Signs, Causes, and Treatments
What is Gender Dysphoria?
Adults who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria are sometimes referred to as transexual or transgender. Individuals with gender dysphoria can be homosexual, heterosexual, or asexual. It is not uncommon for someone with gender dyshproia to undergo surgical sex reassignment surgery to change their anatomy. This is usually preceded by a number of other changes; including, adoption of gender-related behaviors that fit their gender identity and cross dressing. Those who do not have access to surgical treatment may find it difficult to live with anatomy that does not match their gender identity. As a result, some develop alcohol and substance abuse issues. Furthermore, they may become depressed due to low self-esteem and the negative stigma that is associated with gender dysphoria.
It is important to know that being diagnosed with gender dysphoria is the first step to helping you find your authentic self. If you find that you are uncomfortable with your biological sex, and more closely identify with the opposite sex, you might meet the criteria for gender dysphoria. It is important to understand that professionals are available to help you through the process of self discovering when it comes to your gender identity.
This fact sheet from the Canadian Psycholcial Assosication offers some valuable information about gender dysphoria:
Myths: Fact and Fiction
Myth: Transgender People are Confused
Myth: Being Diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria Means a Person is Gay
Myth: Children are Too Young to Know They are Transgender
Psychological factors also play a role in the development of gender dysphoria. For example, a study of boys with gender dysphoria found that their parents were more encouraging of cross-gender behaviors than parents of boys without gender dysphoria (Nolen-Hoeksema, 2014, p.390). However, it is important to understand that the research points to genetic and hormonal causes rather than psychological factors in the development of gender identity. However, psychological and environmental factors play a role in influencing behavior, thoughts, and feelings around gender identity.
If you believe that you might have gender dysphoria it is important to resist placing blame on anyone or thing. Humanity is full of rich diversity. A professional can help you realize your personal richness and how to live fully with your identity.
Sex Reassignment Surgery
Working with a qualified professional will help you determine which treatment option(s) best fits your situation.
Finding a Qualified Provider
A good place to start your search is the World Professional Association of Transgender Health. There stated mission is a "Our professional, supporting, and student members engage in clinical and academic research to develop evidence-based medicine and strive to promote a high quality of care for transsexual, transgender, and gender-nonconforming individuals internationally" ("WPATH", n.d.). The following link will take you to the website, where you can use the search feature to find a qualified therapist.
Here is a list of questions that you might consider asking a potential therapist to determine if he or she is qualified to help you in your journey.
- How many gender patients do you have?
- How many TS people have you recommended for surgery?
- How long have you been working with gender patients?
- What is your educational background?
- What books on transgender issues most influenced you?
- Have you written any books or articles on the subject?
- What got you interested in working with transgender people?
- What is your basic philosophy about how to treat this condition?
- Do you follow the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care?
- What is your hourly rate?
Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2014). Abnormal Psychology (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
Manieri, C., Godano, A., Lanfranco, F., Di Bisceglie, C., Ghigo, E., Maggi, M., & ... Jannini, E. (2008). Hormone treatment in gender dysphoria. Sexologies, 17(4), 265. doi:10.1016/j.sexol.2008.08.005
Find a provider. (n.d.). World Professional Association of Transgender Health. Retrieved from http://www.wpath.org/uploaded_files/140/custom/find_a_provider.cfm?CFID=2650714&CFTOKEN=5c71db439980d50b-63D3C3DC-C560-4480-50F608CAD5761140