How Can LGBTQIA+ Individuals Cope With Social Anxiety Related to Their Identity?

Many LGBTQIA+ individuals struggle with their identity. One reason for this struggle is that they often can’t share their truths with people due to fears of judgment and safety concerns. It is common for individuals who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community to experience intense feelings of social anxiety when meeting new people because they aren’t sure how they will be perceived. However, hiding one’s identity can lead to internal struggles, thus perpetuating the cycle of anxiety.

Seeking professional help from 12 South Recovery can help LGBTQIA+ individuals overcome their anxiety. As a person feels less anxious, social interactions with others can become more comfortable and easygoing. Pursuing treatment can also help those with anxiety gradually become more comfortable in their skin and help them succeed with long-term recovery.

What Does LGBTQIA+ Stand For?

According to Share America, the acronym LGBTQIA (sometimes called LGBTQ or LGBTQI) may be familiar to many people, but not everyone understands what the plus symbol means. This type of language has been evolving over the past decade or so. The plus sign symbol simply stands for the celebration of full diversity. This diversity specifically involves an individual’s sexual orientation, sex characteristics, gender identity, and expressions as a whole. Therefore, LGBTQIA+ includes every identification. These identifiers may include:

  • Lesbian
  • Gay
  • Bisexual
  • Transgender
  • Queer or intersex
  • Nonbinary
  • Asexual
  • Agender
  • Gender neutral
  • And more

LGBTQIA+ and Social Stigma

Many young adults who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community lack self-esteem. As stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many LGBTQIA+ individuals face challenges with social stigma due to their sexual orientation or identity as a whole. Social stigma can manifest in a variety of ways. The result of stigma may include:

  • Discrimination
  • Family rejection
  • Harassment
  • Social rejection
  • Violence

Due to the level of hurtful stigma faced today, many young LGBTQIA+ adults are at an increased risk of experiencing several alarming health risks. Therefore, young adults today feel they need to keep their true identities a secret. However, suppressing true feelings can be highly detrimental to an individual’s mental health.

An individual who is a part of the LGBTQIA+ community should be very proud of their identity and what makes them different. It is nice to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community as it is a great support system for many like-minded individuals. Still, it is important for young adults to feel comfortable enough to form connections with those outside of this community.

The Link Between LGBTQIA+ Individuals and Social Anxiety

According to the journal Behavior Therapy, due to the negative social stigma from others, many young LGBTQIA+ individuals commonly develop social anxiety and other related mental health conditions. The journal describes a recent study that investigated anxiety disorders in sexual minority young adults and heterosexuals. It was found that young LGBTQIA+ individuals experience more symptoms related to social phobia, anxiety, panic disorders, and depression. This can be due to fears of stigma or after-effects of harassment, discrimination, family rejection, and more.

Strategies to Help LGBTQIA+ Individuals Feel More Confidence in Opening Up

Many are hesitant to discuss their sexual orientation, but coming out can have many positive effects if it’s done safely. Recognizing the role of peer pressure in disclosing one’s identity is extremely important. It is a personal choice for an individual to open up about their sexual orientation. Learning to respond to peer pressure assertively and intentionally is important.

If someone does choose to discuss the nature of their sexuality and gender identity with others, it may help to take a few precautions before taking this step. There are some things to keep in mind to stay safe. These may include:

  • Trusting one’s instincts
  • Acknowledging the risks
  • Not holding too high of expectations for acceptance
  • Maintaining a good support system
  • Learning to recognize and deal with peer pressure
  • Understanding that privacy is paramount

LGBTQIA+ Individuals Overcoming Anxiety With 12 South Recovery

Many young LGBTQIA+ individuals self-medicate their condition by using drugs or alcohol to numb their emotions. Fortunately, many treatments can help these individuals find better ways to cope. Understandably, some young LGBTQIA+ individuals may feel cautious when considering mental health treatment. It is only natural to feel hesitant in moving forward due to past experiences with social stigma. Many fear that facilities may not provide the right support for their condition. Not everyone knows exactly what to expect at the start of treatment. Therefore, it can feel overwhelming to consider treatment.

This is perfectly normal, and 12 South Recovery welcomes everyone in all of their diversity with open arms. Their mental health specialists are trained to help individuals overcome the effects of their mental health issues. Various anxiety treatment and addiction recovery options are offered at 12 South Recovery. 12 South Recovery also offers dual diagnosis treatment options for individuals who are facing challenges with substance abuse and a co-occurring mental health condition. 

Choosing to move forward with therapy can help individuals become more comfortable in their identity. Therapy can also help a person recover from social stigma and learn how to open up to others appropriately. Everyone deserves to live a comfortable lifestyle regardless of how they identify.

Many young LGBTQIA+ individuals face challenges with social stigma. Fortunately, choosing professional treatment can significantly improve one’s quality of life. At the core of 12 South Recovery is our client-centered focus on each individual’s unique issues and needs. As a leader in Orange County mental health treatment, we offer state-of-the-art treatments and a holistic approach that meets clients where they are. Our specialists understand that fear and uncertainty about the future can generate overwhelming anxiety that disrupts daily life. Constantly facing the prospect of social stigma can make anxiety worse. At 12 South, we know how to help individuals cope, heal, and eventually thrive. Call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374 to learn more about how we can help.

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