Transgender-Affirming Care In The Treatment And Addictions Space

Finding gender-affirming addiction treatment as a transgender or nonbinary person can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Many medical facilities provide gender-affirming care; it’s a matter of finding the right place for you.

What is transgender-affirming care?

Transgender-affirming care is healthcare tailored to the needs of transgender and nonbinary individuals. It gives them the same respect, compassion, and quality care that every patient deserves.

Care for transgender and nonbinary people can include medical, surgical, mental health, and non-medical services.

Like other healthcare areas, gender-affirming care in addiction treatment uses evidence-based practices and an individualized, patient-centered approach to provide care that aligns with the patient’s needs and values.

Why is transgender-affirming care necessary?

Transgender-affirming care is essential for the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of transgender individuals. It helps ensure they receive the necessary care to maintain their health and feel welcomed and accepted in healthcare settings.

An inclusive and knowledgeable provider will support transgender and nonbinary people when exploring their identities without feeling judged.

Because transgender individuals are at a higher risk for drug and alcohol abuse, gender-affirming care at addiction treatment centers should be prioritized.

In addition, studies show that transgender individuals have a high prevalence of depression, anxiety, and somatization. Gender-affirming substance use treatment programs and mental health facilities are essential.

Recovery Unplugged offers a dual-diagnosis treatment program. Struggling with addiction and other mental health challenges simultaneously can be difficult. We help make treatment more accessible and support you on your path to healing.

Accessing transgender-affirming treatment

Although it is slowly improving, finding quality treatment for transgender individuals can still be stressful and challenging.

In addition, gender-affirming care is a frequent topic amongst legislatures, and the LGBTQ+ community and their allies fight against restrictions or bans on care for those who need it.

Identifying a reliable provider

Online resources. There are many resources available online for transgender individuals seeking affirming care. These include directories of doctors and therapists, support groups, and other recovery organizations that provide transgender-specific healthcare and treatment services.

In addition, many blogs, articles, and books provide information on accessing transgender-affirming care.

GLAAD has an extensive list of online resources.

Finding a doctor. Finding a provider knowledgeable about the specific needs of transgender people can be difficult. Unfortunately, some may have to visit a few doctors to find someone they can trust with their care or online treatment.

Asking questions is vital to ensure you’re working medical professional is experienced in providing affirming treatment services.

Prepare for treatment

Before beginning a treatment program, gather as much information as possible about what to expect and how to prepare. This includes researching the facility’s experience with transgender individuals and their policies and processes for gathering relevant medical records and documents.

Communicate clearly with the care team, letting them know what you expect from treatment. During your initial visit, be honest and open about your questions or concerns.

If you know any transgender or nonbinary people who have gone to treatment before, ask them about what to expect. We can learn from hearing others’ stories and learning from their experiences. This will give you insight into what to expect when you start treatment.

The treatment process

The general treatment process for trans individuals is similar to cisgender individuals. Your care will start with an intake process that includes paperwork and a medical evaluation.

If you require detox, your care will likely begin there. If you’re a good candidate for medication-assisted treatment, you’ll be prescribed medications to assist with the detox and initial treatment process.

Your path of recovery will vary depending on if you’re doing inpatient, outpatient, or virtual treatment. Throughout the process, you’ll have an experienced professional to help guide you.

A treatment program that provides gender-affirming care should be focused on specific issues transgender, and nonbinary people face and provide a safe space for them to recover and heal.


When your treatment program is complete, check in with the doctor if you have more questions or need follow-up care. It’s also important to remember that mental health and addiction treatment care is ongoing, and your care should be revisited regularly.

At Recovery Unplugged, we know that recovery is a lifelong process for many. Your care doesn’t end when your time with us is over. We do our best to refer you to outside services if necessary or suggest you try another program at Recovery Unplugged, like mental health treatment.

In addition, we have an alumni program for after our patients leave the treatment facility or complete their online treatment program. Our alumni host monthly events such as paintball, laser tag, paddle boarding, and more. In addition, our alumni sponsor weekly meetings for support and accountability and regularly connect through social media.

Be your own advocate

Although challenging, many transgender or nonbinary people must advocate for themselves. This is especially true in medical care settings.

Advocating may look like this:

  • Saying your pronouns
  • Ask questions about living spaces and expectations
  • Stating your name and ask your provider to use it
  • Asking about gender-neutral bathrooms
  • Speaking up about harassment or discrimination
  • Being honest with your provider

Some trans people prefer having a close friend or family member come for their initial treatment appointments. Knowing your rights is vital whether you go with someone or alone.

It’s essential to be aware of your treatment needs and know how to express your expectations for treatment. If you ever feel uncomfortable, stopping or switching treatment programs at any time is OK.

Challenges to finding transgender-affirming care


Transgender-affirming care can be expensive due to a lack of insurance coverage or other cost barriers. It’s important to research available options for financial assistance or look into sliding scale fees.

Some insurance providers offer coverage for transgender-specific healthcare services. It is important to carefully review insurance plans and ask questions about coverage before signing up.

At Recovery Unplugged, we accept most major insurance carriers. We believe the cost of care should be the least of your worries. Head to our website for free, no-obligation coverage verification.


Accessing transgender-affirming care can be especially difficult for individuals living in rural areas or places with limited resources.

Research online for resources and local or national organizations supporting transgender individuals seeking healthcare services.

Consider online healthcare options. Many facilities have virtual options for their programming and consultations.

Recovery Unplugged offers virtual mental health treatment and outpatient addiction treatment programs. We understand how challenging it can be to gain access when your resources are limited.  Our virtual programming options remove that barrier.


Unfortunately, stigma is still common in healthcare settings. This is why finding a provider that can refer you to a specific facility in your area is important.

Many healthcare professionals use the term gender dysphoria, which according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), classifies them as having a mental health disorder.

In addition, many transgender people are required to complete various psychiatric evaluations before receiving treatment or therapies. These are examples of structural stigma.

Misgendering or refusing to use someone’s correct pronoun or name are examples of interpersonal stigma.

For allies

Transgender individuals need to have people they can trust and depend on.

To start, educate yourself about what it means to be transgender and listen to people tell their stories. Have conversations with transgender and nonbinary people in your life.

Be mindful of your language. Remember, all people are unique. Use the pronouns and names that they use for themselves.

It’s OK to be curious, but be careful of what questions you ask. They may not be comfortable talking to you about details of their life. Remember, the amount they feel comfortable sharing is their business. Be respectful of that and their privacy if they choose to share with you.

Support the entire community of transgender and nonbinary people. Stand up for them when someone makes derogatory or harmful comments. Attend PRIDE events and celebrations in your area. Learn about policies in your city and state, and advocate for change where it’s needed.

Gender-Affirming Care at Recovery Unplugged

We provide a sensitive care environment for your drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Our programs address your complex clinical needs while connecting you with supportive and intuitive care providers.

In addition to our standard treatment program options, music is a large part of your care at Recovery Unplugged. We ask about your favorite music and incorporate that into your programming where we can.

Our facilities have weekly musical performances and specific spaces to create music, and we incorporate music directly into our therapy sessions. You don’t have to be a musician at Recovery Unplugged; you just have to love music. Music is our medicine, and we know it can help you too.

We know how difficult it can be to find reliable sources of information and resources for accessing affirming care as a transgender or nonbinary individual.

The staff at Recovery Unplugged is ready to help you and provide you with support and guidance throughout this process. Our admissions staff is available 24/7. Call us today to get started: 1 (855) 975-1757.

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