The American Endocrine Society has revealed that transgender youth that experiences gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder often suffer grave mental health problems. However, their situation often improves with counselling and treatment to recognize their dysphoria. The finding was presented at the 97th Endocrine Society meeting in San Diego recently and reported in Science Daily.
“Youth with gender incongruence or dysphoria need a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to care,” said principal investigator Maja Marinkovic, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist and Medical Director of the Gender Management Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, an affiliate of the University of California, San Diego.
“They are in great need of experienced endocrinologists, therapists, psychiatrists, primary care providers and surgeons.”
In gender dysphoria, the child’s biological gender and the gender with which the child identifies does not match. Transgenderism is the persistent desire to change one’s assigned gender, she said, as reported in Science Daily.
Forty-two patients participated in the study at the Rady Children’s Hospital clinic. Twenty-six (62 percent) reported that they had depression, anxiety or both and/or cut themselves, with seven patients having a self-cutting history, Marinkovic said. Eleven patients had additional psychiatric or behavioral problems, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome/autism spectrum disorder and bipolar disorder.
“Many of our patients suffer greatly from bullying, discrimination, isolation, and lack of support or lack of insurance coverage for the necessary treatment,” Marinkovic said.
Often, she said, parents and school staff may not consider transgenderism, and a delay occurs in having the child assessed by a therapist who is experienced in gender identity problems until the transgender youth is deeply depressed or suicidal.
“There needs to be not only greater awareness and acceptance of this minority group but also improved accessibility to care for youth with gender dysphoria, to decrease the problems often seen in patients who are transgender,” she said, as reported in Science Daily.