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Mental and physical health needs of lesbian, gay, and bisexual clients in substance abuse treatment

  • Author(s): Flentje, A
  • Livingston, NA
  • Roley, J
  • Roley, J
  • Sorensen, JL
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2015. Objective: Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) orientation predicts greater substance use, treatment utilization, and poorer mental and physical health, but health needs of LGB individuals in substance abuse treatment remain largely unknown. The purpose of this study was to identify differences in mental and physical health needs of LGB individuals in substance abuse treatment. Methods: Substance abuse treatment admissions data from the County of San Francisco were used in this investigation of differences in mental and physical health problems and service utilization between LGB (n = 1,441) and heterosexual individuals (n = 11,770). Results: LGB individuals were more likely to have mental health diagnoses (adjORs ranging from 1.86 to 4.00) and current mental health prescription medications (adjORs from 1.79 to 4.99) than heterosexual counterparts. Gay and bisexual men and bisexual women but not lesbian women, were more likely to be receiving mental health treatment. Gay men and bisexual women were more likely than heterosexual counterparts to report physical health problems. Gay and bisexual men and bisexual women but not lesbian women were more likely to be receiving health care. There were no differences between LGB individuals and heterosexual counterparts in the number of emergency room visits or hospital overnight stays. Discussion: This study found that LGB individuals entering substance abuse treatment have greater mental and physical health needs than heterosexual counterparts. Implications for healthcare integration, research, and practice are discussed.

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