Over the past four decades, Latino-American populations have grown and are predicted to continue to grow. Substance abuse in general mirrors that of the general population in the United States for Latino-American communities.
However, treatment is often less effective for this population, likely due to a variety of factors. Finding a treatment center that helps mitigate these factors is essential in maintaining sobriety.
Risk Factors for Latino-American Addiction
While certain risk factors impact Latino-Americans and other populations, research has found that the following are specific risk factors for Latino-Americans.
The prevalence of substance use and abuse is significantly different in men and women, particularly in Latino-American populations. In general, men are much more likely to use and abuse substances, including alcohol. This is due to the cultural norms for men and women that discourage women from substance use and dependence.
To further understand this, researchers looked at Latin American populations that had different amounts of exposure to American culture. They found that women with more exposure to American cultural values had a higher incidence of substance use and abuse.
These studies provide evidence and a better understanding of who is more susceptible to substance use and abuse. Women who are more connected to American culture and men, in general, will have a higher risk of addiction.
Loss of Connection to Culture
For many, moving to the United States or the general trend of globalization has created a separation from culture and history. It is hypothesized that assimilation to American culture creates a higher rate of addiction.
One way this has been measured is with language. Latinos who speak English have more risk of addiction and substance use than those who mainly speak Spanish. More research is needed to better understand what aspects create this phenomenon. However, Latino-American populations that are more intertwined with American culture have a higher risk of addiction.
Multiple sociodemographic variables increase Latino-Americans’ risk of addiction, including the following:
- Younger: age 18-25
- Being unmarried
While many of these variables impact other populations, it is important to note their influence on addiction risk for Latino-Americans.
Addiction Treatment for Latino-Americans
Treatment is important for all clients with addiction, no matter their heritage or background. At Twilight Recovery Center, we believe addiction treatment empowers each individual to overcome their addiction. At our facility, treatment may include some of the following:
- Evidence-based treatments such as psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Holistic therapies such as yoga or meditation
- Nutrition and wellness plans for improved physical and mental health
- 12-Step programs
- Non-12-Step programs
- Experiential therapy such as equine or scuba therapy
Latino-Americans tend to have poorer treatment outcomes when compared to the general population. There are multiple reasons why this is the case, including the following.
While many Latino-Americans speak English, those that do not have limited options for treatment. This is particularly true for Latina-American women.
Finding a treatment center with bilingual staff is significant. In treatment, being able to discuss feelings, situations, and behaviors in a way that an individual relates to can help. If they are unable to express themselves adequately, healing from addiction can be challenging.
At Twilight Recovery Center, we have bilingual staff to meet the needs of all of our clients. We believe it is essential to provide tools that help with this treatment barrier for Latino-American clients.
While drug and alcohol use is widely stigmatized, Latina-American women have more concern about society’s reaction to their addiction. Substance abuse is highly frowned upon for women in Latin American culture.
Therefore, admitting addiction can be particularly scary. There is concern about how others will react, which can make it challenging for women to admit their issues with addiction.
Benefits of Treatment
Individuals and families are negatively impacted by addiction. One individual’s mental health disorder or addiction can cause relationships to struggle, creating chaos in homes, families, and entire communities.
Treatment is the first step to healing these wounds. As clients go through treatment at Twilight Recovery Center, they not only heal themselves but help to heal wounds their addiction has caused for others.
Many Latino-Americans experience a deep community culture that can be disrupted by addiction. However, the sense of community can be regained with treatment. As one’s mental health and choices change, one is more able to be a part of their heritage and community.
Treatment can allow individuals to participate in events, family or not, that bring joy to them and others. Improving overall well-being, mental health, physical health, and relationships is possible with the right treatment center.