Finding the right substance abuse treatment program can mean the difference between ongoing addiction and recovery. Unfortunately, the process can be even more challenging for members of the LGBTQ community, for whom specialized treatment is integral to success.
Here’s a closer look at why targeted treatment matters so much for LGBTQ individuals, along with how to find the best program for your unique needs.
The Specialized Treatment Imperative
The LGBTQ community suffers from significantly higher rates of substance abuse and addiction than society’s general population. This can be attributed to a number of reasons, including chronically high levels of stress due to everything from lack of acceptance by their family and peers to discriminatory laws and practices; limited addiction treatment facilities with the capabilities to meet the specialized needs of LGBTQ people; and reluctance to seek help due to fears about potential discrimination during treatment and/or consequences from disclosing their sexual orientation.
The takeaway is clear. Specialized addiction treatment not only addresses the underlying causes that may have led to addiction but also facilitates the path to treatment by removing barriers related to access to services.
Finding the Right LGBTQ Addiction Treatment Program
Understanding the importance of targeted substance abuse treatment is only part of the journey to recovery. Also critical is finding the right program.
People suffering from addiction have many choices when it comes to substance abuse treatment. These range from residential dual diagnosis treatment programs to intensive outpatient programs which may incorporate a range of strategies, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
These include behavioral counseling, medication, medical devices and applications, evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety (for which LGBTQ community members are also at increased risk), and long-term follow-up to prevent relapse.
Several key principles of effective treatment, in particular, apply when it comes to substance abuse treatment for LGBTQ people. For starters, no single treatment is right for everyone. This means that the approaches that work for one person will not necessarily work for another. Substance abuse treatment programs which fail to acknowledge this are unlikely to be successful.
Another element foundational to the core substance abuse rehabilitation is that the best treatments address not just drug use, but also a patient’s needs. This is particularly relevant to LGBTQ individuals due to the need to address their underlying stressors.
NIDA also specifics that all treatment programs should test patients for infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis while incorporating a preventative educational element into the treatment. Again, this is especially important in gay addiction treatment as members of the LGBTQ community are at increased risk of these illnesses as well.
The importance of seeking substance abuse treatment at a program staffed by professional clinicians trained to work with LGBTQ addiction cannot be overstated, nor can the importance of treatment taking place within an environment that accepts, respects, and celebrates diversity. You’ll find all of this at leading St. Louis drug rehab center Harris House. Call us today to learn about admissions.