People with gender dysphoria is the same feeling associated with transgender, but the feelings are just amplified to the point where it could be mentally and emotionally unhealthy. They feel strongly that their gender doesn’t match their physical appearance. And with this strong feeling, they may divert to different disturbing behavioral aspects, such as feeling grotesque about the different attributes of the sex in which they were born with. They can even get to the point where they won’t shower, change their clothes, or even attempt suicide. Gender dysphoria could be a serious condition, and it’s normally diagnosed if these strong type of feelings lasts beyond six months.
In showing more of the serious implications about gender dysphoria, people suffering from this may feel severe distress, depression, and anxiety because they have the physical traits of the sex that is the mismatched of their true gender. They would most likely experience restlessness also. Their intense feelings can interrupt their functionality in normal life at work, school, or in social activities. However, there are some cases where people experiencing gender dysphoria would not result to the more self destructive behavioral attributes. These severely intense feelings would be a phase while they are teens. And in many of these cases, they would cope because they have set in their mind that they would become their inner gender, instead of their birth gender.
Gender dysphoria was once called gender identity disorder. However, the mismatching of the internal feeling of gender and the body doesn’t constitute a mental illness. It is considered a mental problem when depression, anxiety, and stress go along with it. As a matter of fact, gender nonconforming (GNC) is the broader term used for gender dysphoria. And with the ones who feel like they are neither male or female, they call themselves “genderqueer”. Also, gender dysphoria is not associated with homosexuality. It doesn’t associate with sexual orientation, but it associate with their internal feeling of gender.
What to do When not Feeling Right with Your Birth Gender
A person must have shown symptoms for a minimum of six months to be diagnosed as having gender dysphoria. The following symptoms may occur with children showing traits of gender dysphoria:
• Even with physical traits of a boy, they say they are really a girl or with physical traits of a girl, they say they are a boy
• Strongly prefer to have friends of the sex in which they identify
• Rejecting the games, toys, and clothing typical of their birth sex
• Refusing to urinate, sitting, or standing in a way that associates with their birth sex
• Stating their desire to get rid of their genitals in order to have the genitals of the gender in which they associate with
• Believing that they will grow up to be a man, even though they were born a girl, or that they would grow up to be a woman even though they were born a boy
• Having severe distress over their body changing during puberty
The following are symptoms that may occur in adults and teens:
They are certain that their body is not in alignment with their true gender
Having disgust of their genitals to the point where they would avoid having sex, changing clothes, or showering to avoid touching or seeing their genitals
Having a strong desire to get rid of their genitals and other sexual traits
Dress and present themselves as the sex they believe they truly are
Undiagnosed/Untreated Gender Dysphoria
It’s important to get diagnosed and treated for gender dysphoria because people having gender dysphoria possess higher rates of mental health conditions. Some studies show that 71% of people having gender dysphoria will have a mental health diagnosis in their lifetime. This includes eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and suicide attempts.
The goal in treatment is not to influence how they feel about the person’s birth sex. But it’s to deal with the distress that may be there. Having said this, it’s imperative to talk to a psychologist or psychiatrist as part of the treatment plan for the negative feelings one may have with gender dysphoria. This is called talk therapy, and it’s a way to address any mental health issues. There may be additional steps needed in the treatment plan depending on the person’s condition, but the psychologist or psychiatrist will discuss which medicines may be needed to treat mental health issues. Other than that, possible treatments could be the following:
- Puberty blockers– the youngsters in early puberty may ask to be prescribed some hormones, estrogen, or testosterone to suppress the physical changes. However, the young person must consult a pediatrician, and sometimes a psychiatrist must give the cons and pros on taking hormones especially at a young age.
- Hormones– adults or teens may take the testosterone or estrogen hormones for the development of sex traits they want.
- Surgery– some may choose to undergo complete sex reassignment surgery. It was once called the sex change operation. In other cases, some may choose to undergo some procedures to bring their appearance more in accordance to their feelings.
The bottom line is people would choose the right treatment along with their therapists for them. And after the transitioning is done, the person would not encounter dysphoria anymore, but therapy may still be needed. With religious groups, potential employers, co-workers, family, and friends having a hard time understanding this transition, this can be a challenge for the person who undergo the transition along with other dealing with other challenges.