can make the recovery process even more difficult. LGBT patients who seek addiction treatment typically have more severe substance use issues when compared to heterosexual patients.
A variety of reasons explain this phenomenon. For example, some LGBT patients experience severe criticism and ridicule throughout their lives due to their sexual orientation.
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These people may turn to drugs and alcohol at a very early age in order to stifle their pain, and this early substance use le to addiction by changing adolescent brain structures making the addiction more severe. In addition, as mentioned above, some LGBT patients find that their addictions are supported, or even encouraged, by partners and friends. There are other factors that may intensify an addiction. LGBT people may feel comfortable navigating a heterosexual world, tailoring what they say and how they behave in order to fit in with accepted cultural norms.
In fact, they may take pride in their abilities to walk undetected among people who are not in the LGBT community.
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However, living a double life in this way is detrimental to therapy. A person, who consistently hedges and hides, keeps back information and withholds key components, may not benefit from therapy. With so much energy spent on hiding, little energy is left for learning.
Some programs attempt to help LGBT people feel comfortable in subtle ways. They may do one or more of the following:.
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For some patients, these small steps are sufficient. When they see the facility takes time to make them feel welcome, they may feel no extra work is needed. These programs are relatively rare. In fact, only For those who prefer specific LGBT programs, the search may take a little time.
Addiction treatment programs encourage people to follow up treatment by ing support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. Some communities conduct meetings limited to only LGBT members. These targeted meetings may be more relaxing for some people, as they feel more comfortable discussing their personal lives with other LGBT people. Talking about their personal lives with heterosexual people may be more threatening for some people.
Counseling forms the cornerstone of an addiction treatment program. Through therapies including cognitive behavioral therapy or motivational enhancement therapy, people learn more about why addiction begins, and what they can do to control it. For some LGBT people, therapy concerns issues of self-acceptance.
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In therapy, some people learn how to accept their sexuality and overcome their internalized homophobia. Addiction therapy sometimes includes family members. As an addiction progresses, families struggle with financial and emotional stress, and these issues remain even when the addiction is on the mend.
LGBT patients may have non-traditional families, including close friends and neighbors. People who live a dual life are under ificant stress and pressure, and they may fear discussing their sexuality with peoplewho may reject them. These discussions reduce stress and resolve emotional distress that encourages substance use and abuse. Counseling also gives LGBT people new ideas on how to meet people and interact with peers without including drug and alcohol use.
Treatment programs often begin with a thorough health screening to identify any physical or mental disorders caused by the addiction.
As mentioned above, some LGBT patients engage in high-risk sexual activity due to substance use, and this puts them at greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Some drugs also cause heart and lung damage, as well as an increased risk of infection, so a screening covers these issues as well.
More common than ly thought
Mental health issues also are common for LGBT people. For example, one study found that In addition to depression, members of the LGBT communitymay experience anxiety, post-traumatic stress or other mental health concerns. Having a mental health issue makes addiction more serious, and treating only one disorder makes the otherdisorder stronger and more severe. Patients with both addictions and mental illnesses benefit from programs that address both concerns at the same time.
For this reason, addiction treatment programs conduct mental illness screenings, and if a mental illness is found, therapists treat it with medications and counseling.
Addiction in the community
At The Canyon, our therapists are adept at dealing with LGBT issues and we offer integrated treatment plans for patients with addiction and mental health disorders — the gold standard in addiction treatment. Please call to learn more about our program.
Our admissions coordinators advise patients about treatment options here or elsewhere, depending on your needs.
Retrieved Nov. Addiction Today. Addressing the Specific Needs of Women. Address complexities in the LGBT population.
Addiction Professional. Characteristics of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals entering substance abuse treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. A Study of Available Treatment Programs. Treatments for Substance Use Disorders.