Gender dysphoria, formerly known as “gender identity disorder”, is the feeling of discomfort that one feels like a man or a woman with their biological sex. For example, someone with the physical characteristics of a male would feel that his true identity is that of a female. A person with gender dysphoria will have a desire to change their body and be accepted by others as they want to be. This feeling of constant uneasiness with your own body can cause depression and stress.
It brings upon the person a feeling of dissatisfaction which might interfere with their social life. However, this is not a mental illness. Instead, the problems that come with such as stress, anxiety and depression are what a person needs to deal with. Gender dysphoria focuses more on the discomfort as the central problem, rather than gender identity. This is done to ensure that the person with gender dysphoria gets effective treatment.
Symptoms of Gender Dysphoria
You have to have the following symptoms for at least 6 months to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria:
- Feeling that they are a girl even though they have the physical traits of a boy or vice-versa.
- Being friends with only the gender they prefer or identify with.
- Refusing toys, clothes and other objects made specifically for boys or girls.
- Rejecting to pee the way a girl or a boy would.
- Constantly asking to have the genitals of their true sex.
- Strong urge to get rid of their birth sex traits.
- Believing that they will grow up to be a man when they have the physical traits of a girl, or otherwise.
- Extreme discomfort or distress when puberty changes their body.
- Feeling disgusted with their genitals while showering, changing clothes, etc.
What are the Challenges?
- Apart from their discomfort, they might face discrimination and victimization can lead to the onset of various mental health disorders. The constant disagreement with the way their body looks can put them at a higher risk of suicide.
- In adults and teenagers, fixation on the other gender can hamper their daily activities and cause problems in their relationships. Children with gender dysphoria may feel the pressure from their surroundings to dress more like the gender they’re born with. This may even bring emotional and behavioural changes in them, leading to anxiety, stress and depression.
- They may not be able to find comfort from someone and end up feeling isolated. They need care and love from the people around them. They need to feel that they are not weird, they are just born different and nothing is wrong with that.
What is the Treatment?
People with gender dysphoria don’t need treatment to change the way they feel, instead, they need to be treated for problems that come with it. The condition can lead to mental health problems that need to be addressed by a professional. Talking to a psychologist can help with the problems associated with gender dysphoria.
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