The past few years have been monumental in the favor of gay rights. In 2015 the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal across the United States – a major milestone in the gay rights movement.
Although a wonderful step in the right direction, the LGBT community is still faced with its share of obstacles and non-supporters, which can lead many to suffer from mental illness and substance abuse.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, LGBT community members have higher rates of substance abuse compared to the rest of the population, and this could be a “reaction to homophobia, discrimination, or violence they experienced due to their sexual orientation.”
Suicide is one of the main causes of death among LGBT community members, between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Members of the LGBT community have double the chance of being the target of a hate crime in comparison to African-Americans. Crime toward LGBT members has surpassed those in the Jewish community.
As society becomes more accepting of the LGBT lifestyle, those who oppose it become more firm in their beliefs as well. “The flip side of marriage equality is that people who strongly oppose it find the shifting culture extremely disturbing,” stated Gregory M. Herek, psychology professor at the University of California.
Whether expressed through violence, rallies or simply a state of mind, people against the LGBT movement do not agree with the lifestyle. This limited view may be backed by religious, cultural or even family beliefs, but it can be mentally, emotionally and spiritually damaging to members of the LGBT community.
Preventing mental illness and damaging substance abuse is a matter of providing support and resources to members of the LGBT community. Although you may not be directly connected to the LGBT rights movement, it is crucial to be accepting and understanding to the cause, no matter where you stand.
It’s time to break down stereotypes and rewire how our society views sexual orientation. More importantly, it is crucial we get help to those LGBT members who struggle with mental illness and substance abuse.
Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?
One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.
But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.