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What is Dysphoria?

MVSAT 2024

When we think of the word euphoria, we imagine the state of extreme happiness; dysphoria is the exact opposite; it's a powerful sense of unease or dissatisfaction. We cannot categorize dysphoria as a mental health condition, but it is indeed associated with several mental illnesses, including anxiety, stress, and depression. Dysphoria is often associated with the term gender dysphoria. In this article, you will find detailed information on what is dysphoria and the causes of dysphoria.

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Gender Dysphoria Definition

When identifying as a particular sex or gender conflicts with the one you were born with, it is termed gender dysphoria. It is possible for a man to be assigned female sex at birth but to feel like a woman, or vice versa. You may think of yourself as neither sex nor something in between. It can be extremely distressing, anxiety-provoking, and even depressing to feel the disconnect between society's perception of you and how you actually feel. The condition was once referred to as "gender identity disorder." However, it is not a mental illness. This gives a clear definition of what is dysphoria.

Gender Dysphoria Symptoms

Feeling uneasy about one's assigned gender can be a sign of different gender identity disorder types. Here are a few signs of taking care for:

  • Having a desire to no longer possess the sex characteristics assigned to them by their birth.

  • Wanting to be viewed as a different gender.

  • Having a preference for male or female sex characteristics.

  • They insist that they have a different gender than their birth-assigned gender.

  • Interests in cross-sex roles.

  • Abandoning toys, games, and other things that are commonly associated with their birth gender.

  • The desire to wear clothes of their opposite gender.

Individuals with gender dysphoria are often heard to express that they would rather be the opposite gender. As a result, they find the gender roles and sex expressions of their birth-assigned sex uncomfortable. 

Causes of Dysphoria

Several different things can cause feelings of dysphoria. The following are some of them:

  • Stress: Losing a loved one, working in a stressful environment, or going through family conflict can be stressors for people experiencing dysphoria.

  • Health Conditions: Dysphoria may also result from physical conditions such as nutritional deficiencies, thyroid disorders, or toxins.

  • Medications: Some medications may also cause dysphoria as a side effect.

Dysphoria Treatment

Gender dysphoria treatment is carried out differently depending on its cause and gender identity disorder types. When you are suffering from a dysphoric mood for more than two weeks, it's important to seek professional help. Medical conditions or medication interactions may cause dysphoria, so your doctor will want to rule those out. When physical health issues have been ruled out, a mental health professional may be able to assess your symptoms and assess whether your dysphoria is part of a mental health condition.

Medical Options: The treatment of gender dysphoria may include medical procedures such as transgender hormones and gender-affirming surgical procedures for some people. A person's outward appearance can also be aligned with their internal gender identity through body modifications.

The two most common methods to achieve this are hormone therapy and surgery. In any event, treatment must be tailored to meet the needs and goals of each individual. Some people may want to transition fully to their new gender identity. Some may only want to minimize female characteristics that do not align with their gender identities, such as facial hair and breasts.

Psychotherapy: Individuals who seek counseling may wish to do so simply in order to reduce their distress, to feel more comfortable with their feelings, and to affirm their identity. Parents, partners, and other family members might benefit from relationship or family counseling to better understand what their loved one is experiencing. It is possible to provide a more affirming environment to the individual with social and peer support.

Coping: People suffering from dysphoria may benefit from lifestyle modifications in addition to professional treatment. Dysphoric feelings can be treated in various ways, including:

  • Feelings of dysphoria can sometimes be caused by routines that are contributing to a rut. You might find that adjusting your daily habits helps you feel better.

  • Eating well can help reduce feelings of dysphoria since nutrition plays a role in mood.

  • According to research, exercise can be beneficial to mental health and can even be used as a treatment for depression.

  • Psychosocial support is essential in helping people cope with dysphoria but can sometimes be hard to find when people are isolated. Spend more time with friends and family.

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FAQs on Dysphoria

1. What are the types of dysphoria?

Ans: The different types of dysphoria do not have a formal classification because dysphoria is not categorized as a mental health condition. Unofficially, other conditions related to dysphoria may also be regarded as dysphoria types.

  • Gender Dysphoria: Most commonly, the term dysphoria is used to refer to gender dysphoria. A person experiences gender dysphoria when their gender identity doesn't match their birth sex. Dysphoria can sometimes disappear when individuals transition into or begin living as the gender that identifies with them. Some people continue to suffer from dysphoria after transitioning as well as during the process of transition.

  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): Similarly, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) may be described as dysphoria. In contrast to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), PMDD is much more severe. Psychological and physical symptoms may include moodiness, irritability, depression, and low self-esteem. This condition can be treated with medication and lifestyle modifications.

  • Tardive Dysphoria: A patient with treatment-resistant chronic depression is said to have tardive dysphoria. Long-term use of antidepressants can cause this type of dysphoria.

2. What are the complications associated with gender dysphoria?

Ans: Many aspects of life can be affected by gender dysphoria. People often have difficulty carrying out daily tasks if they're preoccupied with being of a different gender. Due to societal pressure to dress in a certain way associated with their gender, or fear of harassment or ridicule, people experiencing gender dysphoria might refuse to go to school. Additionally, gender dysphoria can make it difficult to function at school or work, leading to school dropouts or unemployment. 

It is common to experience relationship difficulties. Mental issues such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, eating disorders, substance abuse, and others can arise. Discrimination can also cause minority stress in those with gender dysphoria. Due to fear of judgment, it can be challenging to find health care and mental health services. The risk of suicidal feelings, suicide attempts, and suicide are higher in adolescents and adults with gender dysphoria before gender reassignment. The risk of suicide might continue after gender reassignment.

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