LGBTQ Drug and Alcohol Rehabs
Individuals on the LGBTQ spectrum face a number of unique challenges that contribute to a higher risk of mental health issues and substance use disorders.1 In fact, members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer communities struggle with drug and alcohol addiction at rates that are double that of the general population.,2
Thankfully, there are numerous LGBTQ-friendly substance abuse treatment centers across the U.S., offering services tailored to the unique needs of individuals in this demographic. These facilities have programs that meet the needs of the LGBTQ community and address unique factors that may have contributed to addiction, such as stigmatization, homophobia/transphobia, trauma, social isolation, family problems, and violence.3
What to Expect at LGBTQ Drug and Alcohol Rehab?
LGBTQ drug and alcohol rehab centers offer assistance designed specifically to address substance abuse challenges in the LGBTQ community. For instance, LGBTQ-friendly treatment can help gay and lesbian individuals to better cope with common stressors, such as homophobia, rejection, or discrimination without resorting to substance use.4 Likewise, individuals who identify as transgender can receive guidance on handling misgendering challenges without substance abuse.5
In order to provide compassionate, research-based help to gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals, the staff at treatment centers usually receives specialty training that equips them to better address the needs of LGBTQ patients. This may entail providing a judgment- and discrimination-free environment, as well as giving LGBTQ individuals a chance to undergo evidence-based treatment alongside peers who share their sexual orientation.4
Like most non-specialized treatment programs, LGBTQ drug and alcohol rehab often starts with medical detoxification, if needed. This is done in order to eliminate the substance from the patient’s body and make sure they go through withdrawal in a safe and controlled manner.6
Another similarity with more general treatments is that LGBTQ-specific facilities tend to offer both residential/inpatient and outpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs.7 Depending on the program, patients may be under professional supervision 24-hours receiving tailored care (inpatient) or come to the facility several times a week for intensive treatment (outpatient). LGBTQ rehab centers typically offer various forms of therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and family therapy, medication management, and aftercare planning, all tailored based on the unique needs of the patient.7
Treatment Offered at LGBTQ Treatment Centers
Treatment geared towards the LGBTQ community can come in several forms, including:7
- Inpatient: LGBTQ inpatient alcohol and drug rehab is carefully designed to provide patients with a distraction-free environment where they can receive 24-hour medical and emotional support from qualified professionals.
- Outpatient: In this form of treatment, patients can receive high-quality care without having to reside at the facility. Outpatient LGBTQ rehab enables patients to maintain a more normal daily routine while providing them with intensive care several days a week.
- Telehealth: Individuals can also receive quality treatment from the comfort of their own homes via Telehealth addiction treatment. This may include online psychiatry sessions, therapy groups, and case management.8
Drugs of Choice Within the LGBTQ Community
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2018, sexual minority adults (gay, lesbian, or bisexual in this particular study) report elevated substance use patterns compared to heterosexual adults. In terms of specific substances, the data shows the following:9
- More than one third (33.4%) of sexual minority young adults between 18 and 25 years of age reported marijuana use compared to 22.1% of the general U.S. population.
- The percentage of 26+ sexual minority adults using methamphetamines is four times that of the general population (2.9% versus 0.7%).
- Opioid use (including misuse of heroin and prescription opioids) is much higher inLGB adults over the age of 18 (9% compared to 3.8% of the general population).
- About 64% of sexual minority adults usealcohol versus 55.3% of those in the general U.S. population.
Does LGBTQ Rehab Offer Treatment for Mental Health Issues?
The various challenges LGBTQ persons tend to face may increase the potential for co-occurring disorders. In fact, sexual minority individuals often also struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.3 Because of this, many LGBTQ treatment centers offer dual diagnosis treatment programs designed to simultaneously address any mental health concerns alongside substance abuse.10
Co-occurring disorder treatment programs aim to aid gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and transgender individuals on their path to rehabilitation and recovery through comprehensive treatment and effective aftercare planning.10
Why Choose LGBTQ Rehabs?
While conventional drug and alcohol rehab centers may offer quality treatment and resources, LGBTQ-geared programs offer a number of unique advantages, including:5
- Support from LGBTQ peers: Gay-friendly alcohol and drug rehab can provide you with an opportunity to connect with individuals who share many of the same life experiences as you. This may help you find more motivation to achieve lasting sobriety.
- Judgment-free environment: Unfortunately, some rehab centers still have underlying biases despite their good intentions. This is why it is important to find a facility that is completely judgment-free and tailored to the LGBTQ community.
- Transparency, honesty & confidentiality: At a specialized LGBTQ treatment center, you will be free to speak openly about your identity and substance use, without fear. All of the information you disclose will be confidential. This can be vital for individuals who might suffer negative consequences such as stigma because of their sexual identity and addiction.
- Counseling services for friends and family: Treatment geared towards the LGBTQ community may include counseling and therapy that helps you and your family deal with any issues related to your sexual orientation.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug and alcohol treatment should be carefully tailored to the needs of the individual in order to be effective for achieving long-term recovery.11 This is why LGBTQ-friendly treatment may be the best choice for sexual minority adults seeking alcohol or drug addiction help.
How to Find LGBTQ Drug & Alcohol Rehab Near Me?
LGBTQ individuals seeking treatment have a number of options to choose from, as nearly 18% of substance use treatment facilities in the U.S. offer some form of LGBTQ-specific care.12 Still, not all treatment centers offer the same level of quality, especially in terms of meeting the unique personal, psychological, and social challenges LGBTQ community members face.
American Addiction Centers offers carefully customized alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs to help LGBTQ persons cope with discrimination, social isolation, depression, guilt, or anxiety without resorting to substance use. Our staff can provide you with compassionate and judgment-free assistance and resources that can help you achieve recovery. In addition, we can check your insurance coverage and benefits right away if you call our LGBTQ alcohol & drug addiction treatment hotline. Speak with a substance abuse treatment admission navigator today.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Just like any health treatment, addiction treatment programs designed for the LGBTQ community are fully confidential per the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).13 This means that nobody will learn any of the information the patient shares except for them and their treatment provider unless the patient decides otherwise. LGBTQ individuals who might experience any negative consequences after disclosing their sexual orientation and substance use may find this particularly important.14
- In many regards, LGBTQ-specific treatment is not too different from conventional treatment programs for substance abuse. The two often entail many of the same treatment elements, including safe medical detox, therapy, medication management, and aftercare planning.7However, LGBTQ rehab differs from conventional treatment in that it is specifically designed to address the challenges gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals face that may contribute to substance abuse. To facilitate rehabilitation and lasting recovery, LGBTQ drug and alcohol treatment should provide support with some of the following issues:4
- Accepting their own identity and coming out
- Coping with discrimination and managing responses to it
- Handling exclusion from social groups, family, or spiritual communities
- Dealing with guilt, depression, and anxiety related to their sexual orientation
- Learning to cope with these social, personal, and psychological challenges without resorting to substances
Individuals in LGBTQ-friendly inpatient drug and alcohol rehab programs may also benefit from being placed with persons who share their sexual orientation.4 Transgender individuals, in particular, may prefer to reside with persons of their self-identified gender, as staying with their birth gender might perpetuate the emotional and mental struggles which contribute to substance abuse.15
- LGBTQ addiction treatment programs are tailored to the unique needs of each individual. The costs may depend on a number of factors, including the level of care needed and the patient’s location and travel needs. Some treatment facilities may be able to provide various payment plans and financing options to patients unable to pay for care. The best way to get an idea of the overall costs is to contact an admission navigator at a treatment facility and have them check your insurance and benefits.
- Individuals on the LGBTQ spectrum may stay in drug or alcohol treatment for varying amounts of time. This is because treatment duration is typically determined based on the nature and severity of the patient’s situation and any other specific factors that may be at play. Overall, longer durations of quality treatment tend to produce the best outcomes.11
- If you or your loved one are part of the LGBTQ community and struggle with substance abuse, entering a specialized treatment program may be the right choice. LGBTQ-friendly treatment can give you an opportunity to connect with individuals who share your experiences and find encouragement and support on your path to recovery.Treatment Solutions is an exclusive resource for American Addiction Centers (AAC). With premier substance abuse treatment centers across the United States, including Florida and California, AAC can provide you or your loved one with comprehensive substance abuse and mental health treatment. Contact an admission navigator to learn more and get started.
1. Marshal, M.P., Friedman, M.S., Stall, R., King, K.M., Miles, J., Gold, M.A… Morse, J.Q. (2008). Sexual orientation and adolescent substance use: a meta‐analysis and methodological review. Addiction, 103: 546-556.
2. Medley, G., Lipari, R. N., Bose, J., Cribb, D. S., Kroutil, L. A., & McHenry, G. (2016). Sexual orientation and estimates of adult substance use and mental health: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. NSDUH Data Review.
3. Meyer I. H. (2003). Prejudice, social stress, and mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations: conceptual issues and research evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 129(5), 674–697.
4. Talley A. E. (2013). Recommendations for improving substance abuse treatment interventions for sexual minority substance abusers. Drug and Alcohol Review, 32(5), 539–540.
5. Polak, K., Haug, N. A., Drachenberg, H. E., & Svikis, D. S. (2015). Gender Considerations in Addiction: Implications for Treatment. Current Treatment Options in Psychiatry, 2(3), 326–338.
6. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2006). Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45.). Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US).
7. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2006). Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. 2 Settings, Levels of Care, and Patient Placement. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45.). Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US).
8. Molfenter, T., Brown, R., O’Neill, A., Kopetsky, E., & Toy, A. (2018). Use of Telemedicine in Addiction Treatment: Current Practices and Organizational Implementation Characteristics. International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications, 2018, 3932643.
9. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Lesbian, Gay, & Bisexual (LGB) Adults (Annual Report).
10. Flynn, P. M., & Brown, B. S. (2008). Co-occurring disorders in substance abuse treatment: issues and prospects. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 34(1), 36–47.
11. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Principles of Effective Treatment.
12. Williams, N. D. & Fish, J. N. The availability of LGBT‐specific mental health and substance abuse treatment in the United States. Health Serv Res. 2020; 55: 932– 943.
13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
14. Rosario, M., Schrimshaw, E. W., & Hunter, J. (2009). Disclosure of sexual orientation and subsequent substance use and abuse among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths: critical role of disclosure reactions. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors: Journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors, 23(1), 175–184.
15. White Hughto, J. M., Reisner, S. L., & Pachankis, J. E. (2015). Transgender stigma and health: A critical review of stigma determinants, mechanisms, and interventions. Social Science & Medicine (1982), 147, 222–231.