Is the LGBT Community Dealing with Addiction?
Individuals part of the LGBT community are not immune to addiction. In fact, the LGBT population experiences much higher rates of addiction than the general population, and there are several reasons for this. The Center for American Progress notes that many members of the LGBT community turn to alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs to cope with the challenges of stigma and discrimination in daily life.
Inadequate healthcare is one primary issue, as LGBT people are two times as likely to not have health care as compared to others. Additionally, perceived stigma within the healthcare system discourages individuals from seeking healthcare – if they do seek help, this often leads to unhelpful or unwanted services. The Kaiser Family Foundation stated in 2014 that many people go through their employer for health insurance and many others go through their spouse’s insurance. Some business do not honor domestic partnerships for the LGBT community, which makes it more difficult for them to seek help.
It is widely known the debate over marriage equality for LGBT people. This fight for the basic human right to marry has left a negative impact on these individuals due to social discrimination and prejudice. Bullying has taken a toll on many LGBT people, and some must face physical, emotional, and verbal abuse from their families as well, leaving them feeling hopeless. Hateful acts towards the LGBT population has caused many to rely on drugs and alcohol to cope with daily stressors.
The Association for Addiction Professionals further notes that socialization efforts of the LGBT community perpetuate further addictive behaviors. Pride festivals, bars, circuit parties, and advertising of alcohol gearing towards the LGBT population provides individuals with the notion that socializing often involves substances. Specifically, media outlets find LGBT populations to be another niche that they can tailor their products to. For someone who is already upset, lonely, and feeling worthless, having another person point them towards the direction of addiction behaviors is one of the most unhelpful tactics that occur.
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