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Sexual minorities more prone to severe substance use disorders: Study

ANI | Updated: Jan 15, 2019 14:53 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan 15 (ANI): Substance use disorders are more prevalent--and more severe--among sexual minorities, a recent study suggests.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals are more likely than heterosexuals to use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
The research published in the Journal of LGBT Health provides the context behind the issue by examining the severity of alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse reported by lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals, and people who aren't sure how they identify.
"Our findings provide strong evidence that a higher proportion of sexual minority individuals, particularly bisexual individuals and those who are not sure of their sexual identities, have severe alcohol and tobacco use disorders, and those who are 'not sure' also have a higher proportion of severe drug use disorders," said Boyd, lead author of the study.
In the past, researchers often focused on any use or misuse of alcohol and drugs, and failed to document the severity of substance use disorders experienced by sexual minorities, the study pointed out.
According to Boyd, it's important to assess the severity of a substance use disorder to better understand the degree of impairment experienced and the treatment needs.
The study found that people who identified as bisexual or were unsure about their sexual identity were at greatest risk for substance use disorder. Individuals who were unsure of their sexual identity were five times as likely to have a severe alcohol abuse disorder and roughly four times as likely to report a severe tobacco or drug problem when compared to heterosexuals.
Bisexual individuals were roughly three times as likely to have a severe alcohol use disorder, and two-and-a-half times more likely to have a severe tobacco use disorder.
People who identified as lesbian or gay were over twice as likely to have severe alcohol or tobacco use disorder when compared to heterosexuals.
One surprising finding in terms of sexual behaviour is that people who reported having no sex during the past year were significantly less likely to have any substance use disorder, Boyd said. (ANI)