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Identity Disorders

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BIOL 1010
Amanda Helleman

Chapter 14: Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders  Sexual and gender identity disorder: full range of human sexual thoughts, feelings and actions that are generally regarded as abnormal and dysfunctional  Sexual identity  our sense of ourselves as male or female  Sexual Orientation  our preference for the sex of a partner Characteristics of Gender Identity Disorder (GID)  Transsexualism  people with gender identity disorders are sometimes referred to as this; they feel deep within themselves (usually from early childhood) that they are of the opposite sex  Transvestism  cross-dress for sexual pleasure but do not identify themselves as of opposite sex (GIDNOS)  They may want to pass as a member of the opposite sex or even have surgery  GID is different from GIDNOS (gender identity disorder not otherwise) since that involves symptoms that meet GID but there are some symptoms that do not  In childhood – associated with cross-gender behaviours  dressing in opposite-sex clothes, preferring opposite- sex playmates, and engaging in play that would be more typical of the opposite sex  They are usually recognized by their parents at age 2-4 & GID is 6.6x more frequent in boys than girls:  Social factors associated with disorder and many factors determine decision to seek clinical assessment  Belief that the behaviour was no longer a phase that the child would grow out of  Threshold violation (wanting to dress certain way outside of home also)  Belief that the child was experiencing intense distress about being a boy or girl  Concerns about potential or actual rejection by peers  Most children with GID do not grow up to be disordered in adulthood, even without professional intervention; many demonstrate homosexual orientation  GID people often experience anxiety and depression  GID in childhood is linked with separation anxiety disorder  Prevalence rate  1/30,000 (men)  1/100,000-150,000 (women) Causes of Gender Identity Disorder  More information is needed on the cause of GID in order to resolve this debate  Evidence indicates that gender identity is influenced by hormones  Other research shows that human and other primate offspring of mothers who have taken sex hormones during pregnancy frequently behave like members of the opposite sex and have anatomical abnormalities  or they necessarily do not have abnormal gender identity but they sometimes did exhibit some cross-sex behaviours  Brain structures differences are also being investigated  Environment may play a huge factor as well (male patients report having distant relationships with their fathers; females often report history of physical/sexual abuse) Therapies for Gender Identity Disorder  There are 2 main types  one attempts to alter the body to suit the person’s psychology  the other is designed to alter the psychology to match the person’s body Body Alterations  Prior to body alterations the person is required to go through 6-12 months of psychotherapy  The therapy focuses on anxiety & depression as well as options available to the person on altering their body  Some people may chose just to have cosmetic surgery (facial hair, Adam’s apple removal etc), and take hormone pills  Sex reassignment surgery: an operation in which the existing genitalia are altered to make them more like those of the opposite sex female-to-male surgery were more successful than male-to-female  It is much more frequently exercised by men than by women  Preoperative factors that resulted in postsurgery success was based on: o Reasonable emotional stability o Successful adaptation in th
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