Diversity In Rehab: Current Finds

When people think of the types of patients in rehabs, some may imagine mostly white patients who may be financially well off. To encourage diversity in rehab, there have been new treatments and amenities available to help more people fight addiction. Rehab facilities also offer a variety of treatment methods ranging from religious lifestyles and alternative lifestyles to encourage people from all backgrounds to access quality care. In recent years, treatments have included progressive fitness, nutritional options, and included adventurous themes in order to cater to more people.

Diversity In Rehab: LGBTQ+ Members

Members of the LGBTQ+ community suffer high rates of addiction due to unique social factors. Minority stress can cause trauma that needs compassion and empathy.  The inclusion of 12-Step groups highlighting LGBTQ+ members have effectively attracted members of such backgrounds. As a result, diversity in facilities have increased as a variety of patients have sought treatment. Lastly, LGBTQ+ friendly treatment centers are available with gender-focused treatment for care.

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Diversity In Rehab: Gender-Based Trends

Generally, there are more women in rehab facilities seeking help for drugs and alcohol. Reasons for the lower number of men seeking treatment for drug and alcohol abuse can stem from a lack of treatment options catering to men’s needs. Furthermore, some men’s inability to be vulnerable or ask for help when needed can be a challenge to seeking help. Women sought treatment for abusing sleeping medications, anxiety medications, cocaine, alcohol, and opioids. In addition, they had more medical, psychological, social and behavioral challenges compared to men who entered rehab. Men on the other hand, sought treatment for heroin abuse.

A study featured in American Psychologist studied how men seek help for drug-related addictions. Factors for the differences in genders seeking treatment included men’s decisions to heal through other methods versus talking about feelings in therapy, women’s comfort in seeking support in groups, and toxic masculine-based stereotypes that can create challenges in seeking help, such as needing to be strong all the time. Lastly, embarrassment or shame can be a factor contributing to why men do not seek needed help. Another study concluded the following for participants in treatment based off the focus group:

  • 63% of males in rehab in this group were white.
  • 78% of women in rehab in this group were white.
  • 37% of men in rehab in this group were of another ethnicity.
  • 22% of women in rehab in this group were of another ethnicity.
  • The mean age for men in rehab from this group was 38.
  • The mean age for women in rehab from this group was 35.
  • Most men and women were from the West compared to the East.
  • 50% of both women and men in rehab in this group had therapy before getting treatment again.

Diversity In Rehab: African Americans, Latinx, And Drug Treatment

The national opioid crisis has traditionally been linked to white populations for different reasons. A major factor is the over prescribing of drugs to these groups, typically stemming from prescription medications to synthetic opioids. Because the patient develops a tolerance to the drug, he or she starts to crave more, seeking stronger opioids. Unfortunately, heroin and fentanyl tend to be the most common drugs sought out for $10 a bag. African American and Latinx groups are deeply affected by the opioid crisis, with both groups matching the national average of 4%, with unique factors holding them back from seeking treatment.

Latinx women have statistically abstained from pressure to abuse drugs, however alcohol is prevalent in some communities. According to national data, African Americans and Latinx were 3% to 8% less likely to complete treatment for addiction. Negative social attitudes surrounding drugs could discourage some from seeking treatment, causing shame. Lastly, some may not trust treatment medications, opting to rely on religion, family, or their direct community to find healing.

Ironically, African Americans have lower amounts of opioids-related addictions because doctors are not prescribing them with the same dosage white patients get. To illustrate, African Americans have been on the receiving end of discrimination in medical facilities. Some medical professionals will under prescribe black patients with lower dosages of medication, due to the idea that black patients are stronger. Another false belief is they will sell the drugs; therefore, doctors give them less amounts.

Proposals To Diversify Treatment Facilities

SAMHSA cites black patients are 29% less likely to get prescribed opioids for pain. Not only do they receive fewer opioid medications, they may also receive less amounts of medications for other grave health conditions. This stems from stereotypes of African Americans being stronger and more pain resistant. Secondly, the stereotypes of African American patients being drug dealers causes some medical professionals to restrict access to medications, assuming they will redistribute the medications. This awareness can discourage potential African Americans to get treated for addictions and receive quality care as feelings of mistrust arise.

As of late, facilities have consciously employed staff of different ethnic groups so patients of other races can feel comfort and connection while recovering. Lack of African American representation in treatment facilities via no black staff or a lack of culturally sensitive staff can be a discouraging factor in recovery. Including bilingual staff to accommodate Latinx patients has been an ongoing act to strive for diversity.

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Expectant Mothers In Rehab

Mothers who have fallen victim to alcohol and drug abuse may or may not seek the care needed to recover. This sadly endangers the life of their unborn child, and can create an environment for an ongoing addiction. Women expecting children can become addicted to prescription opioids if they are prescribed them to help with labor pains. As a result of ongoing use, mothers are risking withdrawals and can cause damage to their unborn child via Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, risk of miscarriages, and stillbirth.

Take Action Today

Treatment facilities have made strides to include all types of people. In addition, there are a variety of treatments available, ranging from traditional medication to cutting-edge treatments. If you or a loved one needs help, contact a treatment provider today, risk-free, to discuss treatment options.

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Krystina Murray

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  • Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.

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