LGBTQ & Addiction: Causes, Resources & Treatment

According to studies, the lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and queer community has higher rates of substance abuse than the general population. The social stigma, discrimination, and humiliating behaviour that the LGBTQ community faces on a daily basis all contribute to heightened feelings of guilt, humiliation, and doubt. These elevated levels of stress can be especially detrimental to their mental health and push them towards substance abuse.

At Abhasa Luxury Rehab Centre, we are well aware that feelings of shame and remorse can destroy a person's life and lead them down a path of self-destruction. Allow us to serve as your guide back home. If you struggle with substance abuse or alcoholism, seek treatment.

Challenges faced

Persons who identify as LGBTQ face unquestionably more obstacles than those who identify as heterosexual. Even during recovery from substance abuse, LGBTQ individuals will face additional obstacles.

In addition to coping with homophobia in society, LGBTQ individuals are at a higher risk of harassment, scrutiny, bullying, and violence; these stressors increase the likelihood of a variety of behavioural issues and disorders.

This increased level of stress is caused by discrimination, perceived discrimination, and internalised homophobia, all of which are direct results of what LGBTQ+ individuals experience from society.

Alcohol, drugs and substance abuse amongst the LGBTQ+ community

As members of this community face an increasing number of obstacles and difficulties, there has been a demand for treatments and services that are adapted to their needs and provide a safe, understandable environment for recovery.

As community members mature, their internalised homophobia can lead to extreme low self-esteem and even self-hatred as they struggle to accept their sexuality. As a result, this can act as a catalyst for drug and alcohol abuse, and individuals may self-medicate to regulate their emotions because it provides a temporary escape from negative thoughts.

As addiction specialists, however, we are aware that these apprehensive feelings of shame and self-loathing may intensify and worsen as addiction progresses.

As therapists, one of our challenges is determining which issue arrived first: substance abuse or mental illness. Alcohol and many recreational substances are known to contribute to mental disorders such as addiction, and mental disorders tend to feed off one another. Regardless of the cause, we are aware that addiction is a vicious downward trajectory from which it can be extremely difficult to break free without the appropriate support or medical assistance.

LGBTQ treatment centres

We have observed for decades how difficult it is for anyone to seek treatment for mental health issues and addictions due to the prejudice and stigma surrounding recovery and addiction. It may seem impossible for LGBTQ+ people facing homophobic or transphobic discrimination to locate the appropriate assistance or support.

We have observed that a significant number of healthcare personnel in India lack experience or training in supporting this community and providing specialised healthcare services to treat their unique addiction cases. The NHS (HSE) can provide free assistance in the form of therapy and group workshops. Charities and other organisations can also provide specialised medical treatment.

However, here at Abhasa, we are a private healthcare provider that employs the most qualified psychiatrists and medical professionals to help you accomplish the highest probability of a permanent recovery. Our addiction treatment programmes identify triggers and provide coping strategies to facilitate your safe reintegration into society.

What are the problems for people with addiction

Substance use disorder, also known as drug addiction, is a disease that affects a person's brain and behaviour and leads to an inability to regulate the use of legal or illegal drugs or medicines. Alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine are also considered to be illegal substances. When addicted, you may continue to use the substance despite its negative effects.

Experimental use of a recreational substance in social situations can lead to drug dependence in some individuals, who then engage in more frequent drug use. For others, especially those abusing opioids, substance addiction begins when they take prescribed medications or obtain them from others with prescriptions.

The likelihood of addiction and the rate of addiction vary by drug. Opioid medications, for example, carry a greater risk and cause addiction more rapidly than others. As time progresses, you may require larger doses of the drug to achieve the desired effect. You may soon require the drug just to feel fine. As your substance consumption increases, you may find it increasingly difficult to abstain. Attempts to halt drug use may induce intense cravings and physical discomfort. They are referred to as withdrawal symptoms.

When to see a doctor

Get help if your drug use is out of control or causing you problems. The sooner you seek assistance, the higher your prospects of a lasting recovery. Consult a physician who specialises in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry, or a licenced alcohol and substance counsellor.

Make an appointment with a physician if:
  • • You can't stop using a drug
  • • You continue using the drug despite the harm it causes
  • • Your drug use has led to unsafe behavior, such as sharing needles or unprotected sex
  • • You think you may be having withdrawal symptoms after stopping drug use

If you are hesitant to speak with a health care provider or mental health professional, help lines or hotlines may be a useful resource for learning about treatment options. These numbers are listed on the internet and in the phone book.

Prepared by: Mr. Denny Prasad, Psychologist
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