Gay, lesbian, and bisexual adolescents have a 190% greater chance of developing substance use disorders (problems with substance abuse), than their heterosexual counterparts, according to researchers in a 2008 study. The researchers do not exactly know why this figure is so high, but they hypothesize that the young people might be trying to cope with the stress related to their emerging sexual identities and the victimization these identities might cause.
The same researchers also observe that gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults also tend to have higher rates of substance use disorders than heterosexuals.
Others have noted that compared to other members of the population, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people have greater levels of substance use and abuse. LGBT people could be engaging in these behaviors because they are self-medicating to deal with their feelings.
They could also be doing this because they face stigmas due to their sexual orientations. So whether they are adolescents or adults, it seems that LGBT people sometimes use and abuse illegal drugs for similar reasons.
Stigmas also sometimes prevent LGBT people from getting effective treatment. As a consequence, some rehab centers offer programs that specifically address the needs of LGBT people. Gay rehab centers have also opened to treat the members of the LGBT community.
What Is Gay Drug Rehab?
Gay rehab programs treat members of the LGBT community for drug abuse. These facilities have staff members who have specific training in LGBT matters and experience with issues facing the community. Program staff members claim that this specialized knowledge can help their employees recognize and treat the specific needs of their patients better.
One of these specific needs can be helping patients discover and address their true identities. Staff members of gay drug rehab programs encourage their patients to examine themselves and be honest about who they are. The staff members hope that this honesty can help the patients accept themselves and their sexual orientations.
They hope that the patients’ self-acceptance will diminish the likelihood that they will abuse substances as a way to deal with their sexual orientations and with any negative feelings they have about themselves.
Is Gay Drug Rehab Different from Other Kinds of Rehab?
To help patients explore their true identities, gay rehab programs offer therapy. Therapy is a very common part of most rehab programs. It does not matter who a drug rehab program treats or what issues it addresses—the program will probably include therapy of some sort. Many rehab programs allow you to meet individually with a therapist.
Many allow you to meet in therapy groups with other people who share the same issues as you. Depending on your situation, you might participate in therapy with your significant other or with your family members. These sessions can help you explore how your issues affect other people.
As we have seen, therapy can be more specific in gay rehab programs. Therapies in these programs often address what it means to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered and how these identities relate to the patients’ substance abuse problems. The therapies help patients develop healthy strategies to deal with any stigmas they might encounter, strategies that do not involve substance abuse.
Gay rehab programs share similarities with other type of rehab programs. You can find gay drug rehab centers that offer addiction treatment programs to patients on an outpatient basis. Other gay rehab programs treat patients on an inpatient basis and include medical and psychological care.
Gay rehab programs sometimes incorporate different forms of treatment, such as art therapy, or sometimes offer holistic treatments that use meditation and yoga. In several respects, gay rehab programs are no different from other types of rehab. There are many types of rehab programs, then, to treat many types of issues.