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How Sexual Orientation Affects Women’s Need for an Alcohol Rehab Center

Certainly, addiction crosses all barriers: gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age group, etc. And, all of these people also face the risk of a dual diagnosis, a situation in which a person receives more than one diagnosis for concurrent conditions, like addiction and depression for example.

But, a recent study indicates non-heterosexual women who have an alcohol addiction are significantly more likely to also have a separately diagnosable mental health issue.

Statistically, non-heterosexual people suffer from substance use disorders in large numbers than their heterosexual counterparts, for a number of reasons. For example, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration handbook summarizes recent research as determining “lesbian women—in comparison to heterosexual women—are more likely to use and abuse alcohol, less likely to decrease their use of alcohol with age, and more likely to report alcohol-related problems.”

However, it is only recent work that is also pointing to overlapping mental health issues among this population. If you are a non-heterosexual woman who suffers with an alcohol use disorder, you may also have a mental health issue that complicates your treatment and your alcohol usage. In this instance, it is particularly important that you seek out a rehab center because you will need professional treatment.

For help finding an appropriate rehab center, ask the experts. Findings like these point to the need for treatment options specifically targeted at non-heterosexual woman, but there aren’t many programs specifically catering to this need. You will need to ask questions and do research and RehabCenters.com can help. We will answer all of your questions and help you locate appropriate, professional care. Don’t wait; call 800-481-6320 today.

Sexual Orientation and Alcohol Use Disorders

Sexual Orientation

Non-heterosexual women are more likely to abuse alcohol and develop a co-occurring mental disorder.

As mentioned earlier, studies indicate non-heterosexual women use more alcohol than their heterosexual counterparts and continue to imbibe in excess as they get older. But, why is that the case?

The following risk factors are forwarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:

  • The reliance on bars for peer support and socializing
  • The interaction between stress, substance abuse, and sexism
  • The issues related to coming out: alienation form others (specifically loved ones), the difficulty of “passing” as heterosexual, and the use of alcohol to reduce the pain and worry associated with these feelings
  • The interaction between substance use and trauma—discrimination and physical or sexual assault that results from being non-heterosexual

These risks all contribute to the high percentage of non-heterosexual women developing alcohol use disorders.

Alcohol Use Disorder and Mental Health

Generally, people with alcohol use disorders have a higher chance of also developing a separately diagnosable mental disorder, like:

One doesn’t necessarily guarantee the other, but connections have been found. For some people, the mental health condition triggers the drinking as a form of self-medicating. Some women drink because they are trying to calm their anxiety. In other instances, heavy drinking can exacerbate existing tendencies and make mental conditions increase in magnitude. Some women may drink heavily and that may cause their anxiety to go through the roof.

In instances of dual diagnosis, the conditions are considered co-morbid. Unfortunately, people with comorbid conditions tend to have worse outcomes than those who are only grappling with alcoholism. It is for this reason that it is imperative for a treatment facility to offer integrated treatment that addresses both conditions.

If you are a non-heterosexual woman grappling with an alcohol use disorder and a mental health issue, you need to be looking for a dual diagnosis treatment.

Top Alcohol Rehab Programs for Women

Overlapping Problems

In a recent study, academic and medical researchers used previously collected data from the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) to establish whether or not non-heterosexual women grappling with an alcohol-use disorder were more likely than heterosexual women to develop and overlapping mental health condition.

After using advanced analytic techniques, they concluded there was a substantially increased risk of developing overlapping symptoms of numerous types of psychological illness, including bipolar disorder and major depression, along with panic disorder and other types of anxiety disorder.

Because of the rate at which non-heterosexual women develop comorbid conditions of both alcohol use disorder and mental illness, rehab centers must be able to diagnose and treat both. If you are a non-heterosexual woman who has a dependence upon or addiction to alcohol, you need professional treatment because you likely also have another condition to contend with.

To find a rehab center that can completely diagnose and treat you, call 800-481-6320.

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