Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Study Links Psychiatric Illnesses and Legalized Oppression of LGBT People

Robert Preidt of MedicineNet.com is reporting that a new study that shows LGBT people
who live in states with institutional discrimination -- such as bans on same-sex marriage -- are at increased risk of psychiatric disorders.

According to the article:

...researchers analyzed data from lesbians, gays and bisexuals who were interviewed in 2001-2002 and 2004-2005 for the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The participants lived in states that instituted constitutional amendments banning gay marriage following the 2004-2005 elections.

The researchers found a significant increase in the prevalence of mood disorders, generalized anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorders among lesbians, gays and bisexuals after the states banned gay marriage. The greatest increase -- more than 200% -- was seen in generalized anxiety disorder.

The study findings are published online and in the March print issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Senior author Deborah Hasin noted that "before this study, little was known about the impact of institutional discrimination toward lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals in our society.  The study highlights the importance of abolishing institutional forms of discrimination, including those leading to disparities in the mental health and well-being of LGB individuals."

I think this is a useful study for a number of reasons, one of which it helps dispel the myths perpetrated by anti-equality groups (including the Catholic Church) that would like folks to believe that LGBT people are innately  prone to pyschiatric disorders, rather than seeing the treatment of LGBT people as the cause for  mental illness.

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