Gender dysphoria, formerly known as gender identity disorder, describes intense and persistent feelings of identifying with another gender. Individuals with gender dysphoria often take measures to live in harmony with their internal gender identity. This may include dressing and using mannerisms associated with the gender they identify with. In order to be officially diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a person must experience significant distress.
Gender vs Sex
The terms gender and sex are often used interchangeably, though they mean different things. Gender refers to the feelings, attitudes and behaviors associated with biological sex, whereas sex refers to biological features such as genitals and sex hormone levels.
People with gender dysphoria may choose to live in a variety of different ways. For instance, a person who was born with female sex characteristics, may quietly identify as a man, but still choose to present themselves as a woman in public. Another woman who identifies as male may choose to dress in clothes that are typically worn by men, while still another woman may decide to seek hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery.
Treatment for Gender Dysphoria
While hormone therapy and reassignment surgery are options, these treatments come along with their own risks and side effects. Many with gender dysphoria choose not to seek medical treatments but rather, decide to work with a mental health professional who specializes in treating those with gender dysphoria.
Psychotherapy can be very helpful in facilitating self-discovery and navigating powerful emotions. Working with the right therapist can help you feel comfortable in your own skin so you can lead a fulfilling life.
If you’d like to get some more information about treatment options, please reach out.