While alcoholism is in no way confined to the lesbian community, abuse and addiction to alcohol has plagued the lesbian community for years. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that alcohol abuse occurs among lesbians at a higher rate than in the general population. Reasons for the higher rate of alcoholism among lesbians have been suggested, with incidences of prejudice, trauma, social problems due to orientation and ostracization, and Dual Diagnosis conditions such as depression and anxiety being seen by addiction experts as contributing factors. Fortunately, lesbians struggling with alcoholism can access treatment at caring and competent facilities that will not only provide an atmosphere of tolerance, but help lesbians cope with stressors that may increase their desire to drink.
Alcoholism in the Lesbian Community
While there are often genetic forces at work in the development of alcoholism, in most cases, psychological, social and emotional factors also contribute to alcohol abuse. In fact, some cases of alcoholism – known as “Dual Diagnosis” cases – involve the secondary presence of a mental health disorder such as depression, leading many individuals to attempt self-medication by drinking. Additionally, as alcohol intake rises and stays at high levels over time, the body adjusts to the presence of alcohol as chemical changes are initiated in the body. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake can lead to a host of serious – and possibly fatal – consequences. As such, no individual should ever attempt detoxification from alcohol alone.
Additionally, the lesbian community has faced specialized pressures that often exacerbate alcoholism. Due to marginalization, social interaction often takes place at dedicated establishments, many of which serve alcohol. The coming out process itself can bring incredible emotional pain for lesbian individuals, including rejection by families of origin, financial or job difficulties, and questions surrounding identification with the gay community, as lesbians are not always embraced in social circles.
Finding Lesbian-Friendly Alcoholism Treatment
For lesbians who struggle against alcoholism, the road to recovery is often compounded by secondary issues. In many cases, finding a safe and confidential atmosphere in which to receive tolerant, comprehensive treatment is the first step to recovery from alcoholism. If you or someone you love identifies as a lesbian and would like to learn more about LGBT-friendly alcohol recovery solutions, we invite you to call our toll-free number (855-396-3011) day or night to speak to a compassionate and informed addiction recovery specialist.