According to a new study, which analyzed 25 earlier studies regarding sexual orientation and mental health, homosexuals and bisexuals are about 50% more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to suffer from depression and abuse drugs.
The researchers also found that the risk of suicide jumped over 200% for those who had engaged in a homosexual lifestyle.
While the study could not answer why homosexuality is linked to depression, lead researcher Michael King speculated that is most likely due to the lifelong stresses caused by the discrimination and rejection that homosexuals and bisexuals suffer from.
King did note that therapists should be cautious about automatically assuming that a patient's depression was directly related to their sexual orientation. "This occurs quite frequently," King said, "much to the irritation of many (lesbian, gay and bisexual) people who seek therapy." Instead, King notes, therapists should focus on the depression itself and simply be aware that homosexual and bisexual patients are at greater risk for mental health disorders.
The study was published in the August 18 issue of BMC Psychiatry.