Gender Dysphoria: What Is It? Myth Or Fact?

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

Children with gender dysphoria are often known as “transgender.” It’s a term used to describe a person who does not identify with the gender he or she was born with. Although transgender is neither an illness nor a psychiatric disorder, children with this condition can suffer from significant stress and depression. This is because they are prone to bullying, social exclusion, and stigma in different forms. A diagnosis can only be made if the child with gender dysphoria is under extreme distress or functional impairment at school, at home, or in social settings.

Symptoms of gender dysphoria

  • Incompatibility between the gender a child identifies with and the gender he or she was biologically assigned to
  • Feelings of being “trapped” inside someone else’s body
  • Expressing a strong preference for items and characteristics assigned to the opposite gender
  • A desire to become the opposite gender
  • Feelings of dislike and discomfort towards their own sexual organs
  • Strongly wishes to develop the sex characteristics of the gender the child identifies with.

Gender dysphoria: risk factors

There has not been an official agreement on what causes gender dysphoria. Most of the time, the condition can be attributed to sociological issues. Even in this modern days, the majority of the society still considers transgender people as rule breakers. Therefore, children and young adults are likely to be under the pressure of fitting in or being stigmatized, excluded, and bullied while still having to struggle with making peace with their own gender identity.

Gender dysphoria: diagnosis

Intense distress or discomfort from an incompatibility between the assigned gender and the assigned gender roles for at least six months may be a sign of gender dysphoria. To be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a person must be under too much pressure to function properly. In other words, the condition has to interfere with the person’s life, threatening their well-being. When diagnosing gender dysphoria, a doctor will need to eliminate intersex (the condition in which the sexual organ on the outside does not match with the sexual anatomy inside the body) and other conditions that may affect one’s sexual development.

Treatment for gender dysphoria

The distress caused by gender dysphoria may be relieved with psychotherapy. During this therapy, a child will learn to make sense of his or her gender identity and manage the stress.

Gender dysphoria: risk for other disorders

Children or adolescents with gender dysphoria often endure great agony caused by the conflict from their gender identity. They are also likely to be bullied and excluded from their social groups, making them prone to anxiety, depression, and dependence on addictive substances.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: June 24, 2017 | Last Modified: December 9, 2019

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