Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria, the DSM-V’s revision to Gender Identity Disorder, may be experienced by transgender individuals and others whose gender is incongruent with the gender they were assigned at birth. Some people may develop mental health struggles as a result of distress experienced with gender dysphoria, but it is important to recognize that being transgender is not a mental health condition.

Many transgender, nonbinary, agender, gender non-conforming, and intersex individuals experience dysphoria. Psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression are also common in these populations.

Treatment or care options such as counseling, hormone treatments, gender confirmation surgery, and/or a legal name and gender change can often only be accessed by those who have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. Again, it is important to note that gender dysphoria is not a mental illness. The term “dysphoria” is used since it more accurately represents some of the challenges faced in relation to having a gender identity that is incongruent to the gender assigned at birth.

Though gender incongruence was once thought of as a mental illness, it is now widely recognized as a medical condition with strong biological factors that influence the development of the incongruence. Despite this, it is still unknown why some transgender individuals struggle with feelings of dysphoria and others do not. Gender dysphoria and/or being transgender does not indicate or cause mental health problems. However, people who have dysphoria may develop struggles such as depression or anxiety and much of this is a result of stigma, transphobia, discrimination, and judgments from others.

There is no specific treatment for gender dysphoria, but many people who struggle with this find help and benefit from working with a therapist with special training in working with gender dysphoria. The therapists here at Discovery Counseling & Consulting who work with this population have advanced training in gender dysphoria and LGBTQ issues. Our therapists understand the complexities that these populations often face and will work with individuals to resolve feelings of dysphoria, depression anxiety, etc. Our therapists have good working relationships with local medical professionals that are “trans-friendly” and are excellent at assisting with care coordination.

To discuss therapy options for gender dysphoria, please call our office (804-591-0002) or request an appointment online.

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