ADDICTIONS

 

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Addictions and Recovery Resources for the LGBT Community
 

Michael Boticelli TED Talk: Addiction is a Disease

NBC News: Substance Abuse in the LGBT Community
Quit Alcohol: LGBT Addiction Resources

National Association of LGBT Addiction Professionals & Their Allies

LGBT Addiction Recovery Centers

Pride Institute: Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism & Addiction in the Gay Community

Drug Addiction in the LGBT Community

Free SAMHSA Publication: Advancing Opportunities for Recovery from Addictions in LGBT Population

AllTreatment: Drug Rehabilitation

 


Michael Boticelli: TED Talk

April 2017

 

Michael Botticelli is a drug policy expert.  he also happens to be gay.  As Director of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli led the Obama Administrationís drug policy efforts to diminish the consequences of substance use through evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery support services.  His TED Talk lecture is worth viewing.

 

He says that addiction is a disease and that we should treat it that way. Only one in nine people in the United States gets the care and treatment they need for addiction and substance abuse. A former Director of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli is working to end this epidemic and treat people with addictions with kindness, compassion and fairness. In a personal, thoughtful talk, he encourages the millions of Americans in recovery today to make their voices heard and confront the stigma associated with substance use disorders.

 

As Director of National Drug Control Policy, Botticelli led the Obama Administration's drug policy efforts, which are based on a balanced public health and public safety approach. The Administration advanced historic drug policy reforms and innovations in prevention, criminal justice, treatment and recovery.

In response to the national opioid epidemic, Botticelli coordinated actions across the Federal government to reduce prescription drug abuse, heroin use and related overdoses. These include supporting community-based prevention efforts; educating prescribers and the public about preventing prescription drug abuse; expanding use of the life-saving overdose-reversal drug naloxone by law enforcement and other first responders; and increasing access to medication-assisted treatment and recovery support services to help individuals sustain their recovery from opioid use disorders.
 

LINK:

 

Michael Boticelli: Addiction is a Disease

 


Addictions and Recovery Support for the LGBT Community

Drug abuse and addiction present major challenges for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Already high within the general population, rates of substance abuse increase substantially within the LGBT community alone.

Unfortunately, little research is available to confirm actual rates of drug abuse among those who identify as LGBT, so it is difficult to ascertain the exact extent of the problem. However, a study conducted by Australia's Queensland Association for Healthy Communities presents a grim picture. In this 2005 survey, 44.8 percent of respondents claimed to smoke daily, with most using between 11 and 20 cigarettes per day.

Alcohol abuse was also rampant, with 41.4 percent of respondents drinking more than eight alcoholic beverages per week. Perhaps most alarming of all, half of respondents had used recreational drugs at some point or were still using them at the time of the survey. The top five recreational drugs mentioned in the survey included marijuana, Ecstasy, amyl nitrite (also known as poppers), crystal meth and speed.

Preliminary research suggests that rates of drug abuse are also high in the United States. A study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that LGBT youth were far more likely to develop crippling addictions than their heterosexual counterparts. Furthermore, once they did fall victim to addiction, these individuals were less likely to seek rehab and recovery treatment.

 

Why are LGBT addiction rates so high?  It is clear that drug addiction is the cause of much suffering among members of the LGBT population, but why exactly is this community afflicted by such high rates of substance abuse? A number of factors can contribute to LGBT drug abuse, including the following:
 

--Higher rates of depression among LGBT individuals
--A need to escape from the constant presence of social stigma and homophobia
--Efforts to either numb or enhance sexual feelings
--Ease shame and guilt related to LGBT identity
--Drug use among peers leads to pressure on nonusers

Unfortunately, many of the factors contributing to the development of addiction in LGBT individuals can also prevent these sufferers from seeking treatment. Addiction, as well as mental illness in general, carries a heavy social stigma with it, but an LGBT identity compounds that stigma even more. Additionally, many members of the LGBT community worry that they will not be able to find LGBT recovery centers suited to meeting their unique needs. They may be unwilling to enter traditional addiction recovery programs instead of gay drug recovery facilities, mostly due to their fear of being targeted by heterosexuals taking part in these recovery programs. These worries are not necessary, however, because a number of excellent LGBT rehab facilities are available.

 

(From Recovery.Org)

 

LINK:

 

LGBT Addiction Recovery Centers

Quit Alcohol: LGBT Addiction Resources

National Association of LGBT Addiction Professionals & Their Allies

 


Substance Abuse Treatment for LGBT Addicts

 

According to Pride Institute, "In the LGBT community, research suggests that alcohol abuse and dependence occurs at even higher rates than in the mainstream population. Independent studies collectively support the estimate that alcohol abuse occurs in the LGBT community as rates up to three times that in the mainstream population. Said another way, alcohol abuse is estimated to occur in up to 45% of those in the LGBT community."

 

Ann Leible is an LPC with Pride Institute.  She offers this critical information about drug and alcohol abuse among LGBT persons:

 

It is generally held among researchers that LGBT persons are more likely to use alcohol and drugs than the general population and more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, as cited in the Center for Substance Abuse Treatments A Providerís Introduction to Substance Abuse Treatment for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Individuals. Twenty to twenty-five percent of gay men and lesbians are heavy alcohol users, compared to 3-10% of the heterosexual population.

 

Why is this?  What factors contribute to the prevalence of chemical abuse among gays and lesbians, bisexual and transgendered individuals? And, finally, what can be done about it? Attitudes and assumptions regarding homosexuality and chemical abuse have evolved throughout the years. Until 1973, homosexuality was defined as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association. Alcoholism and chemical abuse issues, once treated solely as legal problems, now are seen as illnesses of the mind, body, and spirit. At one time it was believed that there was a causal relationship between homosexuality and alcoholism with the idea that suppressed homosexual tendencies actually triggered chemical abuse and dependency.

 

Today this myth has been dispelled by research. Instead, scientists believe that societal factors affect the relationship between chemical abuse and the experiences of members of the LGBT community. The society in which we live marginalizes the LGBT community. In fact, there is an everpresentness of possible oppression in LGBT peopleís lives. Under such conditions, LGBT folk can experience varying degrees of heterosexism.

 

(From Pride Institute)

 

LINKS:

 

Why LGBT Treatment?

Pride Institute: Alcohol Addiction

Quit Alcohol: LGBT Addiction Resources

Free SAMHSA Publication: Advancing Opportunities for Recovery from Addictions in LGBT Population

AllTreatment: Drug Rehabilitation

 


Why More LGBT Addicts?

 

Ann Leible (LPC with Pride Institute) offers an explanation as to why substance abuse may be higher among LGBT people.  She sites these factors:

 

Heterosexism
Heterosexism is defined as the stigmatization of nonheterosexual forms of emotional and affectional expression, sexual behavior or community. Negative covert and overt messages about the gay and lesbian lifestyle as well as incidents of hate in the form of threats, acts of humiliation, emotional abuse, and even murder occur frequently. Other common examples of heterosexism include: rejection by family, friends, and peers; loss of employment or lack of promotion; and observing/hearing people make heterosexist jokes. Heterosexism can contribute to internalized homophobia, shame, and a negative self-concept.

Self-Medication
Some LGBT individuals self-medicate with drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with or numb negative feelings associated with heterosexism, such as isolation, fear, depression, anxiety, anger, and mistrust. Others in the gay community may use mind altering substances as a way to cope with stressors caused by the tensions of living under the stigma of marginalization. In fact, substance use is a large part of the social life of many in the LGBT community. The gay bar scene is regarded as a risk factor for substance abuse among the gay community. But these bars have often been the only places where LGBT folks can socialize and feel free from the prevailing oppression that is experienced every day in a strongly heterosexist society. The LGBT individual who has experienced rejection from his or her biological family may find in the gay bar that one opportunity for identity affirmation and acceptance.

Heterosexism also causes many LGBT folks to compartmentalize their lives. On the outside, they may follow the rules of the dominant society and behave in ways that are accepted as the norm in order to fit in and succeed. Kimeron N. Hardin, in The Gay and Lesbian Self-Esteem Book: A Guide to Loving Ourselves (1999), defines this identity as the public self. The secret self, on the other hand, is that part of self that is honest and consistent with how one truly feels and what one desires. It remains hidden and is often perceived by the LGBT identified individual as shameful, evil, or unworthy. Engaging in such actions of secret keeping, compartmentalizing, and self-degradation can take a huge emotional toll on an individual. As every 12 Step member knows, secrets keep us sick.

Substance use can provide an avenue of relief that is easily accessible and immediate in its effects. It can also mirror the coping mechanisms of self-compartmentalizing. The user can experience a chemically promoted dissociation, which the LGBT individual may find both familiar and comforting. Therefore, the compelling allure of alcohol and drugs manifest, and the user becomes vulnerable to the cycle of chemical addiction.

Barriers in Treatment Services
Heterosexism plays a part in the chemically dependent LGBT individualís inability to access effective treatment services. Substance abuse treatment facilities are often not able to meet the needs of this special population. The treatment staff of such facilities may have varying heterosexist assumptions regarding the LGBT clients who access their services. They may be uninformed about LGBT issues, insensitive to or antagonistic toward LGBT clients or believe that homosexuality causes substance abuse or can be changed by therapy. Other clients may have negative attitudes toward the LGBT client.

These issues become barriers in successful treatment experiences for the LGBT individual seeking those services. Treatment components designed to promote successful treatment experiences for the LGBT client include cultural sensitivity, an awareness of the impact of cultural victimization, and addressing issues of internalized shame and negative self acceptance. The integrated biological-psychological social model of chemical addiction treatment takes into account the effects of society on the individual and his or her relation to the use of chemicals.

Cognitive behavioral counseling techniques challenge internalized negative beliefs and promote emotional regulation. Such counseling helps the LGBT client reach for internal acceptance instead of the nearest bottle or drug.

The inclusive and accepting spirit promoted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other support groups provides an appropriate alternative to the gay bar. LGBT folks can find a way to transcend the in-authenticity promoted by cultural oppression through the affirming acceptance of others. As a result, they may find themselves living more integrated and expressive lives. Who needs alcohol or drugs when oneís life is so full?

 

(From Pride Institute)

 

LINKS:

 

Why LGBT Treatment?

Pride Institute: Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism & Addiction in the Gay Community

Drug Addiction in the LGBT Community

Quit Alcohol: LGBT Addiction Resources

 

 


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ALGBTICAL

Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama