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Drug Addiction Problems in the LGBT Community
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of February 25, 2016) Stress, discontentment, self-doubts and the social implications of coming out of the closet often lead to anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. We all know the consequences for mental health. On top of that, we frequently find addiction problems: Alcohol, drugs, medication and other toxic substances.
The source text for this article sheds a light on the importance of addiction and dependency in the LGBT community and finds that our care infrastructure is hardly adapted to this phenomenon – at least, not in the United States. However, we believe that the situation is not so much different in many other countries.
The incomplete measure of the problem
Unfortunately, quantitative and qualitative studies on addiction problems in the LGBT community are rare, outdated or just not very reliable.
A number of studies in the USA strongly suggest that the percentage of addicts is higher in the LGBT community than in heterosexuals.
For instance, a study of 2008 showed that gay men consume heroin about ten times and amphetamines about twelve times as often as heterosexual men.
Gays more frequently substance addicted
Kaiser Family Foundation collected study data and concluded that 22% of adult Americans admit to consuming at least five glasses of alcoholic beverages a day. For gays, this rate is around 40% and for lesbians about 33%.
The roots of all evil…
The reasons for this high addiction level are well known. Basically, they are the same reasons as for the high suicide rate in the LGBT community, particularly among youths: Low spirits, depression, feelings of guilt, a need for affiliation, escapism and even social and family exclusion. All of these may lead to addiction, which ultimately is a suicide in installments.
This is why we need specially trained therapists and experts who know this particular population and their needs, and who can target therapies towards them.
… and ways out
LGBT patients have two coming-outs to manage: Addiction and homosexuality. This is why trained therapists have to help their patients get over both of these hurdles.
However, care centers with special therapies and trained therapists are rare. Results of a US study from 2007 show that only 62 out of 854 care centers (i.e. 7.3%) are adapted to LGBT patients, most of which are in California and New York.
It is still a long way to reach life without drugs and addiction.