There is an undeniable connection between gender expression, substance use disorders, and mental health. When a person attempts to express their authentic self and is met with anger, discrimination, and prejudice, a confusing and extremely detrimental message is being sent — “Who you are is not okay.” In a study titled, Gender Minority Social Stress in Adolescence: Disparities in Adolescent Bullying and Substance Use by Gender Identity, it was found that, “Gender minority youth had increased odds of past-12-month alcohol use, marijuana use, and nonmarijuana illicit drug use. Gender minority youth disproportionately experienced bullying and harassment in the past 12 months, and this victimization was associated with increased odds of all substance use indicators. Bullying mediated the elevated odds of substance use for gender minority youth compared to cisgender adolescents.”
A study published in Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy states, “Three themes emerged from the data that characterized individuals’ experiences in treatment settings: enacted stigma in the forms of social rejection and violence, transphobia and felt stigma, and “trans friendly” and inclusive treatment. Participants who reported felt and enacted stigma, including violence, left treatment prematurely after isolation and conflicts. In contrast, participants who felt included and respected in treatment settings reported positive treatment experiences.”
Inclusivity and freedom of expression are fundamental components of our treatment program. At CuraWest we meet each client exactly where they are, ensuring they feel safe and supported as they navigate early sobriety and self-discovery. By accepting clients for who they are and encouraging them to freely express themselves, we help foster mental and emotional healing while facilitating a deep level of self-acceptance. To learn more about our Gender Expression groups or to learn more about our inclusive treatment program in Denver, Colorado, today.