Depression and Transgender Issues

Depression and Transgender Issues

Persons experiencing gender dysphoria do not necessarily experience depression; however, my experience is that transgender people highly conflicted about making a fulltime gender transition or who have started a fulltime transition are at a greater risk of becoming depressed then the average person.

The complex problems associated with gender transition, coming out, fears and anxiety, and uncertainty about the future all place a tremendous strain on a person’s coping ability. When problems such as social intolerance, discrimination, under-employment and unemployment, and rejection by loved ones occur, coping skills often are overwhelmed.

Social support from a transgender support group, friends and family can help to prevent an emotional collapse; however, transgender persons are sometimes isolated or isolate themselves from potential sources of support. The result can be loneliness, depression, alcohol and drug abuse.

Suicidal thinking can occur when the emotional suffering is intolerable, when the suffering and the problems do not seem to have any resolution, and the person feels hopeless about the future. Suicide risk is often greater when suicide is viewed in a positive light, and when the person does not believe there are any significant reasons to continue living.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Depression is a disorder of mood where one feels sadness or irritability, a loss of interest and pleasure in activities in life, a loss of energy, and disturbed sleep. Symptoms last for at least two weeks more days than not, and cause some degree of disturbance in normal ability to function.

Additional symptoms often include:

  • feeling tired and lethargic.
  • poor attention and concentration.
  • inability to sleep normally or sleeping too much of the time.
  • a loss of appetite or eating more than normal.
  • hopelessness.
  • negative self-esteem.
  • loss of sexual libido.
  • thoughts of death or suicide.

How do I know if I am depressed?

If you have 4 or more of the above symptoms for two weeks or more, and this cluster of symptoms is disturbing your ability to function to some degree, then you may have a depression that needs treatment.

Do not assume that depression is a normal reaction to gender dysphoria or gender transition. It is not.

Depression should be targeted for treatment in addition to any counseling you may be receiving for gender identity issues.

There is no medical test for depression. Depression can usually be easily diagnosed by an experienced psychotherapist, psychologist, or physician.

Complete the following screening measure for Depression.

The CES-D (Center for Epidemiological Studies- Depression). The CES-D providers a good screening for depression. It’s simple to score, and you can share it with your therapist when discussing depression.

Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860

Spanish: 877-565-8860

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