GLBT Drug Rehab Programs

The GLBT community has achieved many rights in the U.S. over the last few decades. Hiding your identity is no longer mandatory to gain social acceptance, find jobs, and enroll in schools or universities. Family and friends no longer boycott homosexuals when they “come out.” Some states and countries allow civil unions between members of the community.

This is a huge contrast to the days when members of the community had to keep their identity a secret, visit clandestine clubs set up in basements, or even face prison or forced “treatment” for their non-mainstream choices.

GLBT Addiction and HIV/AIDS

However, the LGBT community still has a ways to go, before it achieves parity with non-LGBTs. One of the most serious issues facing the GLBT community is the mismanagement of diseases such as AIDS. When AIDS first reared its ugly head back in 1980, people assumed it affected only homosexual men. While it was later proved that the disease affected anyone who had unprotected sex with a carrier or used infected needles (pregnant-mother-to-baby transfer is also possible), the community was struck with the stigma of being HIV carriers.

Often, medical intervention came too late because it was difficult for a member of the community to overcome discrimination and get the help he or she needed. Conservative people assumed the disease was divine punishment for their “sins.”

The situation is marginally better today, thanks to more legal rights for the community and support and awareness from enlightened citizens. But there is a lot more to be done.

In 2005, the majority of newly infected men were GBT, while only 30% were heterosexual men. The GLBT community faces discrimination and isolation which can make the control of this disease difficult.  Tackling this disease among GLBT requires committed programs that take into account the needs of the community. The first strategy most intervention workers use is based on sex education and safe sexual practices.

However, with so much focus on sexual transmission of the disease, people ignore the other major cause of HIV infection: drug use. Drug users are always at more risk of infection than non drug users. This is because shared needles can spread the virus. Second, drug users are more prone to unsafe sexual behavior. A GLBT drug rehab program can provide solutions to both these problems, in addition to providing a healthier and better quality of life to drug addicts.

GLBT friendly addiction treatment programs obviously factor in the cause of addiction. Many homosexuals and bisexuals turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to beat stress brought on by the discrimination and abuse they might face in daily life, in addition to the more “routine” problems affecting non GLBTs such as unemployment and poverty. Not only does this lead to addiction, but also to psychological trauma and suicidal tendencies.

A gay drug rehab program helps addicts through counseling, therapy, meditation practice, and team activities. It provides them a safe, non judgmental environment where they can expect support and assistance from doctors, therapists, and fellow addicts. While undergoing treatment, they do not have to worry about fending off insensitive remarks or dealing with discriminatory behavior.

Addiction Tendencies

Addiction trends among GLBTs fall in two major categories. The first is addiction to alcohol, which was the earliest form of addiction in the community. The main reason for this is not hard to get. Years back, when the members of the community could not be seen together openly, they started frequenting unlicensed bars and clubs. The temptation to drink in company of “one of their own,” and the rejection from the mainstream majority drove many of them to alcoholism.

Clubs soon became places where homosexual and bisexual men and women could obtain “party drugs” such as Speed and Crystal Meth. These drugs (and alcohol) not only led to health problems, such as cirrhosis, HIV, hepatitis, and heart disorders, but also psychological problems and unsafe behavior.

Other GLBT Addiction Problems

Apart from challenges peculiar to the LGBT community, gay drug rehab programs also deal with issues faced by all addicts, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Chief among them is the risk of relapse. This can only be dealt with using long term rehab and monitoring. There are other negative outcomes of addiction besides poor health. Addicts lose jobs, confidence in their ability, and face social stigma (other than the stigma of being “gay”). Drug use also leads to increased criminal activity among users, mostly to obtain money to buy drugs or pay expenses in absence of a job or income.

Withdrawal is a major problem for long-term users who try to kick the habit. Their systems have become addicted to the drug. The lack of it leads to symptoms such as anxiety, nausea, and cramps. Thankfully, most people do not experience these symptoms for more than 3-4 days. Long-term users, however, require 10-15 days for recovery from withdrawal phase.

Finding Help

Only 10% of drug users opt for professional assistance to deal with their addiction. The figures are even lower for the GLBT community. There are treatment programs that have been tailor-made to the needs of this community. In the US, you can find many detox and rehab centers in California. If you do not want to confide in your friends or family members, you can seek help from a healthcare worker, your physician, or visit a therapist for guidance.

How successful the program is depends on your attitude as much as on your counselors and doctors. Keep a positive outlook and work on getting rid of the addiction completely, without riders such as “only at parties” or “only one peg a day.” Trust your counselors and fellow residents. Share your problems and ask for advice. Remember that you are among people who will not judge you or turn you away. Drug and alcohol addiction is often an indication of an underlying psychological problem. Once you have identified what events or thoughts trigger binge drinking or drug use, you will be able to formulate a plan to deal with your negative thoughts and the cravings of your body during withdrawal. Don’t feel afraid to admit you feel scared or “lost.”

Most of all; be gentle with yourself and don’t blame yourself for your addiction. With the right help and approach, you will be able to rejoin the mainstream without fearing stigma or requiring addictive substances to deal with your problems.

If you or someone you care about needs help finding the best GLBT drug rehab, please call (877) 774-0345. All calls are confidential.

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