Authored by Pin Ng

Edited by Hugh Soames

Reviewed by Dr Ruth Arenas

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LGBTQ Rehab Overview


Research has found that the rate of individuals requiring LGBTQ Rehab suffering from substance misuse and addiction are higher than non-members. Individuals in the LGBTQ community face unique circumstances that others outside of it do not. LGBTQ members deal with friends, family, and most of society not accepting their lifestyles.


Internalized homophobia and self-loathing, negatively affects a person’s mental health, leading to addiction due to the impulsive need to calm themselves through drugs and alcohol11.R. L. Moody, T. J. Starks, C. Grov and J. T. Parsons, Internalized Homophobia and Drug Use in a National Cohort of Gay and Bisexual Men: Examining Depression, Sexual Anxiety, and Gay Community Attachment as Mediating Factors – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 29, 2022, from


When individuals have been taught to fear sex and made to believe their sexuality is wrong, it would make sense for a person would direct themselves to drugs and alcohol for the purpose of numbing themselves or to decrease the heightening fear.


The LGBTQ community is twice as likely to develop addiction compared to non-members of the population. Underlying reasons occur that enable substance abuse to occur22.D. M. Frost and I. H. Meyer, Internalized Homophobia and Relationship Quality among Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 29, 2022, from


Individuals also face other issues including trauma, violence and harassment, and abuse from people inside and outside the LGBTQ community. To help these individuals, LGBTQ rehab and gay-friendly treatment centers have opened to provide substance misuse treatment. Guests at LGBTQ rehab can also receive specialized help with co-occurring disorders.


Improving LGBTQ Rehab Experience


Rehab can be frightening for LGBTQ population members to attend. Individuals can feel shame, unsafe, and disrespected by attending rehab centers that are not gay-friendly. Many individuals do not seek the medical help needed due to the challenges presented by the medical community. Too often, members of the LGBTQ community are judged and bias are developed. Over the last two decades, shifting attitudes have improved the healthcare experience for LGBTQ members. Now, individuals can get the help needed to end alcohol and drug addiction.


Rehab centers have changed around the world and many are now LGBTQ-friendly. Many new facilities have sprung up to strictly focus on helping members of the gay, lesbian, and transgendered communities.




When treating a wide range of alcohol and substance disorders, eating disorders and simultaneous mental illnesses in LGBTQ residents, many treatment centers offer an integrated treatment philosophy that uses a variety of therapeutic methods for personalized care. The therapies include nutrition education, fitness, body and massage therapy, holistic methods and evidence-based models.


Private LGBTQ Rehab


An increasingly popular option for the LGBTQ community is private rehab, and whilst the group element of therapy is not experienced it is certainly a good option for those in public service, the armed forces and individuals subject to intense media scrutiny. There are simply some elements that cannot be shared with the wider community for fear of it leaking to the public domain.


Single client lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning) rehab clinics such as Remedy Wellbeing™ are able to create the best bespoke team of world class LGBTQ experts for each individual client. Delivering targeted and effective care to end the cycle of addiction with the greatest chance of long term recovery and remission.

Why is LGBTQ Rehab important?


Traditional rehabs can be bias and have negative views of people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or sometimes questioning) population. This can lead to discrimination from rehab facilities and other clients at the clinic.


Factors that lead to substance misuse among members of the LGBTQ population include:


  • Exclusion from social groups
  • Exclusion from relationships and activities with family and/or friends
  • Physical and/or mental abuse by family members, friends, loved ones, and partners
  • Rejection by family and friends
  • Rejection by spiritual community
  • Loss of job, child custody, or public discrimination
  • Violence due to sexual orientation or gender identification
  • Sexuality discrimination combined with gender, race, and religion discrimination


It is common for members of the LGBTQ community to suffer multiple forms of discrimination. The combined issues that they face can lead to serious substance misuse issues and co-occurring mental health disorders.


Finding a LGBTQ Rehab


Due to the specifics of each individual from the LGBTQI+ community and the issues they face, the requirements for rehab may not be met. Individuals may not be willing to ask for help if they don’t feel the treatment can address their specific issues.


There are a growing number of LGBTQ+ rehab centers that can deal with the issues LGBTQ+ community members face. Rehab can address the substance abuse problems individuals face along with recognizing and treating the co-occurring mental health issues that fester.


LGBTQ rehab may be a newer concept, but it really shouldn’t. Individuals should get the care they have always deserved without the bias and negative connotations that exist. Thankfully, now individuals can get the help they seek.


Getting Sober as a LGBTQ Identifying Person


For most, getting sober is a long and difficult process. For LGBTQ people, this process can be especially challenging: they may face additional struggles like discrimination and homophobia. But many still seek help for their addictions because chemical dependency is one of the challenges that everyone has to deal with in life. The staff at LGBTQ rehab centers aims to offer support during all stages of recovery from alcohol and drugs by creating a safe space. At such facilities, you will find psychotherapists who provide individual and group therapy and LGBTQ friendly therapists.


As LGBTQ rehab has grown, the LGBTQ community is better represented in counseling and treatment programs. The goal of LGBTQ addiction treatment is to help you recognize not only your addictive behavior but also how it relates to other aspects of your self. Most LGBTQ rehab centers provide a wealth of different services including LGBTQ addiction psychoeducation, group therapies, mindfulness techniques, one-on-one sessions with a counselor or therapist, gender identity support groups, LGBTQ sexuality groups, art classes and physical activities such as yoga or running.


LGBTQ Addiction Statistics


Chemical dependency in LGBTQ people can lead to a variety of mental health problems in addition to alcohol and drug abuse. In fact, many risk factors for addictions are in LGBTQ people. LGBTQ people are more likely to have issues with depression, anxiety and low self-esteem than the general population. LGBTQ drug statistics show that LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk of experimenting with drugs or alcohol.

LGBTQ Substance Abuse Statistics


While chemical dependency can affect anyone, LGBTQ people are more likely to use or abuse drugs and alcohol for different reasons than their heterosexual peers. Some studies indicate that LGBTQ individuals are three times more likely to experience substance dependence than the general population. Other studies show that certain groups of LGBTQ people—gay men in particular—are four times as likely to become addicted compared to their heterosexual counterparts.


Chemical dependency is a compulsive need to take drugs or drink despite any negative consequences it brings on an individual’s life, family, friends and career. According to the (Centers for Disease Control), LGBTQ drug abuse statistics indicate that LGBTQ people are more likely to use opioids, ecstasy, sedatives and alcohol than the general population.


Dependency is not only an LGBTQ problem but one related to social inequalities. LGBTQ inequality has negative effects on people’s mental health and physical well-being because it limits economic opportunities for them by denying healthcare coverage or employment protection. LGBTQ drug statistics show that just 13 states across the country provide laws prohibiting insurers from excluding based on sexual orientation or gender identity.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) reports that the LGBTQ community is over-represented in most categories of substance abuse compared to their percentage in the general population. LGBTQ drugs statistics show that 6% of lesbian or gay respondents were classified as having serious psychological distress (SPD). LGBTQ students were 7% more likely to have been forced to have intercourse, and LGBTQ people ages 12-17 years old who had been forced into sexual intercourse reported significantly higher levels of using anti-LGBTQ slurs at school, drinking alcohol and tobacco use compared with LGBTQ youth not involved in such acts.


LGBTQ drug statistics show that LGBTQ youth are at a high risk for substance abuse due to increased exposure to environmental stressors. LGBTQ teens may be more vulnerable because LGBTQ students have a greater likelihood of being exposed to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.


The need for more LGBTQ treatment centers


Uncovering the root of chemical dependency in our society is complex because it involves understanding how social inequalities affect people’s lives and well-being. For example, structural violence is ongoing exposure to domination that prevents people from self-realizing their full potential. LGBTQ individuals are more likely than heterosexuals to experience structural violence due to legalized discrimination against them, harassment and disparities in healthcare coverage, which can lead some of them to turn to substances or other forms of self-destruction or self-medication. These issues may cause LGBTQ individuals to become trapped in addiction.


LGBTQ Inequality and Violence


The LGBTQ population has a long history of being subjected to discrimination, violence and other harassment even before the AIDS epidemic. The LGBTQ community’s exposure to structural violence leads many LGBTQ people to believe that they are “less than” others, which causes low self-esteem that can lead to negative coping mechanisms such as alcohol or drug abuse.


In addition, LGBTQ persons experience high rates of interpersonal violence because their sexual orientation or gender identity is often targeted by perpetrators . According LGBTQ drugs statistics, research shows that same-sex couples suffer higher rates of domestic violence than opposite-sex couples. LGBTQ teens are more likely to experience violence, mistreatment and abuse in high school than their LGBTQ peers. LGBTQ teens who report such violence suffer from trauma that can hinder them from achieving success in . LGBTQ addiction statistics indicate that LGBTQ students experience higher levels of bullying and harassment at school compared to non-LGBTQ students.


LGBTQ Addiction and Prevention


Addiction is a compulsive, out-of-control dependency on alcohol or drugs when an individual’s use reaches the level when it begins causing harm in their lives, including family problems, financial issues, legal troubles and trouble with work performance due to impaired ability to function. Factors leading LGBTQ people to addiction can be both internal and external challenges related to LGBTQ identity. LGBTQ individuals often experience stressors such as social stigma surrounding their sexual orientation or gender identity that can lead them to use substances or engage in other risky behaviors.


LGBTQ Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES)


Early adverse experiences—such as physical, emotional, sexual abuse at home; the loss of a parent through death, divorce or estrangement; parental mental illness; household substance dependence; violence outside the home; and harsh punishment—are risk factors for chemical dependency later on in life . LGBTQ individuals who have a history of childhood sexual abuse are at even greater risk than others to develop an addiction.


LGBTQ drug statistics share that LGBTQ people with histories of sexual abuse or physical assault are more likely to use substances, often in high doses. LGBTQ students, especially LGBTQ students of color, who report bullying also may be at higher risk for substance misuse than LGBTQ teens who don’t experience harassment.


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  • 1
    1.R. L. Moody, T. J. Starks, C. Grov and J. T. Parsons, Internalized Homophobia and Drug Use in a National Cohort of Gay and Bisexual Men: Examining Depression, Sexual Anxiety, and Gay Community Attachment as Mediating Factors – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
  • 2
    2.D. M. Frost and I. H. Meyer, Internalized Homophobia and Relationship Quality among Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals – PMC, PubMed Central (PMC).; Retrieved September 29, 2022, from
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Alexander Stuart is the CEO of Worlds Best Rehab Magazine™ as well as the creator & pioneer behind Remedy Wellbeing Hotels & Retreats. Under his leadership as CEO, Remedy Wellbeing Hotels™ received the accolade of Overall Winner: International Wellness Hotel of the Year 2022 by International Rehabs. Because of his incredible work, the individual luxury hotel retreats are the world’s first $1 million-plus exclusive wellness centers providing an escape for individuals and families requiring absolute discretion such as Celebrities, Sportspeople, Executives, Royalty, Entrepreneurs and those subject to intense media scrutiny.