“Not that I hate my body. There are just parts of it that aren’t what they should be.”
We are aware that we are either a woman or a man through birth, and we feel this way. How did we come to recognize it? What happens if someone is able to feel the same way as being stuck in a body that isn’t their own? It sounds a bit complicated, doesn’t it? Let’s break it down. Sexuality is the thing we’re born with, and sexuality is the way we view ourselves. That is one could be born a man but constantly feels like the woman inside is inside and easily associates himself with another woman. If he is forced to live the life of a male one may feel stuck in the wrong body all the time. However, before one can make a decision about one’s sexuality, the individual goes through internal turmoil in order to comprehend the body and come to a conclusion about the gender of one’s body. This complicated phase of confusion is known as Gender Dysphoria. Gender dysphoria refers to the feeling of discontent, discomfort or anxiety that can be experienced by people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned at birth or any sex-related physical traits.
Transgender and gender-diverse individuals may suffer from gender dysphoria at some time during their lifetime. But, some transgender or gender-diverse people are comfortable in their bodies, with or without medical assistance.
Rohan, a 15-year-old teenager, had an affinity for men. When he saw male models, attracted to them. This led him to doubt his being Gay. Also, he had an attraction to girls a number of times. This was a further source of confusion and he began to feel like a bisexual. He was experiencing extreme anxiety and periods of stress since he wasn’t able to determine the gender of his sexuality. He appeared confused and was feeling uncomfortable in his body. His parents were worried and referred him to a psychologist. After a short discussion and a few tests, the conclusion was drawn out that he was male and was experiencing a period that was characterised by Gender Dysphoria. If you can put it in plain words Gender Dysphoria refers to confusion & discomfort of the sexuality of a person.
What is gender dysphoria?
“Transgender” or “gender diverse” refers to a person whose gender assigned to them at the time of birth (i.e. the sex chosen by a doctor when they were born typically based on external sexual organs) is not in line with the gender they identify with (i.e. the person has mental perception of gender). Transgender people are likely to be affected by “gender dysphoria,” which is a form of psychological distress that is caused by an imbalance between the sex one was given at birth and their gender identity. Although gender dysphoria is typically experienced in childhood, some may not notice it until puberty or even later.
The diagnosis of gender dysphoria is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), an official publication of the American Psychiatric Association1. The diagnosis was designed to assist people suffering from gender dysphoria to receive essential health care and efficient treatment. The diagnosis focuses on the issue of discomfort instead of identity.
Is gender dysphoria a mental illness?
The majority of experts do not consider gender dysphoria as an illness of mental health even though it is mentioned in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders Fifth Edition). The reason for this is that the feeling of not being connected to the gender that you were born with isn’t a mental disorder in any way. It is the feeling of discomfort that the difference in identity could cause that could highlight certain mental health concerns in gender dysphoria.
What are signs and symptoms of gender dysphoria?
People who have gender dysphoria suffer from an extreme discord with their gender identity that was assigned at birth. They usually want to alter their sexual characteristics or prefer being of a person of the opposite gender. Some might even want that they are treated differently as someone with a gender opposite. Although there aren’t any clear-cut signs of gender dysphoria it is crucial to talk to your physician to determine the root of your issues.
Certain people who experience gender dysphoria might want to alter their names and pronouns in order to express their true gender identity. Others might choose to show their gender in different ways like altering their appearance or selecting different clothes and accessories. Many people also want to make use of surgical or medical procedures to alter their sexuality. People who do this often face difficulties in school, at work as well as with their friends.
Diagnosis of gender dysphoria
The diagnosis of gender dysphoria is one of the most important steps in the treatment of those who are struggling with their gender identity. It is essential to determine the right diagnosis since gender dysphoria doesn’t have a singular root. Numerous factors need to be taken into account.
The primary requirement for diagnosing a patient is severe emotional distress or impairment in functioning. This can be determined with the HEADSS test which includes a psychosocial evaluation. The assessment assists the doctor to identify the riskiest factors and the support network that the patient can access. When the criteria are met, the determination of gender dysphoria may be established.
Gender dysphoria treatment
There are a variety of treatment options offered for people suffering from gender dysphoria which is a fear irrational of gender. It is a psychological disorder that can trigger stress and anxiety within a person. There are surgical, medical, and psychological solutions to this disorder. In certain cases, medical treatments may get covered under insurance policies.
Counselling and psychotherapy for gender dysphoria
A highly effective method to treat gender dysphoria is counselling. Counselling can help the person to discover his or their gender identity as well as gain social and peer support. It can also assist the person in identifying and communicating the emotions caused by the condition. Other options include hormone therapy or gender surgical reassignment.
The treatment of gender dysphoria usually relies on a physician’s evaluation and knowledge. A specialist in gender dysphoria will have a great deal of knowledge of patients suffering from this condition.
Surgical approach to gender dysphoria – Vaginoplasty and Metoidioplasty
Treatment for gender dysphoria is aimed at relieving the patient’s stress and helping them adjust to their new self. Surgery and other techniques for gender change haven’t proven to be successful in treating adults. Many people suffering from gender dysphoria are born-sex men who find it difficult to accept their masculine appearance. But female-to-male transgender people are becoming more prominent in psychiatric and medical practice.
Hormones play a crucial part in this. For instance, a man who has more progesterone and oestrogen will behave as a woman and be able to identify with women. Therefore, based on the kind of treatment that one selects for surgical or hormone-based therapy one is given the drug. Of course, one must use female hormones for the duration of her life, once an individual is surgically removed and transformed into a woman (vaginoplasty). Hormone-based therapy is also advised to balance male and female hormones. If a girl or woman wishes to transform into a man because of gender dysphoria, they have surgery (Metoidioplasty).
Post-surgery counselling and psychotherapy
In the end, procedures like counselling and psychotherapy will always help. It will help in accepting oneself, one’s body and the environment around accepting the negative aspects without being affected. Counsellors assist the individual to overcome the difficulties caused by Gender Dysphoria. They aid the individual to get over the thoughts that hinder their journey to adapt and adjust to a new life post-gender surgery.
Online Counselling and Therapy for gender dysphoria
At TickTalkTo, we have a fantastic team of psychologists and counsellors who are waiting to assist you with total confidentiality. We can attest to their assistance in situations of need. Find a psychologist adept at dealing with issues related to gender. They will help you navigate these difficult moments. At TickTalk To we have a group of highly trained psychologists that are on hand to help you. The most significant benefit is that you are able to access these services at the convenience of your own home. Download the app today to get the most effective guidance for depression, anxiety, stress management, and various other mental issues.