In several studies ranging from 2000 to 2011, many LGBTQ individuals reported negative treatment experiences. Reports noted unsupportive staff, heterosexual attitudes, discomfort around peers, and anxiety when sharing personal details.
As a result, many researchers have suggested gay and lesbian specific rehab programming. Such programs include typical addiction therapy for alcohol, drugs, and processes (gambling, sex, and food), but also address homosexual-specific issues like internal homophobia, sexual anxiety, self-acceptance, and rebuilding spirituality (shi h often involves counteracting past damage caused by organized religion).
Bars and clubs are popular hangout spots for the LGBTQ community. While not a concern for everyone, individuals with substance use issues may begin to develop such problems in these places. Because of this, learning alternate ways to socialize during treatment will help individuals in social situations after treatment.
There are only a handful of addiction treatment programs specifically for lesbian and gay individuals. Specialized programs like this can also be costly. As a result, the likelihood of attending gay or lesbian specific programming is low. Here’s the catch: manycan get the same benefits in the right ‘non-homosexual’ addiction treatment center.
Why it’s Important to not Differentiate
Because addiction and treatment is not black and white, it is important tonot classify and treat those with addictions all in the same way. Everyone has “baggage” and it’s all different. Some have severe mental health disorders, some have trauma and PTSD, some are gay and struggle with internalized homophobia, and some heterosexual individuals have sexual problems.
Addiction treatment providers shouldfocus most of their attention towards addiction and related issues. Many gay individuals looking for treatment have no concerns regarding their sexuality; they need help with other issues like addiction and mental health.
Sometimes, though, a person’s anxiety about their sexuality will be so prominent that they will feel more comfortable dealing with their issues in an environment with similar peers. This is when specialized treatment for LGBTQ communities is most beneficial. These types of programs definitely have their place in the addiction treatment field.