Why is substance abuse more prevalent among those the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population? Studies have found that members of this community face many more challenges than their heterosexual peers. Discrimination is one of the leading factors that contribute to addiction among this subset of people. Historically, those who identify as LGBT have experienced severe discrimination in a variety of forms, some of the most common of which include:
- Not being included in social settings and activities; in fact, in many areas, LGBT individuals have been largely excluded by society.
- Physical, mental, emotional, and verbal abuse from peers, family members, and partners.
- Rejection by loved ones (parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncles, etc)
- Bullying and ridicule
- Sexual discrimination in the work place, houses of worship, public facilities, etc
Studies have revealed that LGBT individuals who have endured several forms of discrimination are significantly more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol and develop addiction disorder.
It has also been determined that there are a number of other factors that can contribute to the increased incidence of substance abuse and addiction disorder among the LGBT community. For example, members of this demographic have limited access to treatment services that cater to their needs. Many facilities do not provide the insight and tools that are necessary to help LGBT persons successfully overcome addiction. Furthermore, many LGBT persons may be reluctant to seek out treatment for addiction disorder because they fear that they will be discriminated against or abused by care providers and other patients.