LGBTQ Addiction Treatment

Today, nearly 15 million people in the United States openly identify as LGBTQ, representing some 4.5% of the population. While acceptance is higher than ever, persons on the gender and sexuality spectrums struggle with mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, and addiction. In fact, LGBTQ individuals are as much as four times as likely as a straight or cisg person to struggle with a substance use disorder, thanks in large part to increased exposure to risk factors and trauma. With some 40% of the LGBTQ population struggling with some form of drug or alcohol addiction, it’s crucial that we take cultural, social, and personal considerations into account when treating these disorders.

An addiction is a disorder, not something anyone chooses for themselves. At Sheer Recovery, we understand addiction is a unique, complex, and multi-faceted illness. If you or a loved one is LGBTQ, there are myriad influencing factors that could result in addiction that a straight or cis person would never face. That’s why we offer a custom LGBTQ addiction treatment program, specifically designed to offer personal support and holistic care. Our society and its structure may put you at risk. We want to help you make yourself better.

Addiction and LGBTQ


Why are LGBTQ more at risk for alcohol and drug abuse? Why are addiction rates anywhere from 2 to 4 times higher in queer and trans communities? What pushes LGBTQ into self-medicating with drugs and alcohol?

Answering these questions is complex, but it does give us some insight into how to treat LGBTQ addiction. The short answer is that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer individuals are likely to face significantly more social and emotional stress than a straight or cis person ever would. These factors may push LGTBQ persons into a demanding psychosocial and social environment, create different experiences, and result in significantly different approaches to substance use.

For example, any LGTBQ person has likely experienced issues relating to social isolation, intimacy problems, development of identity, family rejection or disownment, depression, social stigmatization, internalized homophobia, domestic violence, hiding or suppressing personal identity, and the resulting poor mental health that would naturally come with these problems.

LGTBQ persons are significantly more likely to struggle with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, which also heavily increases risks of addiction.



Coming out is more accepted than ever before, but millions of Americans still face traumatizing social and familial rejection and isolation. Stigma is a major driving factor in isolation, feelings of loneliness, guilt, and loss of friends and loved ones and it is very real. Social isolation leads to self-medication, using drugs and alcohol to cope. Familial rejection, bullying, difficulty finding intimate partners, rejection by intimate partners, and feelings of “otherness” contribute to an increased vulnerability to addiction.


Trauma greatly increases vulnerability to addiction, and LGBTQ persons are significantly more likely to experience traumatic events than straight or cis persons. This extends to childhood, where adverse childhood experiences go on to affect the brain and the individual for life. These experiences increase risk-taking behaviors, increase vulnerability to addiction, increase the risk of developing mental health disorders, and impact growth and development. And, repression, internalized homophobia, domestic abuse relating to sexual identity, LGBTQ persons are also more likely to experience trauma as adults, through homophobia, bigotry, protesting, domestic violence, social stigma, and rejection. Traumas, even as adults, heavily correlate with vulnerability to addiction. Individuals experiencing significant trauma may also struggle with PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), also contributing to the likelihood of an individual seeking out and using or being vulnerable to addiction when using. LGBTQ persons are significantly more likely to experience traumatic events including rape, bullying, discrimination, and social injustice. For a straight or cis person, a lesbian couple being denied a wedding cake or housing is an outrage, to them, it’s life-changing and traumatic.


Mental Health

LGBTQ persons are significantly more likely to develop mental health problems and disorders. Socio-economic factors, increased risk of social ostracization, and increased stress, as well as factors such as dysphoria, homophobia, and self-hatred all push individuals into an increased vulnerability to mental health disorders. As many as 40-60% of all LGBTQ persons have a mental health disorder such as anxiety, bipolar, depression, PTSD, borderline, or schizophrenia. These factors further increase the risk of developing a drug or alcohol problem, because they greatly increase vulnerabilities through behavior, mental state, and physical state of the brain. This disparity in mental health must also be recognized in treatment, because treating a disorder without treating the underlying issues achieves nothing. 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide. 70% of LGBTQ persons in rehab have undergone serious trauma. And, at Sheer Recovery, we know those factors have to be taken into account when asking people to change their mental state.

Treating any substance use disorder means treating the underlying causes, and LGTBQ persons are significantly more likely to experience traumatic and harmful events than straight or cis people.

LGBTQ Addiction Treatment at Sheer Recovery

LGTBQ persons need holistic, empathetic, and medically validated treatment more than nearly anyone else. Yet, discrimination is rampant in the medical field. 21-24% of LGBTQ persons have been denied medical care and as many as 70% discriminated against by the very people who should be helping them. If you or a loved one is seeking out addiction treatment, it’s crucial that you do so from an establishment offering LGBTQ services. It’s crucial that your recovery center have a vetted team of individuals who will not only recognize the special needs and circumstances surrounding LGBTQ persons, but also respond to them with empathy, kindness, and fairness.

When you seek out LGBTQ addiction treatment at Sheer Recovery, we offer a trained team of medical professionals and an addiction treatment program designed to meet the holistic needs of a queer or cis person struggling with addiction.


Studies show that seeking out an LGBTQ focused addiction treatment program like the one at Sheer Recovery actually improves outcomes, because it allows individuals to receive holistic care actually focused on their needs, while in a safe space.

We accept a wide variety of different insurance plans.

Dual-Diagnosis Support – Dual diagnosis support is one of the most crucial offerings for LGBTQ persons struggling with substance use disorder. With estimates showing as many as 60% of LGTBQ persons have a mental health disorder, it’s essential that your clinic have the tools to recognize and begin treatment for those disorders. Dual diagnosis treatment should begin in the earliest stages of recovery and should end with referrals to therapists and programs that can continue to tackle these issues. LGTBQ patients are more than 4 times as likely to experience issues with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. At Sheer Recovery, our holistic approach means those issues are more likely to be recognized and treated during recovery, so you have the tools to overcome underlying issues rather than simply tackling the surface symptoms of addiction.

Personalized Treatment – Everyone has different needs, a different history, and different problems. Taking the time to understand the complex social, cultural, interpersonal, and health (mental and physical) problems underlying addiction is crucial to treating it properly. At Sheer Recovery, we take a holistic approach. Addiction is a disorder of the mind, body, and spirit. You need a team who will work with you to understand who you are and where you’re coming from. That’s why every one of our patients goes through an intake process designed to ensure we know who you are and why. Our treatment programs are customized to each patient and tailored throughout the stay to ensure each individual receives the care they specifically need. What’s involved in personalized treatment at Sheer Recovery? Our program starts with a phone interview, followed by in-depth psychological, physical health, and toxicology assessments, where our qualified team will help you decide where you stand and determine the right course of action for a full treatment and recovery.

sheerrecovery-lgbtq-addiction-treatment-photo-of-smiling-patient-receiving-medical-consultationMedical Support – LGBTQ persons are more likely to struggle with mental and physical health problems, ranging from HPV, STDs, hepatitis, aids and HIV to PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Many require ongoing medical support and medication, which is at odds with how many “recovery” centers restrict patients from their medication or even require that they stop. It’s crucial that you be able to receive ongoing support and care as well as medication for existing conditions. This includes having trained and qualified medical staff on-hand to diagnose and treat side-effects and problems of those health problems. The medical team at Sheer Recovery can work with you to offer support for medical and mental health problems so that you can recover in safety and comfort.

sheerrecovery-lgbtq-addiction-treatment-photo-of-a-couple-friends-sunset-on-beachOpen Acceptance – Studies show that more than 20% of LGTBQ persons seeking addiction treatment fail to disclose their sexual or gender identity. Failure to disclose these important aspects of your addiction prevents us from properly treating the underlying causes of your addiction, because you need a treatment program taking your personal life and circumstances into account. At Sheer Recovery, we openly support LGBTQ, we may not fly a pride flag, but you can openly discuss your gender and sexuality with our staff and you will be protected from discrimination throughout treatment.

Seeking treatment as a LGBTQ person means exposing yourself to more emotional and social stress on top of trying to end an intense disorder. It’s crucial that when you put yourself into someone else’s hands, they have the tools to protect you, treat the underlying causes of your disorder, and take steps to help the real you to recover. At Sheer Recovery, we promise to use all our resources to help you build a better life for yourself, addiction free.

A World-Class Inclusive Addiction Treatment Team

When you choose Sheer Recovery, you put yourself in good hands. Our world-class medical team comprise qualified and licensed medical professionals capable of safely taking you through the rigors of detox and into recovery. Our clinicians are experts in addiction and recovery, family therapy, and spirituality. Our medical team is qualified to offer the full medical support you need to safely and comfortably make it through detox. This includes full pharmacogenomic testing and medication management throughout your stay, prescribed medication to manage symptoms, and ongoing professional medical support throughout your stay.

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Luxury Addiction Treatment in Orange County

sheerrecovery-lgbtq-addiction-treatment-photo-of-young-peopleDetox and recovery are traumatic, intensive, and difficult. At Sheer Recovery, we understand that anyone attempting recovery is going through a lot. It’s important that you be able to do so in safety and comfort. That’s why we offer luxury addiction treatment in sunny Orange County, California. Recovery isn’t a vacation but stepping into a soothing environment gives you the opportunity to relax and focus on treatment.

Our luxury programs include a full range of amenities and comforts, including comfortable rooms, beautiful locales, and activities including entertainment and complementary therapy such as art, music, and sports.

You don’t have to suffer to recover from a substance use disorder, in fact, it’s better if you don’t. That’s why we offer a luxury addiction treatment program, so you can recover in safety and in dignity.

Get Help Now

If you or your loved one is ready to get help, Sheer Recover is here. We offer admissions and intake within 24 hours, support for interventions, and LGBTQ-friendly admissions programs designed to make you or your loved one feel welcome and supported from our first contact on the phone. Contact us today to verify your insurance program covers our services, discuss your needs with one of our consultants, or review your needs and options. We are here for you.