Addiction and the LGBT Community

There is an epidemic of addiction and alcoholism within the LGBTQ+ community, as noted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This should not be shocking. LGBT patients are more likely to abuse substances and participate in heavy binge drinking. Unfortunately, though, there is a serious lack of LGBT-centered treatment centers.

This is a problem. Studies have shown that LGBT addicts and alcoholics are not getting sufficient treatment at addiction centers, recovery centers, and rehabilitation facilities. So what can be done about this problem? Is there any way that we can get past this epidemic so that our LGBT brothers and sisters get just as good of care as their heterosexual counterparts? Can we be doing more to make sure LGBT people are not isolated in these recovery facilities?

The answer is yes, surely, we can. Rehabilitation facilities should be doing more to make sure they hire doctors, staff, counselors, and therapists who have experience treating LGBT patients. There are so many nuances that are involved in the treatment of substance abuse and addiction. These are even more complicated among LGBT patients.

There are even more complex issues with this problem. Part of this problem stems from the way we mistreat members of the LGBT community in general throughout our society. The LGBT community has higher suicide rates and a higher depression rate. It’s no surprise that they would also have a higher substance abuse and addiction rate. So doing LGBT-center activist work is helping the problem on a grander scale.

This also speaks to the need for intersectional work. As feminist and advocates for the LGBT community, we should also be advocates for victims of addiction and alcoholism. And those who wish to help addicts and alcoholics treat their diseases should also be willing to step up and support the members of the LGBT community specifically. In this way, we have a long way to go, and more can always be done.

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please do not wait to get help. Even if you are a member of the LGBT community and you cannot find proper treatment, it’s better to receive some treatment. After all, you cannot work to try to change the system if you are dead or in jail.

Substance Abuse Resources

The Recovery Village
LGBT Addiction is Not the Same as Straight Addiction
Alcoholics Anonymous
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration