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Our Centers

  • Take the First Step in Las Vegas

    Desert Hope is a beautiful oasis with modern charm located in Las Vegas, Nevada. We provide all levels of care from detox, in-patient, outpatient and sober living.

    Visit Desert Hope Treatment Center Visit Desert Hope Treatment Center
  • A New Life Awaits

    Start your recovery at our spa-like facility in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Holistic therapies, chef-prepared meals, and LGBTQ+ support are among the many features of our premier drug and alcohol treatment program.

    Visit Greenhouse Treatment Center Visit Greenhouse Treatment Center
  • The Best Place to Recover in Orange County

    Laguna Treatment Hospital is located in Orange County, CA. The first Chemical Dependency Recovery Hospital in the OC, we offer safe medical detox, mental health support, and wellness programs.

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  • Start Recovery at Our Southern Resort

    Take a step back from your life and get the help you need at our premier drug and alcohol addiction center. Nestled in the countryside 1.5 hours from Memphis, Oxford gives you the support you need in a calm and beautiful setting.

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  • Recovery Forecast includes Tropical Weather

    Your recovery can start at either of two premier drug and alcohol treatment facilities in the Greater Miami area - Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, FL. Our specialties include treatment for veterans and first responders.

    Visit Recovery First Treatment Center Visit Recovery First Treatment Center
  • Sunny Florida Welcomes You

    Retreat to the sunny climate of Tampa, Florida for a stay at the gold standard of treatment facilities. We offer customized care plans to help you on your recovery journey.

    Visit River Oaks Treatment Center Visit River Oaks Treatment Center
  • Helping New Englanders Find Recovery for Over 30 years

    Escape to the countryside to recovery in New Jersey’s premier drug rehab & treatment center. Located only an hour from New York City.

    Visit Sunrise House Treatment Center Visit Sunrise House Treatment Center
We are pleased to announce that we are now in-network with Anthem Blue Cross. Now in-network with Anthem Blue Cross.

Drug Abuse in the LGBT Community

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community has long been a part of society, but the LGBT acronym came about only in the 1990s.

While official recognition of these individuals as a group may have waited until the 20th century to arise, evidence of homosexuality and transgenderism dates back to 9600 BC, per Queens University Library. Over the years, the LGBT community has fought a strong and courageous battle against many stereotypes and a slew of hate crimes.

As a result of the discrimination and lack of acceptance the individuals belonging to this community often face, LGBT individuals may struggle with issues of self-esteem and self-identity. Many have and continue to turn to substance abuse as a way of medicating issues related to their sexual or gender preference and numbing their feelings toward it, however temporary the effects. This group of individuals is at a particularly heightened risk of addiction due to specific struggles many face associated with their sexual and gender identities, such as:

  • Bullying from strangers, friends, and family
  • Increased rates of mental illness like depression
  • Rejection from peers and loved ones
  • Feelings of shame over who they are
  • Struggling to find their place in the LGBT community
  • Being a victim of abuse

Addiction in the LGBT Community

lesbian couple both addicted to drugs

The LGBT community has higher rates of addiction than the general population. While just 9 percent of the general population struggles with substance dependency, 20-30 percent of LGBT individuals do, according to the Center for American Progress. Exact causal reasons have yet to be determined, but a lot of evidence supports the theory that their struggle to be accepted by others and their battle for self-acceptance may fuel their propensity toward substance abuse. The feelings of isolation that stem from being shunned by those who are supposed to love and support them are difficult to live with. Many choose to opt out of feeling altogether by numbing the emotional pain with drugs and drinking.

In addition, many in this community are likely to suffer from depression or other mental health issues related to discrimination from others. Substance abuse coexists in 20 percent of people with anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Club drugs, like ecstasy and GHB, are particularly common substances of abuse among members of the LGBT community. The abuse of inhaled nitrates was 21 times more likely in gay males, who were also 4-7 times more likely to abuse hallucinogens, sedatives, tranquilizers, and stimulants per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Alcohol is a major contributor to addiction among LGBT individuals as well. While around 5-10 percent of heterosexual Americans abuse alcohol, a quarter of the LGBT community does, the Association for Addiction Professionals reports.


One of the biggest reasons for this is because many members of this community feel they have to rely on nightlife and bars as the primary way of meeting one another in safe spaces.


LGBT-Specific Treatment

Substance abuse treatment for someone who identifies as LGBT often requires a different approach. Many members of this community are reluctant to seek help. Some may be fearful of coming out to peers in support groups and even to therapists. Others may have had traumatic experiences with mental health professionals in the past that have stigmatized them against the profession as a whole. Many fail to seek the healthcare they need due to a lack of insurance or reasonable access to affordable care. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reports only 9 percent of the heterosexual population failed to seek necessary healthcare in 2013 due to cost while 12 percent of lesbian or gay individuals and 17 percent of bisexual individuals went without the care they needed for that reason.

Some people in society consider the issues the LGBT community struggles with to be lifestyle choices. These are not the primary views of most substance abuse treatment centers in America. Instead of trying to pray for homosexual tendencies to resolve or engage in therapy in attempts to learn to accept a life of feeling like one was born into the wrong body, clients are encouraged to embrace their identity. If they are conflicted as to what that might be, therapy can help them find out.

A high-quality treatment center will employ staff members who have extensive experience engaging with and supporting members of the LGBT community. Fortunately, 777 treatment facilities across the nation were offering specific treatment options to LGBT community members as of 2008, per SAMHSA.

Attending treatment at a facility that supports LGBT views and lifestyles is crucial to client success. Facilities that don’t will not feel welcoming to LGBT clients, and this will have a detrimental effect on treatment success. As a result, many will leave treatment before completing it. The journal of Substance Abuse and Misuse notes at least half of all individuals who enroll in outpatient treatment drop out before they even complete three months in rehab – a figure the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids strongly recommends as being the minimum length of treatment required for a good shot at a successful recovery.

Therapy during treatment will focus on a lot more than substance abuse. Therapy should focus on all aspects of a person’s life, including any struggles related to transgender, bisexual, or gay identity. Therapy will also address repairing familial relationships and establishing individual identity. In addition, the peer relationships that clients can form during rehab are often lasting friendships.

Since mental illness affects so many who abuse drugs, treatment for mental health issues in conjunction with substance abuse rehabilitation is crucial for recovery success. Medication management services may be needed for co-occurring mental health or medical issues, so it’s important to choose a facility that is equipped to offer these services, if needed.

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lgbtq addiction treatment

With all addiction treatment programs, it’s imperative that treatment is customized to meet the needs of the individual. For LGBT individuals, this means that treatment should be able to address issues that are specific to this community and the environment should be welcoming of people from all backgrounds.

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