Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health in Hispanic Communities

Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health in Hispanic Communities

Rates of the prevalence of substance use disorder in Hispanic communities typically mirror that of the general U.S. population. However, some indicators show that substance use and mental health disorders, including co-occurring disorders requiring dual diagnosis treatment, may be slightly higher due to sociodemographic factors.

These factors may also prevent or deter those who suffer from substance use and mental health disorders from receiving the much-needed treatment to get them on the road to recovery.

Those in the Hispanic, Latinx (Latino/Latina), and Chicano communities can face difficulties when seeking the necessary treatment for mental health challenges. Using the Treatment Connection portal is an easy way to find trusted treatment providers and programs.

Sociodemographic Factors

Researchers examined the relationship between substance use and culture in the Hispanic community. They have determined several factors contributing to drug and alcohol addiction, including:

  • Cultural Values: Like many other cultures, some values within Latinx culture promotes abstinence and avoidance as the only means to address drugs or alcohol addiction.
  • Language: Researchers have found the stress of having to learn a non-familiar language can contribute to substance use rates. The process of learning, adapting, and assimilating can be significant stressors and triggers, especially when resources to provide aid for this are minimal.
  • Place of Birth: In some studies, it has been determined that birthplace may play a role in drug and alcohol use. Those who immigrate to the United States are less likely to turn to substances. However, for each generation born into the country, the chances of substance use disorder and mental illness increase. For example, a first-generation immigrant of Hispanic origin is slightly more at risk of using and abusing drugs than their parents.
  • Sociodemographics: Age, marital status, and employment status also seem to impact one’s likelihood to develop a substance use disorder. Married Latinx report fewer alcohol and drug-related challenges while those who are younger and often single report higher usage. For those who may be unemployed at any age, the risk and prevalence of use are much higher.

Treatment Disparities in the Hispanic Community

Assimilating to a new country and its culture can bring about many mental health challenges. As immigrants are faced with discrimination, stereotyping, prejudice, and even governmental laws, they may turn to substance use to help cope with the anxiety, stress, depression, and pressure that they may feel.

Unfortunately, studies also reveal that those within the Hispanic community are also faced with disparities in available options when they find themselves in need of mental health and substance use treatment. For example, several surveys indicate that Latinx people experience the following when seeking treatment:

  • Less access to treatment facilities
  • Longer wait time to access treatment options
  • Less satisfaction with services received
  • Reduced access to insurance/payment options

Aside from the systematic disparities Hispanics and Latinx experience in receiving necessary treatment, several cultural factors may hinder their desire and ability to enter into a treatment program. Shame and embarrassment that they may be experiencing a mental health challenge may prevent some individuals from entering a treatment program. Similarly, the fear of disrupting family relationships or the ability to work also prevents many people from receiving the treatment they need.

Seeking Substance Use or Mental Health Treatment in the Hispanic Community

Regardless of one’s birthplace, language, cultural values, substance use, and mental health disorders, serious diseases can lead to devastating outcomes if left untreated. At Treatment Connection, we help everyone who needs substance use or mental health treatment gain access to treatment programs to help them get on the road to recovery. If you or a loved one needs treatment, we can help you find the appropriate program to suit your needs, bearing in mind your specific cultural and family requirements.

Visit Treatment Connection to take a 13-question assessment and find the best type and intensity of addiction treatment for you or a loved one.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other material (collectively, “Information”) contained on this blog post are for informational purposes only. None of the Information is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog post.