By Dr. Akshata Bhat, Psychiatry
Gender Identity Disorder refers to a condition where a person fails to associate himself or herself with his or her natural sex at birth. The difference between sex and gender is particularly potent in this context.
While ‘sex’ is what you are born with; for instance male or female, ‘gender’ is the kind of behavior and the list of attributes attached to a specific sex as determined and upheld by the society. A person suffering from Gender Identity Disorder or Gender Dysphoria fails to fit into the gender role he or she is expected to play. They tend to relate to a gender which, in popular belief, is not theirs naturally. This contradiction is not quite the medical condition; the anxiety, despair, and mental restlessness resulting in the concerned person outlines the scope of this disorder.
Certain symptoms which will help you identify the problem at an early age-
- A child would call itself a girl when biologically he is a boy and vice versa. Being addressed by their inherent gender role irritates and annoys them so much so that they withdraw into a cocoon.
- They defy urinating in the way usual to and expected of their gender. For example, a boy who feels like a female might wish to sit to urinate whereas a girl feeling like a boy, might want to stand and urinate.
- They detach themselves from symbols such as clothing or toys specifically meant for a girl or a boy. They feel more comfortable in resorting to games usually played by children of the opposite sex or so to say of the gender they relate to.
- Puberty can make people suffering from Gender Identity Disorder go through a host of tumultuous emotions. They feel dejected and depressed as they had all along wished to defy their inherent biological existence but realize they will always fail to do so.
The objective of the treatment is not to alter how or in what way a person chooses his or her gender; it is rather to make them feel more comfortable about themselves.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Make an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of this disorder and want help, especially with anxiety and depression.