Addiction Treatment Resources for the LGBTQ Community

The LGBTQ community has some special needs when it comes to addiction treatment programs and resources. The needs of this group are often ignored or left unmet in the course of a typical treatment program.

person holding out hand with LGBTQ written on palm

Prevalence of Addiction in the LGBTQ Community

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, between 20 to 30 percent of those who identify as LGBTQ have an addiction, compared to about 9 percent of the general population. Twenty-five percent have an alcohol use disorder, compared to 5-10 percent of the general population. This could be because of the struggles many LGBTQ people face surrounding their identity. While acceptance of the LGBTQ community has increased in recent years, many LGBTQ individuals still face stigmatization and discrimination today.

Substance misuse can be an attempt to cope with stress or to self-medicate underlying depression and anxiety, which is about three times more prevalent in the LGBTQ community. There are also socioeconomic differences that put LGBTQ people at greater risk of substance misuse. While social conditions are improving for LGBTQ individuals in today’s society, the effects of previous mistreatment and abuse will not disappear overnight.

LGBTQ-Specific Addiction Treatment

While many treatment centers claim to offer specific treatment services for LGBTQ individuals in their official listings, a study of 854 such treatment centers showed that only 63, or about 7 percent, actually offered any specialized treatment for people in these groups. While about 13 percent said they were “non-discriminating” or “accepting,” they offered the same treatment programs to both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ clients. No specialized treatment was offered or claimed by about 71 percent of the treatment centers studied.

More than half of the treatment centers that did have LGBTQ-specific treatment were in New York and California, making it difficult for LGBTQ people in the rest of the country to get the kind of help they need.

LGBTQ-specific treatment can include teaching people how to cope with and respond to discrimination, taking stress reduction classes and participating in research-based treatment that focuses on common challenges faced by people in the LGBTQ community. Information on how to come out to family and friends, how to develop healthy relationships and a focus on identity development can also be helpful. Additionally, staff may need training to overcome their own ingrained attitudes about the LGBTQ community.

While an especially sensitive treatment program may be able to cover these topics without creating specialized programs to do so, dedicated treatment resources are generally more effective.

If you need help finding the right addiction treatment resources for you or a loved one, contact The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake today to speak confidentially with one of our professional representatives.