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Transgender

Transgender

Inclusive and affirming care for transgender individuals, offering personalized treatment plans that respect their unique experiences and challenges, ensuring a safe and supportive path to recovery.

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Transgender

Transgender individuals face unique challenges when it comes to addiction and mental health. Discrimination, stigma, and lack of access to adequate healthcare can create additional obstacles in seeking treatment. According to National Center for Transgender Equality, studies show “devastating levels of discrimination in every aspect of life” for transgender people.

Additionally, transgender individuals are more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

Fortunately, there is a growing number of resources available to support transgender individuals in their journey toward recovery and supporting their mental health, In this guide, we’ve curated a collection of the best resources available to support transgender addiction recovery & mental health. Explore these valuable resources in one ultimate guide.

How Prevalent is Substance Abuse in the Transgender Community?

Breaking the Silence: Shedding Light on Substance Abuse within the Transgender Community

Welcome to our guide’s section on substance abuse within the transgender community. Substance abuse is all too common in our society, and the transgender community is no exception.

In fact, research has shown that transgender individuals face immense challenges when it comes to addiction and mental health, including discrimination, stigma, and lack of access to healthcare. However, this section is not meant to scare you but to inform and empower you.

Research shows that substance abuse is more prevalent among the transgender community than among cisgender individuals. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 26% of transgender individuals reported misusing drugs and alcohol, compared to 9% of the general population

In fact, rates of addiction among transgender people are “disproportionately higher” than rates of substance misuse in the general community, writes the Center for American Progress. As many as 30% of LGBT people report abuse of drugs and alcohol, while the general rate of misuse is only 9%.

Alcohol and drugs such as marijuana, opioids, and prescription medications are among the most commonly abused substances in the transgender community.

 

  • Transgender individuals were more likely to report heavy alcohol use (defined as consuming five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least one day in the past month) than cisgender individuals (25.4% vs. 19.6%).
  • 10.3% of transgender individuals reported using cocaine.
  • Transgender individuals were more likely to report using marijuana in the past year than cisgender individuals (21.8% vs. 15.2%).
  • 41.3% of sexual minority adults reported past-year marijuana use in 2020, compared to 18.7% of the overall adult population.
  • Transgender individuals were more likely to report using prescription pain relievers in the past year than cisgender individuals (11.4% vs. 6.6%).

Minority Stress Theory explains that when people from different groups (like cultures or genders) feel different from the bigger group, it causes stress. This can happen to transgender people because they feel different in a mostly straight world. They face a lot of problems like being bullied, harassed, or mistreated. Some of them may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope, especially when they are influenced by LGBTQ culture.

 

We firmly believe that with the right support and tools, anyone can find the strength to overcome addiction and reclaim their life. So let’s dive in and learn how we can work together to support the transgender community in their journey toward recovery.

 

*Note: Many federally funded surveys have only recently started to ask about sexual orientation and gender identification in their data collections. Therefore, it is not yet possible to establish long-term trends in substance use and SUD prevalence in LGBTQ populations.

As a transgender person of color, the intersection of my identities has made it even more difficult to access the mental health care and addiction treatment I need. We need more resources and support for marginalized communities like mine. Alok Vaid-Menon, gender non-conforming writer and performance artist

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Mental Health Concerns in the Transgender Community

Transgender individuals face unique challenges in their lives, often encountering discrimination, prejudice, and stigma. It’s a vicious cycle for a vulnerable minority. These factors contribute to a higher prevalence of mental health issues and substance abuse within the transgender community.

Mental illness and gender nonconformity remain heavily stigmatized among the general public. This means that transgender individuals have two burdens to battle. Those who identify as transgender and internalize the negative views cast on them tend to not seek out help. Many are driven to addiction and other unsafe practices, further risking their well-being.

One of the lead researchers writing in The Lancet notes that “in no other community is the link between rights and [mental] health so clearly visible as in the transgender community.”

The American Journal of Public Health surveyed 1,093 male-to-female and female-to-male transgender persons, 44.1% of whom reported clinical depression as a result of their stigma, and 33.2% who reported anxiety caused by their stigma. The researchers in the journal were confident that transgender people “clearly fit the minority stress model.”

This issue affects transgender individuals of all ages. There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence supporting the hard truth that transgender children nationwide are facing a mental health crisis because of the harassment, rejection, bullying, and discrimination they face. Transgender youth are at a significantly increased risk of suicide when they face rejection and trauma.

For years, I struggled with addiction and didn’t know why. It wasn’t until I began my transition that I realized the root of my addiction was my dysphoria and the constant feeling of being trapped in the wrong body. —Jamie Grace Alexander, transgender activist and speaker

The cycle of prejudice, stress, and substance misuse is a vicious one. Millions of transgender people are often ignored or willfully misunderstood, causing them personal distress and suffering.

Primary mental health factors that contribute to substance abuse in the transgender community include:

Discrimination and stigma
Mental health issues
Limited access to healthcare
Social isolation
According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, transgender individuals experience higher rates of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicidality compared to the general population. The study found that 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide, a rate nearly nine times higher than the national average.

Additionally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that transgender individuals are more likely to abuse substances, with 30% having used substances to cope with the stigma and discrimination they face.

Transgender individuals face stress not only from societal interactions but also from within their families. When family members reject someone due to their gender identity or nonconformity, it increases the chances of that person turning to substance abuse or even considering suicide.

A study by The Graduate Center of City University of New York revealed that being disowned by one’s family can lead to severe emotional and social repercussions, particularly because it affects a core aspect of the transgender person’s self-identity.

The study also reported that about 54% experienced a low amount of family rejection, about 31% experienced a moderate amount of rejection and about 14% experienced a high amount of rejection.

The American Psychological Association recaps, “dealing with discrimination results in a state of heightened vigilance and changes in behavior,” so transgender people who have been negatively treated by caregivers and healthcare providers are likely to anticipate further discrimination, “which in itself can trigger stress responses.”

By understanding the unique mental health concerns and factors contributing to substance abuse within the transgender community, we can better support transgender individuals on their path to recovery.

Higher Rates of Depression and Anxiety

Transgender individuals often experience higher rates of depression and anxiety compared to the general population. This is frequently due to the stress of dealing with stigma, discrimination, and societal non-acceptance.

Gender Dysphoria

Many transgender individuals experience gender dysphoria, a psychological condition marked by distress due to a discrepancy between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth. Managing this distress can be a significant mental health challenge.

Risk of Suicide and Self-Harm

The transgender community has higher rates of suicidal ideation, attempts, and self-harm. This is often linked to experiences of rejection, discrimination, violence, and lack of support.

Impact of Discrimination and Stigma

Transphobic discrimination, whether in the form of social rejection, bullying, or institutional discrimination, can lead to chronic stress and trauma, exacerbating mental health issues.

Transgender Help Lines

Trans Lifeline

Trans Lifeline offers peer support and crisis intervention services specifically for transgender individuals. This vital resource provides a confidential hotline staffed by trans volunteers who understand the unique challenges facing the transgender community. Whether you’re seeking support for substance abuse, mental health concerns, or simply need someone to talk to, Trans Lifeline is here to listen and support you on your journey to recovery

Crisis Text Line

The Crisis Text Line offers free, confidential support via text message to individuals in crisis, including transgender people struggling with substance abuse or mental health challenges. Trained crisis counselors provide compassionate assistance and referrals to resources that can help you navigate your recovery journey. Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor and get the support you need.

LGBT National Hotline

The LGBT National Hotline offers confidential support, information, and referrals to LGBTQ+ individuals across the United States. Trained volunteers provide compassionate assistance to transgender individuals seeking help with substance abuse, mental health issues, or other concerns. Whether you’re in crisis or simply need someone to talk to, the LGBT National Hotline is available to support you 24/7. LGBT Hotline Website (888)843-4564

AVP Hotline

The AVP (Anti-Violence Project) Hotline provides support and assistance to LGBTQ+ individuals who have experienced violence or discrimination, including transgender people seeking help with substance abuse or mental health issues. Trained counselors offer confidential support, safety planning, and referrals to resources that can support your recovery and well-being. Call the AVP Hotline at 800.799.SAFE (7233) to connect with a trained counselor who understands the unique challenges facing the transgender community.

Transgender

Transgender Substance Abuse Resources

Finding Freedom: Substance Abuse Resources for the Transgender Community

Transgender individuals facing incredible challenges require specific resources and support when seeking help with substance abuse.

You’re never alone. Keep these substance abuse resources handy:

Transgender Addiction Recovery

Lambda Center

  • Lambda Center: Safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Transgender Domestic Violence Resources

Breaking the Silence: Transgender Domestic Violence Support and Resources

Transgender individuals are at a higher risk of experiencing domestic violence, and it can be difficult to find resources that are specifically tailored to their needs.

Here are some accessible resources for transgender individuals who are experiencing domestic violence:

It’s crucial for transgender individuals who are experiencing domestic violence to know that they are not alone and that there are resources and support available to help them.

Transgender Podcasts​

Listen, Learn, and Empower: Inspiring Transgender Podcasts for All

Transgender podcasts are an eengaging resource covering a variety of relevant topics, including mental health, addiction recovery, and experiences of being transgender.

Here are some popular podcasts elevating transgender voices:

  • Gender Reveal – Hosted by Molly Woodstock, this podcast explores gender identity and dives into transgender experiences.
  • One From the Vaults: Hosted by Morgan M Page, showcases stories from the history of transgender and gender-nonconforming people.
  • Therapy for Black Girls: A weekly chat about all things heath, harmony, and healing.
  • TransMissions: Hosted by a licensed therapist a mental health-focused podcast aimed at transgender individuals and their allies.
  • Mental Note Podcast: Hosted by Carrie Zhang, focus on removing the stigma of mental health from the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American community.
  • NB: A BBC Radio podcast hosted by Caitlin Benedict and Amrou Al-Kadhi, gain a thoughtful and engaging look into nonbinary experiences.
  • Trans Specific Partnership: Explores the intersection of transgender identity, addiction, and mental health recovery.
  • The Gender Knot Podcast: Explores the various ways gender intersects with culture and society, discussing topics such as mental health, addiction, and transgender experiences. 

These podcasts provide a platform for transgender voices and offer valuable resources for anyone interested in learning more about the transgender community, mental health, and addiction recovery. A great starting point for fostering understanding, empathy, and support.

Transgender Social Media Accounts To Follow​

Uplifting Voices: Transgender Influencers & Advocates to Connect With

These accounts offer insights into mental health, addiction recovery, and transgender experiences.

Here are some notable accounts to follow:

  • Laverne Cox: Laverne is an actress and LGBTQ+ advocate who shares her life experiences, transgender rights activism, and mental health awarenes via Instagram.
  • Janet Mock: Janet is a writer, director, and transgender rights activist. Her Twitter account focuses on her work, transgender issues, and mental health resources.
  • Jacob Tobia: Jacob is a genderqueer writer, performer, and LGBTQ+ activist. Their Instagram account features discussions on gender identity, mental health, and self-care.
  • Munroe Bergdorf: Munroe is a model and transgender activist who shares her experiences and thoughts on transgender rights, mental health, and addiction recovery through her Instagram account. 
  • Trans Lifeline: For transgender people, by transgender people. Their Twitter offers support, and mental health advice for the transgender community. 
  • Sam Dylan Finch: Sam is a transgender writer and mental health advocate. Their Twitter account provides a mix of personal experiences, and mental health advice for transgender individuals and allies.
  • Aydian Dowling: Aydian is a transgender bodybuilder, entrepreneur, and advocate. His Instagram account showcases his journey, transgender rights activism, and body positivity.
  • Alok Vaid-Menon  Gender non-conforming writer, poet, and performer. Their social media accounts are filled with powerful messages of self-love, activism, and community building.
  • Raquel Willis: Raquel Willis is a writer, activist, and transgender rights advocate. She highlight the voices of marginalized communities, and to promote social justice.

Some of them use their platforms to raise awareness about the challenges faced by transgender individuals in addiction recovery and mental health.

Here are a few examples:

  • Chase Ross: Chase is a transgender YouTuber who has been open about his struggles with alcoholism and his journey to sobriety. He shares videos about addiction recovery, mental health, and his transition on his YouTube channel.
  • Mara Keisling: Mara is the Founder and Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. She has openly shared her struggles with depression, anxiety, and sobriety on her social media platforms.

By following these accounts, you can access a wealth of information, support, and understanding, while also contributing to the visibility and empowerment of the transgender community.

Transgender Audiobooks and Books​

Transforming Lives: Essential Reads on Transgender Mental Health & Recovery

Discover invaluable insights and guidance with these essential books focused on transgender mental health and addiction recovery.

Give a listen to these resources offering support, understanding, and practical advice:

Resources to Help Families, Allies, Professionals

Thriving Together: Navigate Supporting Health and Happiness

Transgender individuals face an uphill battle, but they do not have to go it alone. These family-focused resources are dedicated to supporting parents and family members of transgender individuals.

 

Resources specifically designed to support and educate family members, allies, and professionals include:

Gender Spectrum: Provides information and resources for parents to support their transgender child’s mental health, including tips for affirming their child’s gender identity and seeking out supportive services.

Transgender Peer Support Groups by Gender Spectrum: A safe space online for transgender individuals and their families.

Transgender Equality Toolkit: The White House released a toolkit with best practices for advancing inclusion, opportunity, and safety for transgender Americans.

How to be an Ally to Transgender Older Adults: The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging and FORGE have collaborated to create this toolkit for supporting older transgender individuals close to you.

Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Training for Professionals: Training and resources for healthcare professionals to better understand and support transgender individuals.

Supporting Transgender Students in Schools: Guide from the National Education Association for educators and administrators. 

PFLAG: Advancing equality and providing support for transgender individuals and their families.

Resource guide and new website The Department of Health and Human Services with youth resources for parents, and providers.

Trans Lifeline: This hotline provides support and resources for transgender individuals and their families, including support for mental health and substance abuse issues.

The Trevor Project: Crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for transgender youth and resources for parents.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): This government organization provides resources and support for families dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues related to transgender loved ones.

Whether you are seeking information on how to support your child’s mental health or reduce their risk of substance abuse, we have got you covered.

This guide is just the beginning. There is a growing number of resources available to support transgender individuals who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues. it’s important to continue to advocate for policies and resources that support this community.

It’s important to note that not everyone has access to these resources, and systemic barriers can make it difficult for some transgender individuals to get the care they need.

Advocacy and policy change are essential for creating a more equitable healthcare system for all individuals. By working together, we can create a more inclusive and supportive society for all individuals. Let’s make sure that no one has to face their battles alone.

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