LGBTQIA+ Friendly Rehab Centers
According to the National Library of Medicine, a community is defined as “a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings.” Having a community is very important for the human experience.
By belonging to a community, individuals are provided a sense of belonging and surrounded by like-minded individuals. They also have access to more resources and feelings of safety and deep comfort. A community is even more important for under-represented groups such as people of color or people who identify as LGBTQIA+.
The LGBTQIA+ Community and Substance Use Disorder
Unfortunately, the LGBTQIA+ community still faces negative stigma and discrimination today. This community is also at a higher risk for violence and trauma. These factors contribute to a higher risk for physical and mental health issues.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that, with only more recent surveys asking about gender identification and sexual orientation, we are not yet able to see long-term trends of LGBTQIA+ individuals and substance use disorder (SUD), but we can explore recent statistics.
As an example of recent statistical data reports on these trends:
In 2018, more than a third (37.6%) of people over 18 in this community reported marijuana use, compared to 16.2% reported by the general population
Meanwhile, 9% of adults in this community reported opioid use, compared to just under four percent of the general population
LGBTQIA+ and Treatment
For individuals who identify within the LGBTQIA+ community, certain SUD treatment modalities typically work better than others. For example, studies have shown that gay or bisexual men have more success with motivational interviewing, social support therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Gay and bisexual men showed better outcomes in these treatment programs than gay or bisexual men who didn't participate in these treatment modalities.
Again, as we don't have much data on SUD in this community, it is difficult to draw further conclusions about which modalities work better than others, especially because recovery must be individualized. However, the hope is that, as more data is gathered, SUD treatment within the LGBTQIA+ community will become even more specific and effective.
The Correlation with Mental Health: Dual Diagnosis
Individuals who identify with this community and struggle with SUD are more likely to have a co-occurring mental health condition. Co-occurring disorders, more commonly known as a dual diagnosis, are a combination of a mental disorder and a substance disorder. Even the overall population has high rates of this occurrence when SUD is present, but the LGBTQIA+ is at an even higher risk of a dual diagnosis.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, gay and bisexual men and lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to experience mental distress and depression than their heterosexual counterparts. Transgender children and adolescents are also at high risk for depression, thoughts of suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders.
Since the risk of mental health disorders is high among individuals in this community, treatment programs that serve this population must combine SUD recovery with mental health treatment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) explains, “Well-being is fundamental to quality of life, enabling people to experience life as meaningful, and to be creative and active citizens.” This is important to note because one of the main contributors to a quality life and stable mental health is social connectedness and community.
What Is an LGBTQIA+ Friendly Center Like?
Every center does things differently, but overall, they should have similar characteristics and treatments available for this community. For example, they should have an identity-affirming environment that combines addiction treatment, mental health treatment, and an understanding of how sexual and gender identity influence both.
These centers should feel like a safe space for people to be themselves and receive treatment with group therapies, LGBTQIA+ friendly therapists, and individual therapy. Many centers offer family therapy programs to help recover relationships with family members.
Here at The Edge, we proudly offer an LGBTQIA+ process group, one of the first of its kind at an addiction rehab center. This program allows our clients to connect and educate the world on the complex issues this community faces. We emphasize education, inclusivity, and allyship in this group. We also recognize the unique troubles this community faces and strive to provide a safe and trustworthy community for all.
We prioritize enjoying ourselves while in treatment. This way, individuals can work on making connections with others who know exactly what they are going through. Clients can be themselves and participate in different group activities. We offer activities such as kayaking, paintball, parachuting, beach parties, and paddle boarding, in addition to clinical and holistic treatments. It is possible to receive treatment and enjoy life at the same time.
The Edge Treatment Center is a LGBTQIA+ Friendly Rehab Center
Throughout the years, finding an LGBTQIA+ friendly rehab center has gotten considerably easier because of the internet and the fact that there are more inclusive programs than there were in the past.
Being a part of a community that understands what you are going through will always have long-lasting benefits for your well-being. This is especially true if you identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. You will face many challenges during this process, but there is no need to face them alone.
At The Edge Treatment Center, you can confide in one of our many staff members on any accommodations you may need. We make sure to provide a welcoming center for people of all backgrounds while also fostering life-long connections. Want to learn more about The Edge Treatment Center and our connections to the LGBTQIA+ community? Contact us today.