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LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/ questioning that is colloquially used to describe an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Further, individuals that identify as non-heterosexual or non-cisgender may consider themselves members of the LGBTQ community. Though the federal government has taken steps (e.g. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) to actively protect LGBTQ community members against discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/ or sexual orientation, the deeply engrained stigma lingers. 

Individuals that identify members of the LGBTQ community often face a plethora of adverse challenges. LGBTQ members are often subject to hate crimes (e.g., physical and/ or emotional abuse, threats, public humiliation, etc.), sexual orientation discrimination, and/ or rejection from loved ones. The Human Rights Campaign asserts that LGBTQ youth are more likely to face bullying, interpersonal violence, and have a 120% higher risk of homelessness than those that identify as cisgender, heterosexual teens. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors states that LGBTQ members are at higher risk of alcohol and/ or drug abuse than non-LGBTQ members. Addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic brain disorder. It is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli regardless of the consequences. An individual that struggles with addiction and/ or substance abuse will prioritize satisfying drug cravings above all else. 

LGBTQ-Oriented Treatment Programs

Individuals that identify as part of the LGBTQ community may find attending an LGBTQ-oriented rehab program advantageous. Working with mental health clinicians that have received training and are familiar with the needs of LGBTQ are better equipped to provide ample, tailored support during treatment. For example, it is common practice for clinicians to integrate LGBTQ affirmative therapy into any treatment plan when working with a person that identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community. LGBT affirmative therapy is a form of psychotherapy used to “validate and advocate for the needs of sexual and gender minority clients.” It can help empower an individual to learn to effectively navigate the unique challenges associated with being a member of the LGBTQ community. Therapy and treatment approaches that are free of judgment and inclusive of all are fundamental in LGBTQ-oriented treatment programs. Making the decision to attend substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment is courageous as is committing to the program. Regardless of the type of substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program an individual selects, it is imperative to feel comfortable and assured that the program chosen can provide a treatment plan that is suitable and able to accommodate one’s needs. 

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At {Upwell Advisors}, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process. 

Feel free to reach to contact us anytime via email at sean@upwelladvisors.com. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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