Sexuality and SUD

Is There a Connection Between Sexuality and SUD?

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We all know that substance use disorder does not discriminate. It can affect any race, gender, and age group. One statistic that many people may not be aware of is the fact that there is a link between sexuality and SUD with a higher occurrence of addiction in the LGBTQ+ community compared with the heterosexual population.

Statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration[1] show that about 20 to 30 percent of those in the LGBTQ+ community have a substance use disorder compared to around eight percent in the rest of the population.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse[2], people who identify themselves as part of the LGBTQ+ community are more than twice as likely as heterosexuals to use illegal drugs. They also have a greater chance of having a substance use disorder. When they do enter treatment, they often have severe cases of addiction.

Why is there a link between sexuality and SUD?

A higher stress level is often the reason why more people in the LGBTQ+ community abuse drugs and alcohol. They get stressed by how society treats them as they try to find their place. They also get stressed when deciding whether to come out and how they will be accepted once they do. While some can deal with this stress, others cannot and turn to drugs and alcohol. Other factors that can play a role in addiction for those in the LGBTQ+ community include:

  • Discrimination
  • Abuse
  • Harassment
  • Being the Victims of Violence
  • Depression or mental health issues

Depression and mental health issues are part of the co-occurring conditions that many who have an addiction also deal with whether they are part of the LGBTQ community or not. But, it is a more prevalent issue among those in the LGBTQ+ community. According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, 92% of LGBTQ+ patients who receive treatment for addiction also experienced co-occurring conditions compared to 78% of other patients.

Many times those in the LGBTQ+ community will turn to drugs and alcohol to help them cope with the issues they’re facing. Unfortunately for many that spirals into addiction.

Another contributing factor is the lack of support from family and the fact that many in the LGBTQ+ community often meet in bars which only fosters that addiction. For others, it’s the use of drugs to enhance the sexual experience that leads them to develop an addiction. This behavior seems to be more prevalent in the LGBTQ+ community than in the heterosexual community and is another underlying cause of substance use disorder.  

What can be done to treat SUD in the LGBTQ community?

Members of the LGBTQ+ community may be discouraged to get help for their addiction if they had a negative experience in coming out to health care providers. If not themselves, they may hear others’ negative experiences and are discouraged due to that. Not getting the support they need in those circumstances can lead them to not seek help for their addiction.

One of the major factors about the treatment of substance use disorder in the LGBTQ+ community is acceptance and understanding. That needs to be present in order for an individual to feel comfortable coming forward to get help. They need to feel included and part of a supportive community that can help them with their addiction.

When you’re looking for a recovery center, you want to find a facility that offers both traditional group therapy and therapy that is specific to the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. A facility that can help those in the LGBTQ community+ will go the extra mile to provide the care and understanding that is needed. They will also have staff that trains specifically to handle the needs of the LGBTQ+ community.

Ocean Hills Recovery – Inclusive  Addiction Treatment

At Ocean Hills Recovery, all those who need substance abuse treatment get the help they need. This includes detox services, group therapy, and individual therapy. Since all addictions are different, all treatment plans differ as well. Some patients will benefit from a 30-day program. Others will need a 60 or 90-day program to battle their addiction. Whatever the case, the staff at Ocean Hills Recovery will accommodate your needs so you can live a sober life.

Once the in-treatment program is complete, many patients will continue with outpatient therapy. This helps them as they get used to living in the real world without drugs and alcohol. For many, this is the hardest part and can result in relapse if patients don’t get the proper treatment and support they need to stay sober.

The staff at Ocean Hills Recovery is trained to treat the specific needs of the LGBTQ community. Contact Ocean Hills Recovery today to speak with a trained member of the staff and begin your road to sobriety.




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