Drug treatment for gays and lesbians is not significantly different from the treatment given to heterosexual addicts. Regardless of sexual orientation, every addict needs professional help, withdrawal assistance, and the tools to live a life free of alcohol and drug abuse. Despite these fundamental similarities, gay and lesbian men and women face unique issues that threaten their recovery process. For this reason, gays and lesbians may benefit from a drug treatment program that specifically addresses their unique needs.
Drug Addiction Risk Factors for Gays and Lesbians
The process of drug addiction is basically the same for every person, regardless of sexual orientation. However, the GLBT community faces unique social and psychological issues that contribute to their drug addiction and threaten their chances of long-term sobriety. These risk factors include:
* Shame and self-hated. Many gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders grow up in a world that does not accept them. Over the years, homophobia and discrimination from society and even from within their own family can become internalized into shame and self-hatred, which only fuels their addiction process.
* The party scene. The GLBT community often revolves around bars and other events where drugs and alcohol are present. For many, their first sexual experiences occurred under the influence of drugs or alcohol as a way to reduce their nervousness. Studies show that gay men use more marijuana, psychedelic drugs, ecstasy, barbiturates and stimulants than heterosexual men, and lesbian women use more marijuana and cocaine than heterosexual women. Drug addiction treatment for gays and lesbians must include teaching them how to re-enter and function in their community without relapsing.
* Depression, anxiety, suicide and other mental health issues. Because of their issues of shame and self-loathing, gays and lesbians have a high rate of depression, anxiety, suicide and other mental health issues. Just like any person with a mental health issue, many gays and lesbians will turn to drugs and alcohol to numb their emotions and help them cope with their mental health symptoms.
Drug Rehab for Gays and Lesbians: What to Expect
No one deserves to live a life of pain, despair or shame. A drug rehab that understands the unique issues faced by gays and lesbians can offer an open, safe and supportive environment free of judgment. Within treatment you’ll be able to address the following issues:
* Coming out
* The root causes of your addiction
* Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues
* Accepting yourself
* Coping with feelings
* Establishing a social network separate from the party scene
* Alleviating risk-taking behaviors
* Eliminating shame
All of these issues will be navigated with the help of counselors and therapists trained to deal with the sensitive issues faced by the GLBT community. By learning the root causes of your addiction and how your past history and current behavior fuels your addiction, you can take control over your choices and start the road to recovery.