LGBTQ+ Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers
Addiction affects people from all walks of life, and treatment can look different for everyone. Research shows that members of the LGBTQ+ community have higher rates of substance misuse and substance use disorders than individuals who identify as heterosexual.1 When you’re a member of a community that is often stigmatized and discriminated against, it can be common to search for ways to cope with stress through substance use.2
Seeking treatment in a facility with other patients as well as staff who understand your experiences can help you feel comfortable as you work toward reaching sobriety. Several options for substance use treatment are available, such as detoxification, inpatient rehab, outpatient services, medications, and behavioral therapy. To learn more about addiction within the LGBTQ+ community, LGBTQ+ addiction treatment, and ways to find LGBTQ+ rehab and treatment services, continue reading.
Addiction Within the LGBTQ+ Community
The LGBTQ+ community embodies a wide range of sexual orientations and gender expressions. It represents members who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, as well as intersex, asexual, and more.2
Addiction isn’t a moral failing but rather a disease that can be treated and managed successfully with evidence-based therapeutic interventions.3 LGBTQ+-specific addiction rehab treatment programs help foster positive treatment outcomes as they are designed to mitigate stigma and discrimination, providing a space for healing where you feel supported and encouraged.4
People in this community often face many challenges that can contribute to higher levels of substance use compared to the general population. Studies show that lesbian, gay and bisexual men, and transgender individuals are more likely to use and misuse alcohol and drugs, as well as continue heavy drinking into later life, when compared to the general population.1
Substance use disorder (SUD) is also much higher among the LGB community.1 In 2020, 34.2% (5.5 million) of adults 18 or older in the LGB community had a substance use disorder.5 Among adults struggling with addiction, 59.7% struggled with illicit drugs, 63.8% struggled with alcohol use, and 23.5% struggled with both.5
Many factors contribute to substance misuse and addiction within the LGBTQ+ community. People in this population are often negatively targeted just for being who they are. They face many daily challenges that people who identify as heterosexual don’t have to endure. Some of the common obstacles the LGBTQ+ community faces include:1
- Social stigma and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
- Harassment, violence, hate crimes, and emotional abuse.
- Rejection from family or friends.
Often, people in the LGBTQ+ community try to escape the pain and hurt of these experiences with substances.5 Self-medicating can temporarily numb depression, anxiety, or anger, but as time goes on, coping with substances can turn into an addiction.
What Is LGBTQ+ Specialized Addiction Treatment?
Specialized addiction treatment for LGBTQ+ people provides a safe space with experienced staff trained in understanding the challenges and stressors of the LGBTQ+ community.6 LGBTQ+-friendly addiction rehab offers programs targeted toward the unique experiences within this community. Addiction specialists in LGBTQ+ rehab centers understand that a non-judgmental environment that promotes acceptance is ideal for people to open up and focus on healing.6
LGBTQ+-friendly rehab is centered around handling issues special to people in this community. For example, someone whose substance use might be related to feeling shame about coming out to their loved ones may find it easier to express and cope with these feelings in a place where they feel heard and understood. Furthermore, the staff in LGBTQ+ addiction treatment programs is often aware of the various other issues that are more likely experienced with members of the LGBTQ+ community, like depression and certain other mental health issues, as well as social stigma and discrimination.6
Inpatient Addiction Treatment for LGBTQ+ Individuals
LGBTQ+ residential treatment or inpatient care provides a space where LGBTQ+ individuals receive 24/7 addiction care while living in a facility.7 Different therapeutic interventions, like behavioral therapies, peer support, and medical detox, are typically offered in inpatient settings.7 Unlike outpatient rehab, inpatient care allows you to step away from your everyday environment, reside in a treatment facility, and focus on recovery.
Although often recommended for people with severe addictions, inpatient rehab can help you at any point in your recovery journey. Still, residential rehab may work better for some than others. People with co-occurring disorders (when someone struggles with another mental illness in addition to addiction) often benefit greatly from inpatient treatment.8
Spending the appropriate amount of time in treatment is vital to recovery.7 LGBTQ+-friendly inpatient programs vary in duration. Most inpatient programs last between 30 to 90 days, but longer stays are available.7 After completing inpatient rehab, your addiction specialist may recommend an outpatient program, which could allow you to live at home, or, if you don’t have support at home, may recommend a sober living facility.
Outpatient Addiction Treatment for LGBTQ+ Individuals
Outpatient addiction rehab for LGBTQ+ individuals offers similar treatment to inpatient rehab, but you can live at home.7 One of the main differences between outpatient treatment and inpatient rehab is patients can visit the program and return home to tend to other responsibilities, like work or family.7
There are various levels of outpatient rehabs ranging from less structured traditional programs to highly structured partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), where you attend daily for multiple hours a day. You might visit a counselor or therapist weekly in a standard outpatient program.9
Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are a bit more structured, requiring you to attend a facility for at least 6 hours a week.10 Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) are the most intensive, often requiring you to attend at least 5 days a week for 20 to 30 hours.10 The level of outpatient care you receive is based on your unique needs.
Outpatient programs typically include similar therapeutic interventions to inpatient rehab, like detox, behavioral therapies, and peer support.7 Someone who needs the flexibility to tend to their everyday responsibilities might choose an outpatient program.7 Outpatient programs are also more cost-effective than inpatient programs causing less of a financial burden to seek treatment.7
Sober Living for LGBTQ+ Individuals
After completing formal rehab, you might continue care in an LGBTQ-friendly sober living home. Sober living environments provide a stable and supportive place to live while transitioning from inpatient care.11 You must abstain from substance use while living in a sober living home.
In sober living, you gain independence by working and providing for yourself in a structured environment. While in a sober living house, you stay engaged with a variety of addiction services that can keep you on the road to long-term sobriety:12
- Outpatient treatment.
- One-on-one counseling.
- Peer support groups.
- Medication-assisted treatment.
Importance of Mental Health Treatment for LGBTQ+
Nearly half of those fighting substance use disorder also have co-occurring mental illnesses, like anxiety, depression, PTSD, or bipolar disorder.8 It’s the standard of care to treat addiction and co-occurring disorders concurrently.8
The stressors of individuals in the LGB community can easily be connected to co-occurring disorders. LGB people are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience mental health conditions.2 In 2020, 23.1% (3.9 million) of LGB individuals 18 or older struggled with addiction and mental health conditions.5
Does Insurance Cover LGBTQ+ Addiction Treatment?
Several options are available to pay for LGBTQ substance abuse treatment. Mental health and substance use disorders are essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act.13 That means insurance companies must cover costs for addiction treatment to some extent.13 Many facilities accept major insurance companies, such as:
The coverage you receive for treatment will depend on your specific health insurance plan. Plans can differ in type, like HMOs, PPOs, Medicare, and Medicaid. Each policy has different co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs. Also, choosing a provider within vs. outside of your network can mean the difference between paying most costs out-of-pocket and receiving a higher level of coverage. You can check your insurance to learn exactly what’s covered by your plan.
Even if you don’t have insurance, there are still ways to pay for treatment. Some facilities offer public funding, while others provide flexible payment options, like sliding scale and payment plans. With plans like these, the amount you pay for rehab depends on your income. It’s also possible to pay out-of-pocket or get a private loan from your bank or a company specializing in healthcare lending.
How to Find an LGBTQ+ Rehab Center
Talking to your primary care physician (PCP) is often a good place to begin your search for addiction treatment. Getting support from loved ones can also make seeking treatment a bit easier. As you research treatment options, look at reviews and reach out to learn more about each program.
Our admissions navigators at American Addiction Centers (AAC) can help you find an LGBT-friendly rehab that offers what you need. Seeking treatment in an LGBTQ+ rehab allows you to receive support and aftercare from trained staff knowledgeable of the unique experiences of the LGBTQ+ community. They can assist with mental health issues and equip you with the tools to build a healthy life without substances.
Contact us today at to learn more about LGBTQ+ rehab and let us help you find the treatment you need. You can also quickly and easily check your insurance coverage for free by filling out the form below.