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Frequently Asked Questions? FAQs

Is Transgenderism a choice?

I am basing my answer to this question on my experience with over 600 gender variant patients who have come to see me over the last 31 years. All too often, on presentation, many of these people are scared, deeply depressed and at the limits of their ability to face life each day. It is not uncommon for these individuals to be having their marriages and careers falling apart....and being suicidal. All of this coming from lawyers, scientists, dentists, physicians, school teachers, professors, artists, musicians, and other highly educated and otherwise productive people. Being deprived of one's true gender expression can be fatal. If there is any choice involved here, it is between facing the reality of being gender variant and all that is involved in regaining a life, or denying it and suffer an interminably unresolved existence. Fortunately, help is available and the regimen practiced by most gender specialists has returned virtually all of these people back to productive and happy lives.

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Is Gender Dysphoria a form of mental illness?

Although gender dysphoria is listed in the DSM 5, most mental health practitioners do not consider crossdressing, being genderqueer, transsexualism or Trans in general to be a mental illness per se. However, due to the discrimination and prejudice these individuals face, many do suffer from mental health issues secondary to their GD. Some of the most common are clinically significant levels of depression, anxiety, depersonalization and substance abuse/dependence.

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Is Gender Dysphoria a form of mental illness?

Although gender dysphoria is listed in the DSM 5, most mental health practitioners do not consider crossdressing, being genderqueer, transsexualism or Trans in general to be a mental illness per se. However, due to the discrimination and prejudice these individuals face, many do suffer from mental health issues secondary to their GD. Some of the most common are clinically significant levels of depression, anxiety, depersonalization and substance abuse/dependence.

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Is gender dysphoria genetic?

There is no known cause for gender dysphoria. However, we are sure it is not genetic. That is, a parent cannot pass it on to their children through their genes. It may, however, be congenital--a form of birth defect. For a more complete description as to the possible causes of GD please check out HBIGDA Talk Bologna, Italy 2005

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I saw a portion of TV show last night about people with a disorder. I think they called it "body image dysmorphic disorder." It looked as if it could be similar in some ways to GD, and it made me wonder if there is any psychiatric treatment available for GD.

I saw a few minutes of that show as well. What they were talking about is Body Dysmorphic Disorder. As you intimated, these individuals obsess over the shape of specific parts of their body. It has nothing to do with gender vs body shape. People with BDD would never feel relief by crossdressing or taking hormones. Another thing, above and beyond particulars, these individuals usually obsess over a wide range of issues to a greater or lesser extent.

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DISCLAIMER: 

Nothing on this site should be viewed as providing therapeutic advice. No formation of a client/therapist
relationship with Dr. Vitale is intended or to be implied or inferred. The information provided in this site is for educational
purposes only. I attempt to keep the information current but make no representation or warranties in that regard. You should
not rely upon this information as a substitute for consul with a qualified mental health professional.