LGBT Friendly Rehab Centers


Are you a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transsexual substance abuser who needs drug and alcohol rehab? Are you hesitant about entering treatment, because you want to avoid sexual preference discrimination and prejudice? Are you denying yourself the help you need because you don’t want to deal with clients or treatment staff who might not understand your lifestyle?

At Treatment Directory, we have information about inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities that cater to the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. With these programs, you can recover in a safe and protected environment. Because both substance abuse and psychiatric disorders may be more prevalent in the LGBT community than in the general population, some of these rehabilitation programs serve those with drug and alcohol addictions as well as those who are dual diagnosed.

Recover in an Environment That Celebrates Diversity

Studies show that treatment for substance abuse is most effective when delivered in an environment where clients feel comfortable and free to be themselves without having to worry about being judged. This has led to the creation of many substance abuse treatment centers that cater exclusively to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. The addiction specialists at these facilities are trained to work with clients who come from all walks of life and to effectively relate to diverse groups of people.

Exploring issues about sexual identity and how these issues have contributed to drug and alcohol abuse is an important part of LGBT treatment. LGBT clients have special treatment needs that differ from those of the general population. Research has shown that the more specialized the treatment program, the more likely it is to assist clients in substance abuse recovery. An LGBT treatment program can provide the firm foundation necessary for a clean and sober lifestyle as well as helping LGBT clients to feel comfortable in a lifestyle that differs from that of the general population.

Get Clean and Sober in a Safe Place

Because of chronic discrimination and the resulting lifestyle stress, LGBT clients bring a unique set of issues to substance abuse treatment. Traumatic life changes, the confusion of coming out, and family rejection can all contribute to addiction and mood disorders. Drugs and alcohol can quickly become a habitual way to get rid of uncomfortable and unpleasant feelings.

LGBT substance abuse treatment encourages honest and open communication in a nurturing and structured setting where patients can participate freely and honestly in group therapy sessions, individual psychotherapy, and informational seminars. Treatment focuses on issues specific to LGBT clients and recognizes that these clients face a unique set of challenges in maintaining a clean and sober lifestyle.

Many in the gay and lesbian community suffer from mood disorders and psychiatric conditions related to gender issues. Most LGBT substance abuse programs employ a multidisciplinary approach that combines drug and alcohol rehab services with treatment for conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Are Those in the LGBT Community More at Risk for Addiction Than Heterosexuals?

A recent study in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment reported that those in the LGBT community are more vulnerable to addiction and less likely to seek help than heterosexuals. Substance abuse in the LGBT community is higher than it is in the general population. Furthermore, LGBT people are more likely to develop psychiatric conditions like depression, experience more shame and guilt because of their sexual preferences and use drugs or alcohol to escape from discrimination, prejudice, and homophobia.

Even heterosexual alcoholics and addicts may avoid drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment, because of the social stigma associated with substance abuse and mental illness. LGBT people are even less inclined to seek help, because they fear being stigmatized even more than they already are. LGBT substance abusers often fear that getting help means entering a treatment program that’s geared toward heterosexuals and where they won't be able to be honest or open about their sexual preferences without being judged.

What Kind of LGBT Substance Abuse Treatment Options are Available?

Thanks to an increasing demand for gay and lesbian treatment programs in the U.S., LGBT substance abusers are learning that they have more recovery options than ever before. Drug and alcohol treatment programs for LGBT clients are now offered in settings that include inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, residential treatment, and sober living facilities.

The recovery programs offered for those who are LGBT are similar to traditional drug and alcohol programs in that they offer services such as:

  • individual psychotherapy
  • drug and alcohol education
  • family counseling
  • aftercare
  • relapse prevention
  • and group therapy

What makes these substance abuse treatment centers different than traditional programs is that services are focused on core issues that challenge those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual. Common target issues to explore include:

  • Dealing with prejudice and homophobia
  • Gender identity and gender acceptance issues
  • “Coming out” as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transsexual
  • Coping with anxiety, depression, bipolar, and other psychiatric disorders
  • Relationship and intimacy issues
  • Family problems and family rejection
  • LGBT identity building
  • Managing job discrimination
  • Self-acceptance and self-esteem

What if I Have a Mood Disorder Along With a Substance Abuse Problem?

A number of addicts and alcoholics have a psychiatric disorder in addition to a substance abuse problem, but the incidence of mood disorders is higher in the LGBT population. Having a substance abuse problem along with a mood disorder is called dual diagnosis, meaning that you have two coexisting conditions.

In addition to exploring mood disorders in a safe and structured setting, patients may be prescribed non-addictive mood stabilizers. Once the psychiatric condition is under control, clients are free to focus on the emotional, spiritual, physical, and intellectual aspects of recovery.

After discharge, mood stabilizing medications can greatly assist clients to devote themselves to activities that support recovery. Additionally, a stable mood reduces the possibility that a client will turn to drugs or alcohol to relieve the symptoms of mood disorder.

Are There Residential Treatment Centers That Treat Only Those Who Are LGBT?

There are many residential inpatient treatment facilities that serve the LGBT population, and each facility differs somewhat from the others. Inpatient treatment is an intensive residential treatment option that often takes place at a medical facility where drug and alcohol detox is the first phase of treatment.

Inpatient programs tend to be highly structured and provide services such as individual psychotherapy and group therapy sessions. Length of stay can vary and is generally tailored the needs of the client. Underlying psychiatric disorders can be identified and stabilized with psychotropic medications, and the patient can receive medical detox at the same time.

LGBT-friendly inpatient programs might serve all who are LGBT or they might be limited to just gay men or lesbians. Although many treatment programs are specialized for the LGBT population, there is no one-size-fits-all option. However, many residential programs will work with patients to provide the most effective range of services that target that patient’s unique and particular needs.

Following LGBT inpatient care, the patient may be transitioned into a residential facility like a sober living house. For patients who have nowhere to go after inpatient care or who are not yet ready to return home, sober living houses provide a less structured setting for recovery where residents can experience sober living with other recovering LGBT people, hold jobs outside the facility, attend 12 Step meetings, participate in outpatient treatment programs, and generally enjoy more freedom overall.

What Type of LGBT Substance Abuse Treatment Would Best Serve My Needs?

Before searching out the LGBT substance abuse facilities that might work for you, take some time to consider your needs. Is your current living situation stable and supportive of your recovery? Would you prefer to live at home while you are treated for addiction? Do you have a coexisting psychiatric disorder? If so, an intensive day program would probably be a good fit for you. Outpatient day programs can deliver all the services you would receive in an inpatient facility, but you can still live at home in the evenings and on weekends.

On the other hand, if your current living situation is unstable and a trigger for drinking and using, a long term residential treatment facility would provide a safer environment in which to begin your recovery.

Finding the Right LGBT Program

At Treatment Directory, we invite you to explore the substance abuse recovery options that are available for those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transsexual. We suggest that you review and evaluate a variety of programs to determine which one would best serve your needs. We can supply contact information about these programs if you want to contact a particular facility directly to get more details.

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