Mental health disorders in the LGBTQ+ community: a serious issue that’s twice as likely to occur than in their heterosexual counterparts. This is not necessarily because members of the LGBTQ+ community are genetically prone to mental health care issues. However, their unique challenges may feed into LGBT mental health issues.
Life experiences play a huge role in mental health. Members of the LGBT community are more likely to experience discomfort because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. But the worst part is often feeling like there’s no one to turn to.
In this article, we’ll dive into the struggles the LGBTQ+ community faces with mental health disorders, provide tips for better mental health and explore the treatments available for those in need, all while highlighting the importance of seeking out high-quality, LGBTQ-affirming treatment at Healthy Life Recovery, an outpatient program in San Diego, California that treats drug and alcohol abuse and dual diagnosis.
The Risk Factors of LGBTQ+ Mental Health
A few significant risk factors that LGBTQI+ individuals encounter can exacerbate mental health problems. To better help your loved ones and look after your behavioral health, it’s critical to be aware of these issues.
The coming-out process varies for each member of the LGBTQI+ community. Some people find the experience to be pretty straightforward. A third of LGBTQI+ individuals are lucky enough to experience parental acceptance. But for some, the journey may not be as smooth sailing with their public health compromised.
Coming out can be difficult because of culture, religion, and family expectations. A few people might even be scared to lose their job or housing. It’s also crucial to realize that not everyone can or is ready to come out, and it’s acceptable if some individuals never come out.
Studies show that a third of the LGBTQI+ community waits until they are adults before coming out. Regardless of whether they are out or not, it is crucial to appreciate and support their choice.
Violence and trauma have a long history in the LGBTQI+ community. The LGBT community has experienced everything from sexual harassment, homophobia, and transphobia to hate crimes. All of this trauma has the potential to affect mental health seriously or be the cause of mental illness.
LGBT people are thus more likely to experience trauma, with estimates of prevalence indicating that up to 48% of LGB people and 42% of transgender and gender-nonconforming people fulfill the criteria for trauma. These figures are significantly higher than the prevalence in the general population.
They may experience instances of discrimination, harassment, and marginalization, leading to feeling minority stress and damaging their mental health condition. It’s important to understand that rejection can take many forms, from outright hostility to microaggressions and subtle discrimination. The effects of rejection can be severe, leading to depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
According to The Trevor Project, LGBTQI+ kids who face a lot of familial rejection are about eight times more inclined to try suicide. Additionally, people from families who reject them are six times as likely to have worsening depression.
Substance abuse is another one of the health disparities in the LGBTQ+ community. Studies have shown that members of the community are more likely to experience addiction and substance abuse issues than the general population. This is often due to the stress and trauma associated with being a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Tackling addiction and substance use issues is crucial, but it’s just as important to address any underlying mental health concerns.
According to a 2021 study, the rate of substance addiction among LGBTQI+ adults is over twice as high as that of heterosexual adults, and for transgender people, it is almost four times as high as that of cisgender people. Additionally, relative to their heterosexual counterparts, junior and high school students whose identity is LGBTQI+ or are unclear of their identity take illegal drugs at considerably higher rates than those who do not. These students range in age from eleven to eighteen.
Some people may use alcohol or drugs to escape the trauma they have gone through. Others may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with daily discrimination and scrutiny. Whatever the cause, substance abuse is a serious issue in the LGBTQI+ community that requires attention.
Types of Mental Health Disorders LGBT Struggle With
A mental health issue can affect everyone. However, those who identify as LGBTIQ+ community are more vulnerable to experiencing issues like:
Depression is a common mental health disorder that affects many members of the LGBTQ+ community. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including discrimination, rejection, and trauma. Depression comes with its own set of symptoms, such as feeling down in the dumps, feeling like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, and losing interest in things that once brought joy.
It’s important to seek out treatment for depression, as it can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. Therapy, medication, and support groups are all effective ways to manage depression.
LGBT youth and LGBT adults may also struggle with anxiety disorders, particularly concerning fear of rejection or discrimination. They may also experience anxiety related to navigating relationships and social interactions.
Symptoms of anxiety include feelings of nervousness, worry, and fear. It’s important to seek out treatment for anxiety, as it can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. Therapy, medication, and support groups are all effective ways to manage anxiety.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a mental health disorder that can arise as a consequence of a traumatic experience, whether it’s something one went through or simply witnessed. Many members of the LGBTQ+ community have experienced trauma and may be at risk of developing PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, and avoidance of reminders of the trauma.
LGBT individuals may also be at a higher risk of developing eating disorders, particularly concerning body image concerns and societal pressure to conform to traditional gender roles.
Self-Harm and Suicide
LGBT individuals may engage in self-harm behaviors or contemplate suicide due to feelings of isolation, rejection, and discrimination. People in the LGBT community may experience suicidal more suicidal thoughts compared to their heterosexual peers.
It is important to note that these mental health disorders are not exclusive to the LGBT community and can affect anyone. However, the unique challenges faced by LGBT individuals can increase their risk of developing these disorders.
Finding Treatment for Mental Health in the LGBT
Finding treatment for mental health in the LGBT community can be challenging, as many individuals may not feel comfortable seeking help from a therapist or counselor who may not understand or be sensitive to their unique experiences. It’s important to seek out LGBTQ-affirming therapists and other mental health services.
At Healthy Life Recovery, we understand the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community and provide high-quality, LGBTQ-affirming treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and dual diagnosis. It’s important to remember that seeking help for mental health is a brave and vital step, and many people and organizations are dedicated to providing support for the LGBT community.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment in San Diego for LGBT+
The goal of dual diagnosis treatment, commonly referred to as integrated treatment, is to heal you on a whole-person level. It’s important to seek out LGBTQ-affirming therapists and other resources. At Healthy Life Recovery, we understand the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community and provide high-quality, LGBTQ-affirming treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and dual diagnosis.
At Healthy Life Recovery, we understand the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community and provide high-quality, LGBTQ-affirming treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and dual diagnosis. Our team of experienced mental health professionals is dedicated to helping individuals in the LGBTQ+ community overcome addiction and mental health issues. Located in San Diego, California, we offer a range of evidence-based treatment options, including therapy, medication, and support groups.