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Keywords

gender dysphoria; gender identity disorder; transgender; schizophrenia; psychological sexual dysfunctions; sexual behavior; psychiatric symptoms; psychotic disorders; transgender persons/ psychology; transsexualism; health services for transgender persons

Disciplines

Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Diagnosis | Interprofessional Education | Medical Humanities | Other Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health

Abstract

Gender dysphoria occurs when a discrepancy between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity causes distress or impairment in function, which can lead ultimately to seeking treatment in the forms of psychotherapy, hormonal therapy, and/or gender-affirming surgery. Clinical care guidelines also recommend pharmacological treatment of psychiatric comorbidities if indicated. A review of the current literature demonstrates comorbidity between gender dysphoria and psychosis, including cases of gender dysphoria with schizophrenia and the occurrence of gender dysphoria symptoms during manic or psychotic episodes. The existing literature has yet to specifically examine gender dysphoria amongst individuals with schizoaffective disorder. The authors present the first documented case of a clear pattern of gender identity variations coinciding solely with psychotic episodes during schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. The authors postulate that gender dysphoria can co-occur with other psychiatric disorders or may correspond only during acute psychosis. The distinction is critical to make to ensure accurate diagnoses regarding whether gender dysphoria is a symptom only during an acute psychotic illness, or if there is a longer-standing concern as to the patient’s gender identity and assignment. This distinction then also informs how to make the most appropriate treatment recommendations. The authors address the significance of understanding each patient's individual circumstances and deem this paramount to advancing transgender and gender non-binary health equity at every level of medical attention, focusing specifically on proper physician training and direct patient care.

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