Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender. People with gender dysphoria may often experience significant distress and/or problems functioning associated with this conflict between the way they feel and think of themselves (referred to as experienced or expressed gender) and their physical or assigned gender. Gender conflict affects people in different ways. It can change the way a person wants to express their gender and can influence behavior, dress, and self-image.
There is no known direct cause of gender dysphoria, but genes, hormonal influences in the womb, and environmental factors are all suspected to be involved.
To be diagnosed with general Gender dysphoria in children, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the following criteria must be met:
To be diagnosed with general Gender dysphoria in adolescents and adults, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the following criteria must be met:
There is no perfect way to approach a loved one that is assumed or known to have gender dysphoria. In children and adolescents, it is important to take the lead from the individual, allow them to be who they feel they are, and get help if they need it. A study of transgender teens found that more than 50 percent of transgender males and almost 30 percent of transgender females reported attempting suicide. It is important to provide support to a loved one that is experiencing gender dysphoria and continue to be informed on the best ways to support them.
The focus of treatment for gender dysphoria focuses on alleviating a person’s distress that surrounds their gender identity. It can be common for this distress to lead to anxiety and/or depression which may also need to be treated. A child’s treatment typically involves a multi-disciplinary team of health care professionals, which may include a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, other mental health professionals, a pediatric endocrinologist (specialists in hormone conditions in children), and an advocate.
In individual therapy, a person experiencing gender dysphoria can explore these feelings and distress and learn the tools to cope with it. The goal of therapy is not to change how an individual feels about their gender. Through therapy, individuals can also work with their families or significant others, to help them determine the best way to shape their gender expression for the healthiest outcome. Some people choose to take steps to bring their physical appearance in line with their gender and they may change the way they dress or go by a different name. These changes in an individual’s life are also topics that can be discussed in therapy.
Gender dysphoria can impact not only the individual but also their loved ones. Our family therapy sessions facilitate open communication and understanding, helping families navigate challenges together.
Medication may be used to treat other related disorders that can be accompanied by gender dysphoria like anxiety and depression which can include antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. These medications may have side effects and taking them can lead to tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and dependence, so you must consult with a physician before starting or stopping these medications.
If you're ready to embrace your true identity, navigate the journey of self-discovery, and live a life of authenticity and empowerment, Clarity Clinic is here for you. Our dedicated team is committed to supporting you on your journey toward self-discovery, understanding, and empowerment.
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