Though attitudes toward the transgender community are slowly shifting, negative biases still taint the medical field. Trans people face barriers that can prevent them from receiving treatment for substance use disorder (SUD). Not all treatment facilities offer the necessary care for these people.
Here are some simple tips on how to find a qualified detox center for trans individuals.
Names and Pronouns: Meeting The Transgender Community’s Unique Needs
Anyone entering drug detox puts themselves in a vulnerable position. Withdrawal takes a lot of energy. Patients need to feel safe and secure so they can focus on healing. Trans people may not feel safe in a detox facility that misgenders or deadnames them. This strips them of a basic sign of respect—acknowledging their identity.
The staff of detox centers should be cognizant of the unique needs of transgender patients. Facilitators of group therapy in detox should require that all patients share their preferred names and pronouns. This normalization will prevent trans patients from feeling singled out. It will also ensure that people will not make assumptions about anyone else.
Trans people looking to enter an addiction treatment program can ask facilities outright about their policies on patient names and pronouns. They should provide a direct answer. Cross off any places that cannot provide a trans-affirming answer. There are LGBTQIA+ friendly treatment programs available, and trans people deserve to enter a treatment facility that respects LGBTQIA+ people.
Dysphoria and Clothing: Respecting the Needs of the Trans Community in Detox
Dysphoria is a mentally anguishing experience. Every trans person may require different things to help with their dysphoria. Dysphoria coping mechanisms can include cutting or growing their hair, wearing a binder, changing their wardrobe, or vocal training. All of these can help trans patients feel more at home in their bodies.
Patients that enter detox can usually bring and wear their own clothing. They should wear clothes that make them most comfortable—provided it does not promote substance use.
Trans patients should not be asked to change if they are presenting in a way that does not match the stereotypical wardrobe of their assigned sex. Facilities should not dictate whether they can wear a binder or bra, a dress or pants. This is highly inappropriate and gendered expectations can hurt the mental state of trans people. Gender expression and gender identity do not always match. Staff should respect a person’s name and pronouns no matter what clothes they are wearing.
Trans individuals entering drug detox should pack comfortable clothes that make them feel good about themselves. They can focus on the expression that brings them joy. It may be wise to lean in the direction of looser clothes because detoxing and withdrawal may cause body aches. Prioritize anything that will offer comfort and boost mental health.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Detox facilities should continue to provide hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to any patients actively prescribed these medications. Stopping HRT cold turkey can cause estrogen or testosterone withdrawal. Most patients will feel mild to intense reactions to the drug or alcohol withdrawal symptoms; additional withdrawal symptoms for prescribed medication can add unnecessary discomfort and even medical complications.
Additionally, their mental health can suffer due to the re-onset of dysphoria.
Trans individuals who receive medically provided hormone replacement therapy must look for a detox center that will allow the continuation of this treatment. Once they find a center, they need to plan ahead. Individuals in this position should obtain enough of their prescribed hormones to last through their stay in detox.
For those that receive injections to administer HRT, ask potential treatment facilities for their policy on needles. Many places consider needles of any kind as drug paraphernalia and may not allow them. For the time being, these people may need to switch their method of receiving hormones. They can discuss this with the doctor that prescribes their HRT, and they can help make the necessary modifications to complete detox and HRT simultaneously.
During detox, transgender patients may have an especially difficult time coping with physical symptoms of withdrawal. They are already uncomfortable living in their own body. Pain, muscle aches, and chills all bring attention to a person’s physical existence. Qualified gender therapy practitioners can assist trans patients to process these emotions and teach coping mechanisms to affirm the patients’ genders. They will also have a more comprehensive understanding of the way different environments impact trans people. Gender therapists can promote more inclusive practices throughout the detox center.
When searching for a treatment facility, trans people should ask the facilitators about modalities of therapy offered. Specifically, they should inquire as to whether any of the therapists are trained in gender therapy. Mental health professionals may study sexual orientation and not gender or vice versa. Just as one can look up staff licensures, one can look up the therapists’ professional profiles. These usually show specialties and areas of expertise. Ideally, trans patients should only enter a detox center that offers gender therapy.
Find A Transgender-Friendly Detox Center with DetoxNearMe.com!
As a trans person with a SUD, you may feel scared to enter a detox center. You may have experienced violence and ostracization in the past and do not want to go through it again.
Additionally, you need different resources than the general population. You may need assurance that staff members will respect things like your name, pronouns, and clothing choices. You may need access to hormone replacement medications and gender therapy.
There are programs out there that will treat your addiction while affirming your identity because you deserve to achieve sobriety just as much as anyone else. We created DetoxNearMe.com to ensure everyone is able to find the right detox center for them. With thousands of listings at your fingertips, finding your detox center has never been easier.
Start searching today with DetoxNearMe.com!