There’s a strong link between trauma and substance abuse. Many members of the LGBTQ community are survivors of traumatic experiences. Similarly, they have a high risk of suffering from chemical addiction. Here’s what you need to know about the link between mental health drug addiction and gay-friendly rehab.
How Trauma and Substance Abuse Connect
Traumatic experiences vary. What you might consider traumatic may not be so for someone else. Typical experiences include sexual assault, physical violence, and abandonment in childhood. Of course, LGBTQ individuals may identify additional traumas.
There’s the parent who disowns the gay teen and forbids them to return home. Another experience may involve being involuntarily outed. Young adults may face daily discrimination at work. Others may have encountered violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Few seek help after surviving trauma. Failure to do so leads to emotional trigger responses. Unwelcome memories, flashbacks, and intrusive thoughts happen more and more frequently. Drugs and alcohol can numb you and temporarily turn off these triggers.
Of course, this response results in the gradual descent into chemical dependency. LGBTQ drug addiction treatment center specialists frequently work with individuals who develop physical addiction first. The body doesn’t believe it can live without the drug. From there, it’s a small step to psychological dependence.
Undergoing LGBTQ-Informed Treatment
More and more mainstream rehab centers are featuring a strong LGBTQ component. Operators recognize that there aren’t enough programs serving this demographic. Frequently, they work with community organizers to put together a representative care setup. Examples of modalities include the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy that emphasizes recognition of dysfunction in patterns and encourages positive changes
- Trauma treatment via EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and similar interventions to overcome the destructive nature of the memories
- LGBTQ support groups that facilitate peer support and explore demographic-specific topics and challenges
- One-on-one talk therapy for an exploration of goals and lifelong sobriety challenges
- Medication-assisted treatment that takes into account any other prescriptions you’re already taking
Against the backdrop of trauma and substance abuse, there also needs to be LGBTQ-informed family therapy. If you’re part of a couple, your partner needs to be there during the sessions. This is vital if there are situations involving domestic abuse or codependency. Most importantly, if your partner also uses drugs, this situation requires addressing during treatment.
Healing from Trauma Facilitates Recovery
As long as you self-medicate, it’s impossible to overcome chemical dependency. The only way to achieve lifelong sobriety is by recovering from the traumatic experience. High-quality rehab centers will also connect you to LGBTQ mental health resources for aftercare. Don’t forget to make and keep your appointments with counselors and therapists!
Now that you know the connection between trauma and substance abuse, isn’t it time to heal? You don’t have to continue suffering in silence. Every day, more and more rehab facilities add a gay-friendly component to their curriculum setups. Reach out for help today.