The presentation of individuals with gender identity disorder sometimes differs depending upon his or her age and/or stage of physical development. In children, symptoms may include feeling rejected by their peers, being repulsed by their own genitals, believing that they may grow up to become the opposite sex, or saying that they would rather be the opposite sex.
In adults, symptoms may include desiring to live as the opposite sex, wanting to remove their own genitals, or wanting a sex change operation. In either children or adults, symptoms may include cross-dressing, withdrawal from social situations, depression and anxiety, and feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Although there are no laboratory tests used to diagnose gender identity disorder, health professionals generally utilize the following tools to aid in a definitive diagnosis: A complete review of an individual’s social history, a comprehensive psychiatric assessment, and a thorough physical examination.
For children, individual and family psychotherapy seems to be the most effective way to treat this disorder. Individual, group, and/or couples therapy are suggested for adults . Other, more radical options include surgery  and hormonal therapy . However, there is no guarantee that gender identity issues won’t linger even after these treatments.
Current case studies show that psychotherapy may not generate a comprehensive or permanent turnaround in those suffering from gender identity disorder. These individuals are not a homogenous group. They may include a spectrum of individuals ranging from transsexuals to cross-dressers .
Although some individuals are able to overcome gender identity disorder, the majority often continues to exhibit characteristics of the disorder for their entire lives, regardless of what form of treatment is sought . Patients exhibiting other psychiatric comorbidity and mental instability worsens the prognosis .
Some physical complications that may occur include: hormone-related obesity, hormone-related thromboembolic disease, hormone-related dyslipidemia, and bone loss. Other difficulties that individuals may face include loneliness, anxiety or depression, poor self-esteem, general emotional upheaval and suicidal ideation.
Although there is no known definitive cause for gender identity disorder, some factors that might influence the development may include such things as hormonal changes in the womb , genetic influences, and environmental considerations (such as parenting style or childhood experiences) . Studies in developmental pediatrics have also identified the role of social and psychological play a role in gender identity disorder .
Gender identity disorder is a fairly rare condition, affecting approximately only 0.005-0.014% of adult males and only about 0.002-0.003% of adult females, according to the DSM-4. The percentage of children and adolescents who suffer from this condition is much more difficult to gauge, due to the fact that they often experiment with various gender-identified roles.
Of interest, however, is the fact that among children, it is 2-5 times more likely for boys to identify with the female gender than it is for girls to associate themselves with the male gender. As adolescence approaches, this gap diminishes, and it is equally likely for either sex to associate itself with the opposite gender identity.
Although previously considered a primarily psychological disorder, recent research studies of the brains of males suffering from gender identity disorder have shown that the sexual differentiation of one area of the brain, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, displays a more female configuration.
Since this locale of the brain has been supposed to be significant for gender identification, this research may indicate a biological basis for gender identity disorder. In general, however, there does not appear to be any significant difference between the physiological or neurological makeup of individuals with the disorder and those without it.
It may be helpful to ensure that children have adequate access to gender-appropriate books and playthings during infancy and early childhood. Praising children for gender-appropriate behavior may encourage them as they work through their gender identity development. Providing appropriate information and support as a child grows older can foster a sense of security and comfortability with his or her gender identity.
Making critical statements about a child’s appearance or choices of activities should be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, if signs of gender confusion appear, the earlier psychotherapy is begun, the better the chance that such confusion end up being just a normal phase of developmental discovery.
Gender identity disorder (GID), is a psychological condition in which there is an incongruity between the physical gender identity that a person is born with and the gender identity that he or she feels the most at ease relating to himself or herself as. Such incongruity must continue to exist for at least 6 months .
Gender identity disorder (GID) occurs when someone does not feel comfortable living as his or her anatomical gender. For example, a boy may wish to be a girl, or vice versa.
Scientists aren’t sure what causes gender identity disorder, but there is some evidence that there could be some genetic cause or it could be caused by someone’s life experiences or environment.
Gender identity disorder is often first noticed as an individual approaches puberty. Signs to look for include: saying over and over again that they wish they were a member of the opposite sex, insisting on activities that are normally stereotypically associated with the opposite sex, preferring to play with friends of the opposite sex, cross-dressing, shame, guilt, or embarrassment about their sex organs, isolating themselves from others, and feelings of depression and/or anxiety.
Only a qualified mental health professional can make a proper diagnosis of gender identity disorder. There aren’t any laboratory tests that are necessary to make the diagnosis. It is vital, however, to make sure that there aren’t any physical problems that could be contributing to the psychological problems. Generally, a mental health professional will take a complete social history and conduct a thorough interview of the patient and family members to make a final diagnosis.
The most common way to treat gender identity disorder is with talk therapy. The sooner the therapy is begun, the better the chance it will be successful. Some adults also choose hormone therapy or sex change operations, but these can have drastic consequences and may still not lead to a feeling of comfortability within one’s gender role.