Substance Abuse and the LGBT Community

Mental Health: Exploring Collaborative Community Reform in South Australia
August 30, 2016
Partners in Recovery
August 30, 2016

Factoring Substance Abuse

In addition to early childhood experiences, substance abuse within the LGBT community has been linked to social and interpersonal relationships, coming out, gender and sexual identity, the development of social and intimate relationships, cultural norms and internalized homophobia to name a few.

Family, regardless of biological or ‘Chosen’, can have a significant impact on substance abuse treatment outcomes. Family can be a significant trigger for continued drug use and relapse. In many cases, the biological family has disowned their LGBT child or sibling; others may tolerate – but not really accept – them.

If there is not a clear understanding and acceptance of the individual, it is likely the pattern of distress will continue. – MARNI LOW

Family systems issues such as these can trigger feelings of depression and anxiety, which can lead to self-medicating through drug and alcohol use. Similarly, many LGBT people are reluctant to engage family in the treatment process due to fear of further rejection, distance or abandonment. Conversely, where there is acceptance and support of sexual and gender identity, family therapy can have a positive outcome on the individual and family system as a whole.

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The Mental Health Coalition of South Australia is the peak body for the non-government mental health sector in South Australia.

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