There is some speculation that the increased rate of substance abuse amongst lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (gay/lesbian, transgendered) people may have something to do with their sexual orientation. It has been noted that many of these individuals suffer from depression because of their sexual identity. They feel isolated and not part of the “mainstream.” Substance abuse can exacerbate these feelings of alienation, leading to more depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse is a major public health concern. Each year, the nation creates millions of new prescription drugs, with many of them being habit forming. People who abuse drugs and or alcohol often do so because they find it easy to give in to their cravings. People who are LGBT are particularly susceptible to substance abuse because of the nature of their sexual orientation, as well as the fact that they may be alienated from their families and communities. Many feel trapped in a sense of “double life.” Two specific areas where the issues of sexual orientation and substance abuse seem to intersect are within the gay community. Recent studies have shown that gay men are more likely to seek help for drug and alcohol addictions than any other group of men. This is true not only in the United States but also in the United Kingdom and Europe. There are several theories surrounding why this is the case.

Reason of substance abuse

One theory is that gay men may be more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol because of their very real, visible sexual orientation. The fact that they are more open about their sexual orientation gives people reason to prey on them. Some may argue that there is a difference between outing oneself to another person and making love, but that choice does not always lead to good things. Another theory surrounding why there is an increased risk for LGBT individuals to abuse drugs and alcohol is that they are more likely to self-medicate for symptoms of depression and anxiety, which can then lead to addiction. There is a difference between “getting something out of” a drug or alcohol addiction and “getting something from” alcohol or drugs. If someone decides that they need help to feel better, it is not always true that it is because of their sexual orientation.

Support LGBT people

Many organizations that exist specifically to support LGBT people have been formed as a result of increasing concerns about this issue. The National Gay and Lesbian Drug Abuse Association (NFAC) is one such organization. They provide a wide range of resources to those struggling with substance abuse. The organization runs programs for adults, as well as for teenagers and children. Across the nation, support groups for those struggling with addiction are springing up at locations ranging from coffee shops to colleges. Those looking to identify the problem of substance abuse in the lives of GLBT people should consider the various programs available. Those who live with HIV or AIDS may be at increased risk of HIV if they are thinking about substance abuse. Substance abuse and addiction has been associated with many forms of cancer including breast cancer, rectal cancer, and squamous cell carcinoma. Substance abuse can lead to death, but it should not be looked upon as a choice.

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