LGBTQ Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs in Las Vegas
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LGBTQ Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs in Las Vegas

People dealing with drug or alcohol addiction often benefit from treatment to help them stop substance abuse and start the path to recovery. Specialized rehab programs for certain populations, such as veterans, women, first responders, and those in the LGBTQ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, or somewhere else on the gender or sexuality spectrum), can be helpful not only for addressing the substance abuse, but also addressing issues that are unique or important to these communities and populations. Although there is limited research on their effectiveness for all the subgroups in the LGBTQ community, addiction treatment programs offering specialized groups for gay and bisexual men showed better outcomes than gay and bisexual men being treated in non-specialized programs.4

As of 2020, there are 145,000 Nevadans over the age of 13 who identify as LGBTQ.1 A 2018 study showed that LGBTQ youth in Nevada were more likely to use substances than their non-LGBTQ peers.2 Furthermore, people who identify as LGBTQ are 3 times more likely to have a mental health disorder, such as major depression or generalized anxiety, which can lead to substance use and other serious issues.2

In the U.S. in 2019, among LGB adults:11

  • 6 million people had a substance use disorder (SUD)
  • 8 million people had a mental illness
  • 9 million people had both an SUD and a mental illness (this is called co-occurring disorders)

If you or someone you care about is a member of the LGBTQ community and struggle with substance abuse, you are not alone. Specialized LGBTQ recovery programs can help you not just with the disease of addiction, but with any other mental health issues that may be impacting your health, well-being, and daily functioning. Keep reading to find out more about LGBTQ drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs in Las Vegas and how you can get the help you need, whether you live in Nevada or anywhere else in the country.

How Are LGBTQ Rehab Centers Different?

Unlike a traditional rehab center, LGBTQ drug rehab is designed to specifically address LGBTQ issues often related to addiction, which have generally been unrecognized. Studies show that substance use disorders (SUDs) are often not discussed openly within LGBTQ communities, and there has been limited discussion traditionally about LGBTQ issues among addiction treatment providers and researchers.3

Avoiding the problem and not having a chance for open and honest discussion during treatment can leave you feeling isolated and alone, which can worsen addiction and mental health concerns. Other common risk factors for substance use and other mental health disorders in the LGBTQ community include:4,5,7,8

  • Increased social stigma, discrimination, and family rejection, as well as fear of or expectations for these behaviors.
  • Internalized stigma, or feeling shame, anger, or guilt about their identity or the need to hide it.
  • Discriminatory laws and policies.
  • Increased risk of being bullied or physically abused.
  • LGBTQ youth have a 120% higher chance of homelessness than the average population.
  • Having unsupportive families.

Some people may use drugs or alcohol to cope with the negative feelings or mask the pain these issues cause. Substances are also easily found and commonly used in LGBTQ social settings, which can also factor into the higher rate of SUDs in this population.5

On the other hand, LGBTQ people who have supportive family members and social circles are less likely to use substances or have mental health issues.7

The Need for LGBTQ Rehab Centers

While LGB people may be at higher risk of both SUDs and mental health issues, research has also shown that they are more than twice as likely to reach out for help than the general population.8,9

The need for specialized programs to treat substance use in the LGBTQ community is clear. Unfortunately, not many rehabs offer such services; for example, one study found that only 7.4% of programs offered specialized services for LGBT patients.4

But specialized LGBTQ alcohol rehab and substance abuse programs can offer a safe and supportive environment in which to begin your recovery. Benefits include:6

  • A nonjudgmental approach that affirms your sexual and gender identity and expression.
  • During the assessment process, counselors are aware of and ask about issues that could have played a role in the development of your addiction, such as the coming out process, that do not impact the general population. This helps your care team create a more effective and functional treatment plan for your specific needs.
  • The issues LGBTQ community members face are directly named and discussed, such as stigma, family rejection, and emotional and physical abuse.
  • Referrals to aftercare programs designed for LGBTQ populations, such as community-based support groups.

Things to Consider When Selecting an LGBTQ Rehab

When choosing an LGBTQ rehab center, it’s important to consider all of your unique physical, mental, financial, and social health needs. You may wish to ask about general issues, such as location, cost, payment options, and insurance coverage. But you may also wish to factor in issues such as:4,6,10,12

  • Are staff members trained on or certified in working with LGBTQ communities?
  • Which aspects of the LGBTQ community are represented at the rehab?
  • What treatments and therapies are offered? Different treatment approaches can be particularly helpful for LGBTQ members, including motivational interviewing, social support therapy, contingency management, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Beware of any treatment centers that offer conversion therapy (sometimes also called “reparative” or “reorientation” therapy). These are harmful practices not based in medical evidence.
  • Do you need detox? Detox offers safe withdrawal management and is often the first step of recovery.
  • Do you need inpatient or outpatient rehab? If LGBTQ inpatient rehab is the best option for your needs, you may want to ensure the program offers gender-affirming housing.
  • What is the overall treatment philosophy of the program?
  • Do you have any other physical or mental health issues (comorbid health conditions or co-occurring disorders)? If so, you’ll want to ensure the program you choose can treat all your issues and accommodate your medical needs.

Traveling for Rehab

As mentioned earlier, there are unfortunately not many treatment centers that cater specifically to the LGBTQ population. If you are interested in this type of treatment, it may mean that you have fewer options in your area, and you may need to consider whether you want to travel to another town or state to access specialty treatment available at an LGBTQ rehab center.

If traveling is not an option, you could also consider treatment facilities that may not offer specialty treatment but do offer LGBTQ support groups. This can be a beneficial option when paired with additional treatment offerings available at most rehabs, such as individual therapy, where you can work one-on-one with a counselor who is sensitive to LGBTQ issues.

Finding the Right LGBTQ Rehab Center

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of detox as well as inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment in Nevada and nationwide. We welcome members of the LGBTQ community and offer specialized, customized treatment for substance use disorders and any co-occurring mental health disorders you may be facing. If you’re ready to reach out for help, please call our free, confidential 24/7 helpline at to speak to an admissions navigator about your recovery options.

Note: We have used variations of the LGBTQ+ acronym in this article to reflect that substance use studies are often limited to LGB populations and use binary identity classifications.