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Why LGBTQ Individuals Turn to Drugs and Alcohol
The LGBTQ community is prone to substance abuse at a higher rate than the general population. There are several reasons the LGBTQ community may turn to substance abuse, including discrimination based on sexual orientation, hate crimes, rejection or shame from family members, emotional abuse, public humiliation, loss of employment, self-hatred, and even internalized homophobia. In addition, current social norms mean those in the LGBTQ community may turn to self-medicate to escape from the prejudices in today’s society. Substances can help numb their feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, and fear.
Statistics of Drug/Alcohol Abuse
- 20% to 30% of the LGBTQ community turns to substance abuse, compared to about 9% of the general population
- Gay and transgender people smoke tobacco up to 200% more than their heterosexual peers
- 20% to 25% of the LGBTQ community have a moderate dependency on alcohol
- Gay men are 3.5 times more likely to use marijuana than straight males
- Those in the LGBTQ community are 12.2 times more likely to use amphetamines and 9.5 times more likely to use heroin
Signs of Abuse
A few things to watch for when determining if substance abuse is occurring:
- High levels of stress
- Suicide attempts
- Self-harming tendencies
- Compulsive sexual behavior
- Physical or health issues related to their sexuality
- Sudden mood swings
- Poor hygiene
- Changes in appearance
Like most other specific demographics, it is important to find a treatment center that caters directly to the needs of the LGBTQ community and helps with any problems that they may face. Many individuals are hesitant to get help simply because there are not as many resources for the LGBTQ community.
Finding an LGBTQ rehab center is especially important because they can help with any other disorders that patients may have. Each treatment facility is designed to help with any obstacles the community is facing, both as a whole and on a personal level. Ultimately, your treatment center wants to help you gain control of your life once more.