Comprehending the magnitude and burden of depression among LGBTs

Comprehending the magnitude and burden of depression among LGBTs

Although a large number of people have, in recent times, extended support to the people of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, their daily travails are far from reaching an end. The stigma attached to their sexual orientation and lack of opportunity to integrate with the mainstream society often inflict numerous challenges, including mental disorders like anxiety, depression, etc. The continuous exposure to shame, rejection, alienation and discrimination further impacts their condition adversely.

As stated by experts, depression does not discriminate anyone, irrespective of one’s gender, community, race, religion or social status. This crippling disorder affects millions of lives worldwide. In fact, the United States alone has as large as 16.1 million adults aged 18 or older living with at least one major depressive episodes in 2014. This represents 6.7 percent of the total American population, including the LGBTs.

Though earlier considered as a “sociopathic personality disturbance” or unnatural, there has been a dramatic shift in the public awareness pertaining to the basic rights of the LGBT community. However, the stigma and bias against people with different sexual orientation are still quite rampant. The historical criminalization of homosexuality and ostracization of the LGBTs from the mainstream society has increased the rate of mental disorders among them.

Compared to heterosexual people, it was found that the prevalence of mental health issues is quite high among the adults of the same gender preference, which includes lesbians, gays and people with bisexual orientation. According to a report, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, gay or bisexual men reported struggling with a higher rate of depression, panic attacks and psychological distress than heterosexual men.

On the other hand, lesbian or bisexual women exhibited predominantly displayed increased generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) compared to heterosexual women. In fact, multiple studies have indicated the disproportionate rate of affliction, stigma and behaviors associated with these disorders.

Prevalence of mental disorders and discrimination among LGBT community

Although little research has been conducted on the prevalence of severe depression among this section of people, societal factors are often summarized as the key factors. Several studies on social inequality and mental health outcomes have highlighted that certain social factors, such as race, sex and socioeconomic status, are some of the major contributing factors in inflicting mental disorders by affecting one’s self-esteem or social support. Moreover, discrimination and stigmatization are other potential reasons that can accelerate the symptoms of anxiety, depression or other psychiatric disorders. Therefore, there is a close relationship between homosexuality and psychological distress or mental disorders.

A study tried determining the probable causes of the prevailing mental disorders among lesbian, gays and bisexual men, as well as analyzed the social roots responsible for causing anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders. The researchers scrutinized certain instances of discrimination among LGBTs, such as not hired for a job, denied a bank loan and the society treating them with less respect. It was found that the LGBT people experience the higher rates of discrimination in every category. The team assessed that stress due to prejudice and social stigma experience by LGBT people plays an important role in triggering mental disorders.

Access proper treatment for depression

While homosexuality is associated with the higher rates of psychological distress and mental disorders due to the prevailing societal stigma, mental disorders, too, stand equally vulnerable due to the innumerable stigma and taboo attached to these conditions. The LGBT people often have a hard time finding their identity among the masses, which, in turn, deviate them toward depression. And in order to overcome the distressing and overwhelming symptoms, they often turn to substance abuse as a self-medication technique that pushes them into a never-ending vicious cycle.

However, it is important to understand the risk factors and carry out substantive programs that work toward implementing effective prevention and intervention measures. If you know someone who is suffering from depression or any other mental disorder, contact the Texas Depression Treatment Help to know about some of the finest depression treatment centers in Texas. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-827-0282 or chat online with our experts to get information about the best depression treatment in Texas.