ASFfall2016

U n d e r s e r v e d And Undeterred Overcoming the unique challenges LGBTQ individuals face with addiction A s more and more addiction treatment centers are looking for ways to tailor programs to address the individual needs of clients, one section of the population is being largely overlooked. Advocates say treatment providers need to be more aware of the unique issues and barriers facing the LGBTQ community. Numbers don’t lie program. Advocates say 46 percent of homosexual men and women have had a homophobic therapist, and 34 percent felt their sexuality was seen as irrelevant. While putting sexuality aside to address addiction glance, advocates say recognizing those recovery. Need for understanding Understanding a person’s sexuality and gender identity can be as important as understanding their race or ethnic background in that it can uncover potentially hidden sources of stress or trauma that may contribute to substance use. Just as counselors should consider the social experiences of African-Americans, so too should they consider the unique circumstances faced by members of the LGBTQ community. “In order to not continue to create trauma towards the LGBTQ community, the more culturally competent a person or work/recovery environment is, the better,” says Molly Gilbert, director of business development for the PRIDE Institute in Minnesota. LGBTQ individuals at much higher rates than they do the heterosexual population. Some estimates show an addiction rate between 30 and 40 percent, compared to around 10 percent of the population in general. While statistics also show that LGBTQ individuals enter into treatment more readily than the rest of the country, they also face

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