LGBTQ+ youth are twice as likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol as their heterosexual, cisgender counterparts. This often happens for one of two correlated reasons. LGBTQ+ spaces are more likely to have easy access to these substances, as LGBTQ+ individuals face a lot of negativity and use these substances to forget about it.
Some negative experiences include:
- Discrimination and bullying: Although society is becoming more accepting of people of all sexualities and gender identities, LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience discrimination and hate daily.
- Internalized homophobia: Even in a supportive environment, LGBTQ+ people can be at odds with themselves and unable to accept who they are.
- Rejection: When friends and family don’t support someone coming out as LGBTQ+, it can be an isolating and heartbreaking event. Coming out can result in them being kicked out of their home or living in a house where they constantly feel rejected.
- Co-occurring disorders: Anxiety, depression, ADHD and other mental health issues often go hand in hand with substance abuse, and LGBTQ+ people are also more likely to develop these disorders.
Tips for Helping Your Child Avoid Drugs
You can support your LGBTQ+ child and help them navigate these troubles. Although discrimination and co-occurring disorders aren’t always preventable, there are things you can do to help prevent them from escaping through illegal substances:
- Set expectations and monitor them: Make sure your child knows that you do not support underage drinking or drug use, and keep up to date on who they’re hanging out with and what they’re doing. This will make it more challenging for them to hide drug use.
- Be supportive: Let your LGBTQ+ child know you love them no matter what. Engage with them and ask them about their life regularly. Even if they don’t always respond, showing that you care and giving them unconditional love will make them more open to telling you things in the future.
- Show concern, not anger: If you learn that your child is abusing substances, approach them from a place of concern. Try to understand what led them to start using so that you can best understand how to help them. Consider enrolling them in an LGBTQ+ drug and alcohol support program.
Get Expert Advice From 7 Summit Pathways
Even after your LGBTQ+ child becomes an adult, as a parent, you’ll want to help ensure they don’t go down a dangerous path. 7 Summit Pathways is an 18+ rehabilitation center offering individualized treatment options that prioritize every patient’s mental, physical and emotional health. We have full in-house rehabilitation, outpatient care and our unique Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), where patients can receive treatment during the day and return home at night.
If you think your LGBTQ+ may have a drug addiction, contact us today so we can discuss the next steps.