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What Risks Do The LGBTQ+ Community Face When It Comes To Substance Abuse

Are you concerned about the LGBTQ+ substance abuse risk? Recent studies are only asking for the gender of users to be unable to compile data on the dangers posed to the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to substance abuse.

What is known is that there is a high level of discrimination against sexual minorities, and this factor alone can lead members of the LGBTQ+ community to explore substances to help relieve stress and worry in their lives. 

However, the limited data on this topic is becoming increasingly apparent that sexual minorities have higher levels of substance abuse than those who identify as heterosexual.

Why Is Drug Abuse Prevalent in the LGBTQ+ Community?

Minorities often face many challenges in their lives from the wider community. With the increasing use of social media and more people being connected online, so has the ability for others to face discrimination and hate in their day-to-day lives.

From being rejected by family and friends, hate crimes, self-hatred, bullying, and loss of or limited employment options, those who don’t identify as heterosexual often face uphill struggles to live their lives, which makes the appeal of using substances to forget about these problems more attractive.

Substance Abuse and Sexual Minorities

More than a third of people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual reported marijuana use in the previous 12 months in data compiled by the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This figure is higher than heterosexual adults of the same age, which was a reported 16.2%.

Worryingly, opioid use is on the rise within the LGBTQ+ community and those described as sexual minorities, with 9% resorting to using compared to 3.8% of the overall adult population in the 18-25 age range. 

Alcohol abuse was reported by 12.4% of the sexual minority young adults surveyed, which, while higher than the general population of 10.1%, remained stable from the 2015 study.

LGBTQ+ Substance Abuse Risk and Treatment

While substance abuse risk is something that can affect everyone, figures are an indication that those who face increased pressure and struggle to simply exist, such as those who identify as anything other than heterosexual, are more susceptible to trying different substances and developing an addiction they are unable to walk away from.

Studies of addiction treatment programs have indicated that specialized groups for sexual minorities can have more of an impact than simply a general group when dealing with their issues. This is down to them being able to relate more to their peers and feeling more comfortable discussing the problems that led to their dependency.

As LGBTQ+ people are also at a higher risk of mental health disorders, offering a nontraditional approach to addiction treatment can offer a greater chance of focusses in the long term. 

Whether as in inpatient, partial hospitalization, or an intensive outpatient program. It is essential to screen transgender teens and young adults for psychiatric conditions to further support their recovery and help them as best as possible. 
Identifying triggers, thoughts, and behavior patterns are vital to overcoming addictions and working with LGBTQ+ people in a way that supports who they are and how they can live their lives free from addiction.

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