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ABOUT US is a not-for-profit resource for the community, connecting people to addiction treatment and education resources. You can find information on addiction and treatment as well as detailed information on treatment centers nationwide. Our main goal is to provide a comprehensive resource for individuals who are seeking treatment regardless of their situation.

LGBT Addiction Treatment

LGBT addiction treatment refers to a specialized drug and alcohol rehabilitation program that focuses on the particular needs, preferences, and requirements of people who identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay, or transgender and who are struggling with substance use disorders.

These programs often use a different approach in the treatment of substance abuse disorders among people who are enrolled in their facilities. This is because they offer treatment plans that are centered on the clients as well as family education and individual counseling.

Most of these programs came up around the 2010s after the NSDUH - the National Survey on Drug Use and Health - for 2015 that was released by SAMHSA - the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. This report showed that most sexual minorities had a higher risk of developing a SMI (serious mental illness), AMI (a mental illness), and a MDE (a major depressive episode), as well as addiction in comparison to people in the sexual majority.

Through LGBT addiction treatment, many facilities offer highly customized services that are designed to meet the unique challenges that people who identify as LGBTQ+ struggle with over and above their addiction. Most of these facilities also provide assistance with the issues of harassment, violence, stigmatization, trauma, and abuse that these people face. Further, they allow their patients to connect with other people who understand their needs better than others would. These issues include:

  • Acceptance by friends and family
  • Alleviation of any risk-taking behaviors
  • Anxiety
  • Coming out
  • Depression
  • Establishment of social networks that are supportive of their recovery
  • Identity acceptance
  • Integration
  • Other mental health issues

Apart from the fact that LGBTQ+ individuals have a higher likelihood of abusing drugs and developing addiction, it is also important to remember that they have needs that are different from those of straight people especially with respect to addiction treatment.

Since they suffer from co-existing problems, it is also highly likely that these issues could complicate their drug and alcohol abuse. In many cases, traditional addiction rehabilitation centers are not always equipped to deal with all the specific problems that addicted LGBT people struggle with.

Further, LGBT drug rehabs are beneficial because they allow their patients to be among people who have the same sexual orientation. In many cases, this ensures that the recovering addicts can feel supported and safe. It also improves their opportunities for successful recovery in the long term.

Who Is LGBT Treatment Best For?

If you identify as lesbian, transgender, questioning, transgender, or bisexual and have been struggling with a substance use disorder and/or co-occurring mental health or medical disorders, you may be able to benefit from LGBT addiction treatment.

This is because you may have a higher than average risk of substance abuse, suicide, mental health issues, and more. In fact, research studies show that the impact of discrimination, prejudice, homophobia, and heterosexism can all increase your incidence of addiction.

The other concerns that will be addressed through LGBT addiction treatment - which could make this form of drug rehab attractive to you - include but are not always limited to the following:

  • Family dynamics
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual identity
  • Sexuality
  • Social position

How Long Is LGBT Addiction Treatment?

Addiction treatment, whether you are LGBT or not, should typically take anywhere between 30 and 90 days. However, NIDA - the National Institute on Drug Abuse - reports that spending less than 90 days or 3 months in such a program could have limited effectiveness.

To this end, you can be sure that LGBT addiction treatment will only work if you continue engaging with your recovery plan as well as stay in the treatment program for a suitably long time period.

In the same way that it took you time to develop the unhealthy behavior and thought patterns that ended up leading to your substance abuse and addiction, it would also take some time for you to relearn how to behave and think in ways that will promote your recovery in the long term.

To this end, it is essential that you find a LGBT addiction recovery program that will adopt a holistic approach in your treatment. In such a program, you will be able to address all the issues of your spirit, mind, and body as well as promote your healing as a whole person.

Often, the duration of LGBT addiction treatment is longer because the program will use a wide variety of complementary and traditional therapies, workshops, and interventions to address all your different needs.

During the course of your treatment, you will be able to:

  • Address all the issues that have been underlying your substance, use, abuse, dependence, and addiction - including but not limited to mental illness, chronic stress, and trauma
  • Address any family, household, and relationship dysfunction
  • Develop all the coping skills that you need to handle such triggers as drug cravings, stress, and negative emotions
  • Find meaning and purpose in your renewed sobriety
  • Identify unhealthy behavioral and thought patterns
  • Learn how to behave and think in healthier and sober ways
  • Learn how to relax, enjoy your time, and have fun without turning to drugs and alcohol
  • Repair all the relationships you damaged through your substance abuse and addiction

All these treatments and lessons will take time. It is for this reason that you can typically expect to spend longer than 90 days irrespective of whether you choose inpatient or outpatient LGBT addiction treatment.

Average Cost of This Type of Treatment

The cost of LGBT addiction treatment will vary widely based on many factors. For this reason, it is important that you contact the drug rehab center beforehand so that you can ask about how much you can expect to pay. You can also find out about insurance coverage, sliding scale repayment plans, and upfront costs that you have to deal with.

That said, you can expect to pay more in a LGBT drug rehab center than in a regular addiction treatment program. This is because of the specific therapies and special focus that is applied through this type of program. Other factors that will determine how much you will end up paying include:

  • Whether or not you have an insurance plan that will pay for some, most, or all of your treatment services
  • The use - if any - of medications to manage your addiction and co-occurring disorders
  • The type of rehab program that you choose
  • The services provided to help with your recover
  • The qualifications of the staff members working for the center
  • The need for additional recovery services once your formal treatment has come to an end
  • The amenities provided by the facility
  • Location of the recovery center

How Do I Go About Finding This Type of Treatment?

While looking for a LGBT addiction treatment program, there are also some factors that you need to consider. For starters, the program should be formatted in such a way that it will address your specific needs and requirements as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

  • Are the staff members trained to and experienced in dealing with the issues that members of the LGBT community face?
  • Can the staff members deal with people who have the same sexual orientation as you?
  • Does the facility have classes that are related to issues specific to LGBT individuals?
  • Does the program offer aftercare follow-up services?
  • Does the program offer therapy groups comprised of LGBT people?
  • Does the rehabilitation program provide family counseling services?
  • Other questions that you may want to ask before enrolling in such a program include:
  • What is the program's rate of success?
  • What percentage of the clients identify as LGBTQ+?
  • What special training do the counselors have to allow them to offer LGBT addiction treatment services?
  • Which members of the LGBTQ community does this facility help overcome addiction?
  • Which treatment programs are available at the facility?


In the long term, it can be useful to go for LGBT addiction treatment than to enroll in another regular drug rehab program especially if you are lesbian, bisexual, questioning, transgender, or gay. This is because these treatment programs would be tailored to meet your specific needs and requirements for recovery. They can also help you deal with all the LGBT issues that might have led to your addiction.

For these treatment programs to be successful and effective, there must be comfort and trust between the patients and the addiction recovery professionals. To this end, you should find a LGBT addiction treatment program that you can feel comfortable in before you get started on your recovery journey.


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