The unique challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community and their connection to addiction

The unique challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community and their connection to addiction

Addiction impacts the lives of people all over the United States every day. In 2021, the number of individuals with a substance use disorder was estimated at 46.3 million. Others may not go as far as to claim this disorder, but they still battle with their own temptations and heavy substance use. 

As people get older, it seems that more and more life stressors hit their plates. School, family, friends, pressure from social media, society, body changes, and so many other things can increase stress. Many people turn to drugs to cope. This may start with what seems like just a few casual drinks after a long day, which is widely accepted, but this habit can quickly ramp up from there. 

While there are plenty of genetic factors and outside struggles that can lead to addiction, this weighs heaviest on one group. Of course, not everyone who has an addiction falls under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, but the rates of substance use and addiction are higher for these individuals. Many things impact this higher rate, but the main culprit is this community's unique challenges.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2023 data report found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults are more likely than straight adults to use substances. These individuals face discrimination, assault, mental health challenges, and so many other stressors that can lead them down the path of substance abuse.

The unique challenges that impact the LGBTQ+ community and can lead them to substance abuse. 

Gender and sexual minorities are faced with many challenges in everyday life that can lead them to abuse substances, including discrimination, assault, or just wanting to fit in. Not everyone within this community will turn to drugs to get by, but this has become the norm for many. If you or a loved one are dealing with an addiction, it can be helpful to understand the unique challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community and the connection to substance abuse.

Who you surround yourself with can impact substance use.

Everyone faces pressure to fit in, but this impacts the LGBTQ+ community even more so. Sometimes friends and family aren’t accepting, which may lead queer or transgender people to want to hide this part of themselves or numb the pain of not fitting in. 

Drugs can lift some of the weight off their back and give them a sort of crutch to get through this. Pressure to fit in can also lead someone who doesn’t want to participate in substance use to give them a try. 

Many places this community feels the most safe involve nightlife, such as performance shows and gay bars. People can absolutely enjoy these spaces without having an issue, but for someone with substance abuse, it can be hard to find a sober place that brings the same loving and accepting feeling. It can be challenging to give up substances if you feel you’re giving up your safe space, too. 

Discrimination, hateful views, and the fear that comes with them carry a heavy weight. 

Our political climate is difficult and scary to deal with, especially as a sexual or gender minority. Some politicians are trying to put anti-LGBTQ+ laws in place, while others are trying to protect this community’s rights. In more than half of the states in the US, there are still no laws explicitly stating protections from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. 

People can be denied housing, jobs, and other services based on these parts of themselves. These vital parts of life shouldn’t be challenged. You should never have to question whether or not you have a bed to sleep in or job security, but it’s something LGBTQ+ people in many states have to worry about. 

LGBTQ+ individuals are facing a constant battle for their rights, which means our social media feeds and news stations are continually being blasted by this information. It’s tough to escape the continuous debate over fundamental human rights.

Being surrounded by politics can be good in some ways, but it can also be tough to deal in others. It’s excellent for queer voices to be highlighted and for young LGBTQ+ kids and teenagers to see there are people out there fighting the good fight. However, this constant reminder that things aren’t completely safe for this community can be more overwhelming than anything.

The LGBTQ+ community faces higher rates of depression and mental distress. 

People who identify as LGBTQ+ are at a higher risk of developing depression, anxiety, and mental distress. Now, there isn’t something in the brain chemistry of LGBTQ+ people that leads to higher rates of depression or mental anguish, but this is a direct result of the weight society puts on the community.

Queer and transgender people walk through life constantly, facing discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, rejection, complex family and friendship dynamics, and other challenges that can all affect mental health. 

When your rights are being questioned, and you’re facing hateful words or stigma daily, this is likely to weigh on you. The same is true for the violence and bullying so often faced by LGBTQ+ individuals. Those who don’t have healthy coping mechanisms built up may turn to substances in an attempt to deal with depression and mental distress. 

If you believe it’s time to get help, Q Space Detox is here.

Drugs aren’t all fun and games. The brain suffers under the heavy weight of addiction, which can lead to problems with memory, focus, decision-making, judgment, anxiety, and depression. Those who struggle with addiction long-term may face issues with their kidney, liver, heart, and dental health. It can even lead to cancer, and each year, thousands of people die as a direct result of addiction. 

People with addictions aren’t the only ones who suffer; their friends and families do, too. We understand how scary deciding to work through addiction can be. If you or a loved one is ready to get help, here at Q Space Detox, we’re eager to play a role in your successful journey. 


Don't Let Addiction Control Your Life Any Longer!

Begin your journey towards a brighter tomorrow by calling Q Space Detox today! Our team is committed to supporting you as you embark on the path towards becoming a successful and thriving member of the LGBTQ community.