A man sits on the couch thinking about alcohol addiction in the LGBTQ community.

Why is Alcohol Addiction More Likely in the LGBTQ Community?

Despite all the progress we have made as a society, there are many people who still feel ostracized and marginalized because of their sexual orientation. For those who identify with the LGBTQ community – or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community – the pressures to conform or hide their sexuality can sometimes feel both oppressive and overwhelming.

These feelings can oftentimes lead to substance abuse to try to cope. In fact, research shows that LGBTQ young adults are 90 percent more likely to develop an alcohol addiction than those identifying as heterosexual or cisgender.

If your loved one is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, finding a way to support and love them is an amazing way to help them address their addiction and regain control of their life.

Alcohol Addiction Among LGBTQ Individuals

Recent studies have shown that about 25 percent of the LGBTQ community reported having at least a moderate alcohol use disorder, along with other addiction issues. By comparison, about 10 percent of the general population reportedly struggles with alcohol addiction. This information fundamentally highlights the systemic challenges faced by people identifying as LGBTQ.

Additionally, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that LGBTQ young adults are more likely to engage in various amounts of excessive alcohol consumption than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. Some of the more concerning statistics include:

  • 44.6 percent of LGBTQ individuals between the ages of 18 and 28 reported binge drinking (consuming 5 or more drinks in one day) at least once in the past month.
  • 10.2 percent reported heavy alcohol use, which is defined as binge drinking at least 5 times in the past month. (1)

These facts reinforce the fact that while we, as a society, have improved our ability to embrace those with alternative perspectives and lifestyles, those living within marginalized communities still struggle at times due to existing prejudices within their lives.

Reasons Why Alcohol Addiction in the LGBTQ Community is So Prevalent

While the individual reasons that influence a person’s addiction can vary, there are a number of identified factors that directly impact alcohol addiction rates among the LGBTQ community.

These can include:

  • Lack of familial support
  • Social rejection within various settings
  • Fear of coming out to friends and loved ones
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Physical abuse in relation to sexual orientation

Those who identify as LGBTQ find themselves dealing with these personal stressors more often than their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. Additionally, alcohol addiction within the LGBTQ community has been attributed to factors that include:

  • People in the LGBTQ community report living with a high level of stress that comes from the ongoing social prejudice and discrimination they face, especially in crucial areas – such as employment, relationship recognition and health care.
  • The fact that there is a general lack of cultural competency and sensitivity within the healthcare system and addiction treatment facilities.
  • Marketing efforts by alcohol and tobacco companies focused on the LGBTQ population that exploits the connection many within the LGBTQ community have to bars and clubs as safe spaces for socializing.

In addition to the high levels of stress and discrimination faced by your LGBTQ loved one, specific biological factors can also play a part in the onset of their alcohol addiction. Family history of alcohol abuse, underlying mental health issues and negative peer influences can play a significant role in their alcohol use disorder.

That is why fostering and facilitating a consistent channel of open communication with your loved one is essential to helping them identify their addictive impulses and realistic methods of addressing their substance use disorder in a safe and supportive clinical environment.

LGBTQ Alcohol Addiction: There is Life-Changing Help

At Ranch Creek Recovery, we offer a LGBTQ friendly treatment environment focused on your loved one’s specific needs. The manner in which their personal hardships and past traumas are considered and embraced ensures that their transition into therapy will feel safe and secure as they begin to confront the alcohol addiction negatively impacting their life.

The holistic approach incorporated throughout your loved one’s recovery journey establishes an environment that allows them to drop their guard and genuinely begin a comprehensive healing process. This ensures that their entire focus remains centered on their sobriety and the importance of overcoming their alcohol addiction in order to achieve long-term health and happiness.

LGBTQ-Friendly Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Is your loved one a member of the LGBTQ community and struggling with addiction? Effective addiction treatment is needed to address the discrimination and trauma LGBTQ individuals experience. Treatment should be tailored to their individual needs and provide a safe, judgment-free environment to recover – and that is what your loved one will experience at Ranch Creek Recovery.

Learn more about our approach to holistic and LGBTQ-friendly addiction treatment today. Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

 

Resources:

1) National Institute on Drug Abuse. Substance Use and SUDs in LGBTQ* Populations. Accessed October 15, 2020. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/substance-use-suds-in-lgbtq-populations.

A father learning how to support his LGBTQ child.

How to Accept Your Adult Child Who Identifies as LGBTQ

As loved ones, it is our duty to support and protect those closest to our hearts. Regardless of race, color, creed or sexual orientation, being there for a child through thick and thin is the very definition of familial support.

While we seemingly live in an evolved social state, discrimination is still very real and very impactful for those who are discriminated against.

For your homosexual daughter or son, finding a way to wholeheartedly accept themselves at times can become a difficult task. From social intolerance to blatant discrimination, the social struggles and personal attacks they experience can be enough to drive them toward substance abuse to manage their pain.

While you cannot control those around you from spouting off ignorant comments or hateful actions, you can be there for your child if they decide they need clinical treatment to address the addictive behaviors.

That is why LGBTQ-friendly addiction treatment facilities are so important. They provide your loved one a safe and culturally aware where they can address their substance use disorder and work toward sustained sobriety and personal growth.

Challenges and Pain: What Your LGBTQ Child May Contend with Because of Their Sexuality

Research has shown that LGBTQ individuals across the country continue to experience widespread discrimination that negatively impacts all aspects of their lives.

From job performance to personal relationships, the negative treatment experienced by someone identifying as LGBT or Q reverberates throughout their entire existence, increasing the likelihood of both substance addiction and mental health issues.

Some of the more concerning statistics regarding LGBTQ discrimination include:

  • 68.5 percent reported that discrimination at least somewhat negatively affected their psychological well-being.
  • 6 reported discrimination negatively impacted their neighborhood and community environment.
  • 52.8 percent reported that discrimination negatively impacted their work environment.
  • 7 percent reported that discrimination negatively impacted their spiritual well-being.
  • 43.7 percent reported that discrimination negatively impacted their physical well-being.
  • 5 percent reported discrimination negatively impacted their school environment.1

This type of pervasive discrimination highlights the reason so many individuals within the LGBTQ community turn to substances to self-medicate and manage their stress.

They also emphasize the need for culturally competent treatment facilities that can treat their addiction in a safe and culturally empathetic manner.

Addiction and the LGBTQ Community

While you may be fully supportive of your homosexual loved one, the sad fact is that many people within the LGBTQ community turn to addiction because of the negative way they are treated by their family.

This is not to say that the only reason people within the LGBTQ community struggle with addiction is because of their family, but the fact of the matter is that the number of people living with a substance use disorder within the community is significantly greater.

Take the following facts as proof that, if your child is currently struggling to manage their alcohol or drug addiction, they are far from alone.

  • Nearly 19 million people aged 18 or older have a substance use disorder in the US.
  • People who identify as gay or lesbian are more than twice as likely as those who identify as heterosexual to have a severe substance use disorder.
  • Those who are unsure how to identify their sexual identity are five times as likely to develop a substance use disorder than heterosexual people.
  • Transgender students are about two and a half times more likely to use drugs than their cisgender peers.2

These facts are concerning on a number of levels, but what truly matters here is that society is failing the LGBTQ community too often. This means loved ones like you need to step up and support their homosexual family members and friends that much more.

How to Support a Child Who is Homosexual

Above all, show your homosexual loved one support and comfort if they trust you enough to come out to you. Sometimes, just listening and being there for them while they open up and discuss their raw emotions is the best place to start. Many people within the LGBTQ community may be vulnerable to negative experiences during the coming out process, so give your child a safe space to talk about their sexual identity and be themselves.

While it may be difficult at first, you should try to not let your misconceptions, misinformation or personal beliefs about the LGBTQ community hinder your ability to support your child’s coming out process.

Concern, respect, love, and support can greatly ease the process for your child and enable them to become more confident in their own skin. This opens the door of trust for future discussions and places you in an excellent position to help them if they find themselves struggling with a substance addition.

LGBTQ-Friendly Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

Is your loved one a member of the LGBTQ community and struggling with addiction?

Effective addiction treatment needs to address the discrimination and trauma LGBTQ individuals experience. Treatment should be tailored to their individual needs and provide a safe, judgment-free environment to recover – and that is what your loved one will experience at Ranch Creek Recovery.

Learn more about our approach to holistic and LGBTQ-friendly addiction treatment.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607

Resources:

1 Center for American Progress. Widespread Discrimination Continues to Shape LGBT People’s Lives in Both Subtle and Significant Ways. Accessed December 11, 2019. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2017/05/02/429529/widespread-discrimination-continues-shape-lgbt-peoples-lives-subtle-significant-ways/

2 National Center for Biotechnology Information. Severity of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Use Disorders Among Sexual Minority Individuals and Their “Not Sure” Counterparts. Accessed December 11, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30638419

LGBTQ Substance Abuse

Why Addiction is Higher in the LGBTQ Community

The disease of addiction does not discriminate. It can prove to be a debilitating disorder for any person, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. However, for those individuals identifying within the LGBTQ community, dealing with the weight of a substance use disorder can prove to be even more difficult to process.

While their struggles can be attributed to a number of identifiable reasons, taking the time to better understand your loved one – and the individual experiences impacting their substance addiction – can play an intricate role in helping them face their substance use disorder and begin their road to recovery.

LGBTQ Substance Abuse Statistics

Within our society, it is no secret that substance use and substance addiction has grown to epidemic proportions.

A recent study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, reported that 18.7 million people age 18 and over had a substance use disorder within the United States.1

While the sheer number of individuals dealing with a substance use disorder seems staggering, the manner in which substance addiction impacts the LGBTQ community is even more concerning.

Some of the more noticeable statistics include:

  • People who identify as gay or lesbian are more than twice as likely as those who identify as heterosexual to have a severe alcohol use disorder.
  • Those who are unsure how to identify their sexual identity are five times as likely to have a substance use disorder than heterosexual people.
  • People who identify as bisexual are three times as likely to have a substance use disorder.
  • Transgender students were about two and a half times more likely to use drugs, like methamphetamines and cocaine, than their cisgender peers.3

These concerning statistics highlight how substance addiction impacts the LGBTQ community. They reinforce the need your loved one has for your emotional support and encouragement when facing the disease of addiction.

LGBTQ Substance Abuse: Other Important Facts and Insights

Understanding that addiction as a whole impacts the LGBTQ community at a higher rate is important, but breaking down the types of substances used provides greater insight into the struggles that your loved one may be facing.

Some of the more problematic substances among the LGBTQ community include:

  • Amphetamines
    Members of the LGBTQ community are over twelve times more likely to struggle with amphetamine use.
  • Heroin
    Members of the LGBTQ community are nine and a half times more likely to use heroin than heterosexual individual.
  • Alcohol
    20 to 25 percent of the LGBTQ community have a moderate to severe alcohol dependency.2

These facts further work to identify the struggles that your loved one may be facing with addiction and the importance of engaging them in conversation to identify their addiction before it becomes catastrophic.

But why are substance use rates so much higher in the LGBTQ community?

Some of the identified factors impacting this concerning trend include:

  • Limited treatment services for LGBTQ individuals – A national study found that of the 854 treatment programs that reported to have specialized treatment services for LGBTQ people, only 62 confirmed these services actually existed during a telephone follow-up. This means that about 70 percent of the addiction treatment services noted as specialized for LGBTQ people were really no different from those provided to non-LGBTQ people.5
  • Increased stress among those living within the LGBTQ community – While we have made great strides in gay rights over the last 20 years, many LGBTQ individuals still have endured a long, personal history of social prejudice. This can include discriminatory laws and practices in employment, housing, relationship recognition and health care, as well as stigma and challenges with their family and friends. This type of stress can lead to higher levels of anxiety, fear, isolation, depression, anger and mistrust, which can increase the risk of self-medicating with tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.4

Factors such as these directly impact the higher rates of substance addiction within the LGBTQ community and reinforce the necessity for greater understanding and support from the loved ones within their lives.

LGBTQ Substance Abuse Treatment: There Are Life-Changing Treatment Options that Can Help Your Loved One Achieve Sustained Sobriety

Being there for your loved one to support them through their trials and tribulations is no small feat. It requires patience and kindness to empathize with their experienced hardships and work with them to overcome their addiction.

One of the most important things you can do to help a loved one address their substance use disorder is work with them to find a facility that is capable of working with them – personally and professionally – to provide them culturally competent and qualified therapeutic services.

This ensures that they can safely and confidently assimilate into treatment and focus solely on overcoming their addiction.

Holistic LGBTQ Substance Abuse Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

We understand you are your loved one’s biggest advocate, and we know how imperative it is for you to help your loved one get clean and stay sober.

If they are ready to get help, or you are seeking insights from addiction recovery experts, Ranch Creek Recovery can help. We are a renowned drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility that is set in a serene and tranquil area in Murrieta, CA. At Ranch Creek, your loved one will enter into a healing environment that’s free of judgement and distractions and supported by an expert team.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.

CALL NOW: (877) 293-8607

Resources:

1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The National Survey on Drug Use and
Health: 2017. Accessed November 16, 2019. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/nsduh-ppt-09-2018.pdf

2 Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexual Orientation and Health Among U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2013. Accessed November 16, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr077.pdf

3 California Survey System. School Climate, Substance Use, and Well-being Among California Students 2013-2015. Accessed November 16, 2019. https://calschls.org/docs/biennial_state_1315.pdf

4 American Psychological Association. The minority stress perspective. Accessed November 16, 2019. https://www.apa.org/pi/aids/resources/exchange/2012/04/minority-stress

5 National Center for Biotechnology Information. Do specialized services exist for LGBT individuals seeking treatment for substance misuse? A study of available treatment programs. Accessed November 16, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17366131