Mel Roberts

The Importance Of Acceptance – Drug Use And Familial Issues In The LGBT Community

It should come as a surprise to nobody that being accepted as the human being you are, regardless of gender identification, sexuality, nationality, colour, religion etc is a powerfully empowering thing. The love and acceptance of one’s family for the person one is can make or break an individual. As ‘pack animals’, we are hardwired to follow and respect the ‘pack culture’, and there are few ‘pack structures’ stronger than that of the family. So when the ‘pack culture’ intrinsically rejects the person you are, it can have profound psychological effects. Members of the LGBT community who have experienced disapproval or outright rejection from their families upon coming out often attempt to self-medicate for this psychological damage through the use of drugs.

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Drug abuse is not uncommon in the LGBT community, largely because substance abuse issues are almost always preceded by mental health issues surrounding anxiety, self-acceptance, and depression. Those who have experienced a negative reaction from their families relating to their sexual or gender identity are likely to feel rejected, which can in turn lead to the kind of psychological issues which render them ripe for drug addiction. Needless to say, this does nobody any good. However, what the family damaged, the family may be able to heal. Trials are beginning to show that LGBT users in rehab can benefit from family therapy based around re-integrating the LGBT individual into the family unit, and encouraging resistant family members to accept and love the LGBT member for who they are, unconditionally. Naturally, this is not always the easiest of processes, but with persistence, love, and a willingness to work at it, it really can yield some fantastic results. There is hope. For more on this, read here.

 

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