According to many national surveys, estimates show that approximately 11% of Americans self-identify as LGBTQ, and many more would be added to this statistic if you count men on men sex partners who do not identify as gay, intersex people, gender fluid folks, and all of those who are questioning their orientations and genders.  Still, as a population, LGBTQI have historically been underrepresented in addiction research. As scientists have worked over the past three decades to remediate this gap, substance use characteristics and treatment factors present among the LGBTQI population have begun to emerge. Many studies have found that LGBTQI individuals often face significantly increased trauma as a result of various internal and external factors.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported that compared to heterosexuals, LGBT patients have higher rates of substance abuse, lower levels of abstinence from alcohol and drug use, and a greater likelihood to continue heavy drinking for a longer period of time. The cumulative trauma of living with rejection, humiliation, bullying, harassment and emotional and physical violence being marginalized in society exacts a heavy toll. And unfortunately, our own community can “not get it” half the time.  We can play moral hierarchy with each other and induce shame even among ourselves. The fact that so many still feel to meet in the shadows and out of public view contributes as well to a high risk sex culture of drugs and substance abuse, introducing additional health risks.

LGBTQI – Integrative Addiction Treatment? Know the Facts:

  • When compared with heterosexual and cisgender individuals, LGBTQ individuals have been found to suffer significantly higher incidences of stressful childhood experiences, school victimization, neighborhood-level hate crimes, and family conflict within the previous 30 days; each of these stressors has been found to correlate significantly with increased substance abuse.
  • Transgender men and women are more than twice as likely to have a diagnosis of a mental illness as cisgender men or women.
  • There are surprisingly few programs specifically geared toward treating LGBTQ patients.
  • A 2007 study of substance abuse programs throughout the United States and Puerto Rico found that, of the 854 programs that reported via national survey to have specialized treatment services for LGBT individuals, only 62 programs (7.3%) confirmed that such services actually existed.

chi-lgbtqi-gay-prideHolistic Evidence Based Addiction Treatment

Robin is an out lesbian.  As such, she is inclusive treatment approach acknowledges the isolation of addiction and the co-existing trauma for LGBTQI individuals who may be experiencing :

-lack of clarity regarding gender or sexuality

-living closeted

-family system rejection

-complicated relationships

–club and dark internet drug habits

-domestic violence

-workplace or housing discrimination

-bullying, harassment

-antigay communities