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Gay-friendly bars once, and still do, provide environments for meeting other gay individuals. Older gay men did not have access to the Internet or other sources for finding a positive gay community, and patterns of regularly attending bars and drinking, even in just a social context, contributes to long-term alcohol use problems. While drinking may provide a sense of community, it may also allow individuals to mask feelings of isolation.
Substance abuse and discrimination are closely related. “The Impact of Institutional Discrimination on Psychiatric Disorders in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Populations: A Prospective Study,” published in the March 2010 issue of American Journal of Public Health found that the likelihood of alcohol abuse among lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals rose in states where gay marriage is banned. Older gay men have been facing discrimination for most of their lives, and they may turn to alcohol or other substances in a conscious or subconscious effort to suppress negative emotions or feelings of isolation from the community at large.
Drinking Problems among Older Adults
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH) found that “40 percent of adults ages 65 and older drink alcohol.” These individuals are at greater risk for abusing alcohol or becoming addicted, as they are often taking additional medications and no longer have the same tolerance for the effects of alcohol that they had when they were younger. Alcohol works faster in older bodies and puts them at greater risk for accidents or negative health effects.
Gay-Friendly Alcohol Abuse Treatment
Gay individuals may not realize the importance of culturally relative treatment. They may attend rehab programs where they do not feel comfortable being open or admitting to the unique personal challenges they face. They may not find a welcoming or understanding community at general support group meetings. This may cause older gay men to avoid treatment altogether. They may convince themselves they are too old for recovery or that there are no recovery options that can help them. These beliefs are little more than excuses these days, however, as LGBT-friendly addiction programs exist across the country. These programs will include tracks for older individuals and will address the challenges each unique patient faces in his journey to an alcohol-free life.
Gay-Friendly Alcohol Abuse Help
Call our toll-free helpline to find gay-friendly addiction treatment. We are here 24 hours a day to match you with the recovery resources that will meet you where you are. You are never too old for recovery, and there is a supportive and engaging recovery community waiting for you. Call today.