Alternative Treatments For Gender Identity Disorder

The OCD/Depression GID Connection

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Artist-Philosopher Chriss L. Pagani, statement and biography
Artist's Statement & Bio


        From the earliest research at Johns Hopkins and other facilities, evidence suggested that many transsexuals presenting themselves for treatment showed symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and/or clinical depression. Many of them had cyclic depressive disorders (Bipolar Mood Disorder [formerly known as Manic Depression], Depressive Disorder, etc.). Since the therapeutic community at that time was unaware of the actual biological causes of these conditions, they were thought to be the results of gender dysphoria. 

        Dr. Benjamin's stated purpose for his work was to develop standards by which people could receive hormones and plastic surgery,  since he was aware that no psychotherapy options had been successful. But as a result, these other possibilities are not discussed in his writings. He noted only that psychotherapy had been particularly ineffective for those suffering from transsexualism.

        It must be pointed out that in Dr. Benjamin's day (the 60's), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder was thought to be a behavioral problem, caused by things such as overly harsh toilet training. Dr. Benjamin didn't know - nor could he have known - what we know today, which is that OCD & cyclic depression are biological conditions.. caused by a defect in brain chemistry. DO NOT SKIP OVER THIS POINT: OCD and cyclic depressive disorders are NOT behavioral issues, they are biological ones. Knowing this, I believe, should cause the psychiatric community to reevaluate treatment options for Gender Identity Disorder.

        Once it was discovered that OCD and depression were brain conditions and not behavioral issues, medications were developed which more or less successfully treated many sufferers. Now here is the big secret nobody wants me to talk about: Empirically, these medications have also been shown to help SOME patients with Gender Identity Disorder and compulsive crossdressing.

      This information comes from a gender therapist, Dr. David Huntley, of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, who experimented with alternative approaches for those who could not (or were unwilling to) transition. Such treatment is not the standard practice of gender therapists today, but perhaps it should be considered as an option for difficult cases.

        Since treatment of the underlying organic issues of gender dysphoria is considered "nonstandard" treatment, you as the patient must assume personal responsibility for obtaining such care if you believe it is the best course of action for you. It is highly unlikely that gender therapists or even anti-transsexual religious therapists will offer real alternatives for you, so you must figure out something to do about it on your own.

        There are other issues to consider as well: The empirical evidence gathered by the late Dr. Huntley suggests that SOME who now identify themselves as transgendered or transsexual are victims of internalized rigid gender stereotypes combined with  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. According to Huntley, widespread myths regarding gender may cause a person to believe that their birth sex is somehow evil, while the other sex is good. But these gender role issues are not part of one's genetic sex; they are generalizations created by society. I have yet to meet a genetic female or genetic male who embodied all the rigid myths of a gender stereotype - and this applies to non-transgendered persons as well as those suffering from gender dysphoria. By the way, I hope you can see that what we are talking about is not Gender Identity Disorder but something short of that. GID is a biological condition and it seems likely that just talking about it won't help - any more than psychotherapy can cure cancer.




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