Unfortunately, alcohol and drug abuse does not discriminate. Whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, heterosexual, a religious individual or otherwise, substance abuse and addiction affects everyone.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse in the LGBT Community

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) reported that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons were more likely, if not more, to have substance abuse than their heterosexual counterparts and that LGBT have higher levels of addiction and are more likely to continue their substance abuse than to abstain.
The SAMHSA also reported that only seven percent of addiction treatment centers in the U.S. offer programs that are suitable for LGBT individuals.

Studies show that gay men are more likely to use cocaine, sedatives, marijuana, stimulants, ecstasy, GHB and ketamine, than heterosexual men. In recent years, the use of meth has seen a sharp rise among gay men.

LGBT Issues and Substance Abuse

The LGBT community experiences certain social stressors that have been shown as a direct link to drug and alcohol abuse. Mental health issues are another factor. Many LGBT individuals struggle with the repercussions of discrimination, sexual health, trauma and many other factors that play a significant role in their mental wellness. It is important that a gay addiction treatment program addresses the psychological and societal issues that have an impact the LGBT person in order to help them to avoid future substance abuse.

Some of the issues that should be addressed in LGBT addiction treatment are:
• Shame, guilt and secrecy
• Social prejudice
• Isolation
• Discrimination
• Rejection from those around them including family, coworkers and friends
• Self rejection – being uncomfortable in their own bodies
• Self destructive behavior

In an effort to escape their own feelings of guilt and shame, it is not uncommon for LGBT persons to go through periods of intense alcohol and drug abuse and to engage in sexually risky behavior. It is important that an addiction treatment facility understand the problems that LGBT face to be able to help them stop their drug and alcohol abuse.

Substance Abuse Help for LGBT

LGBT individuals may seek addiction treatment in methadone clinics and through 12 step programs. There are a limited number of programs that offer services for the LGBT community and their families, but in recent years more are beginning to become available. Some of the newer programs offer holistic services such as acupuncture, meditation and yoga. Others offer addiction treatment counseling for individual, couple, family and group, as well as mental health treatment. A few 12 step programs are beginning to emerge that deal with specific LGBT issues.

Cognitive behavioral education is another type of drug and alcohol abuse program for LGBT persons. Cognitive behavioral education teaches self assessment and self change through reevaluating individual decisions and choices and making productive choices as well as positive habits and behaviors. Cognitive behavioral education helps LGBT individuals identify issues that lead to their substance abuse and to use healthy choices, habits and behaviors to avoid drug and alcohol abuse.

Author's Bio: 

Lara Schuster writes for Gallus Medical Detox Centers. Gallus Detox provides safe drug and alcohol detox with customized IV therapy to comfortably alleviate withdrawal symptoms and patients are monitored 24/7 by ICU level nurses. This proven detox method was developed by Dr. Patrick Gallus after 15-plus years as an emergency room physician caring for alcohol and drug addicted patients. Gallus Medical Detox Centers features upscale private rooms, HDTV, Wi-Fi and personal massage. Patient confidentiality is always protected.