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Okay, so what's with the alternative treatment
stuff? It's an option for those with gender dysphoria that may fall a bit short
of full-blown Gender Identity Disorder. I'm not saying any of this will WORK,
only that it has worked for SOME in ghe gender community.
If you are interested in receiving alternative
treatment for gender dysphoria, you
will need to seek out a therapist who is willing to try new and aggressive
approaches to treatment. You may have to try more than one.
My suggestion -- this is only one possible option
-- is that you present yourself to a psychiatrist for the purpose
of discussing depression and/or OCD. If your gender issues come up early
on, we suggest that you steer your therapist back onto the subject of
You may also need to deal with false gender role stereotypes. You have this right as a patient. Be aware also that
in addition to the reluctance of some to use alternative
treatments, such therapy can be very difficult, and the results may
be less than satisfactory. AGAIN, this is assuming you need to try alternatives. You don't have to use this approach. Use this ONLY if you are trying to find a way out of the situation short of surgery/transition.
Your spouse or significant other may be
guilty of reinforcing false stereotypes regarding gender - especially
negative stereotypes of your birth gender. This has to stop. Therefore,
your spouse/significant other may need therapy, too.
I cannot provide medical advice but I suggest that, if you want to avoid the transition/hormones/surgery route, you ask
to be tested for depression and OCD. A test that does an excellent job
of ferreting out OCD with non-standard symptoms is the Minnesota
Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory (MMPPI). If the test confirms
that you have OCD and/or a mood disorder, try to get medical treatment
for that. Remember, it isn't a behavior problem, it is an organic condition:
You need medicine.
Coincidentally, relieving OCD through medicine MAY reduce or even
dysphoria ...this is based on the experiences to
date as related by patients of late Doctor Huntley. Now, here is
Doctor Huntley's approach:
to deal with the underlying biological condition. Dr. Huntley's treatment program started with Prozac. Although Prozac is
an antidepressant, it has been shown to help reduce the symptoms
of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and I know of more than
one person who has achieved at least some relief from compulsive crossdressing
through its use. In the case with which I am most familiar, the
patient achieved total remission of gender dysphoria within 3 weeks
of being put on Prozac, and is today in his 15th year of full remission
with no signs of relapse. Prozac is usually the first choice
because it has no noteworthy side-effects and is totally non-addictive.
If the underlying cause of your gender discomfort is depression,
relief should come fairly quickly (within 6 weeks). If the underlying
problem is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, the dosage needed is typically
higher than for depression and will take longer to work. You will
need to remain on the effective dosage for the rest of your life.
For those who are unresponsive to Prozac after several weeks, the
therapist may consider switching medications. Not everyone responds
equally to every drug, so some experimentation is to be expected.
LUVOX is a drug specifically for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Another acceptable drug is Paxil. New drugs are also being
developed, and you should rely on your therapist for guidance. It
is worth noting here that PhDs, MSW's and other counselors cannot prescribe
medication. They will need to refer you to a psychiatrist, who is
an MD, in order for you to receive treatment.
The idea of a lifetime of medication may bother some. The fact
is, however, it may be far easier to take Prozac or Luvox for
life than to transition, have gender reassignment surgery, and
take hormones (which are also taken for life). It depends
on what works best for you.
This medicine will not cure Gender Identity Disorder. No
way... GID is its own biological condition. But if your main
problem with gender dysphoria stems from another condition
like OCD, this treatment might really help you.
2: This is also ten or more years out of date at this
point. There are new and possibly better medications. I'm only
addressing what Dr. Huntley did.
for the negative triggers of gender dysphoria. Medication may control
the organic basis for gender dysphoria if it comes from OCD or
depression, but it will not effectively relieve the symptoms
unless one unlearns pathological beliefs and stereotypes regarding
gender behavior and role expectations. This isn't as difficult
as it sounds, but it does require some effort and
directed therapy. During the course of such therapy, the following
areas should be addressed:
of negative gender stereotyping. In our current society,
male-bashing is popular. Unfortunately, more sensitive souls
sometimes internalize such negative and unrealistic stereotypes.
As a result, they come to believe that being a man is evil.
This belief is provably false, but it will tend to remain
unchecked until exposed in therapy. Intense therapy should
focus on debunking false negative gender stereotypes, while
building new, positive ones. Negative and rigid gender stereotyping
is the most common malady in the so-called "gender community"
today. Male to Female transsexuals often assign all positive
human attributes (compassion, love, caring, sensitivity) to
the role of females, while negative human attributes (violence,
aggression, insensitivity) are assigned to the male stereotype.
Female to Male transsexuals often suffer from unrealistic
ideas of womanhood and over-glorification of maleness. It
isn't surprising, therefore, that the desire for transition
is often little more than a sublimated form of self-hatred. One
"kills" their personal identity, in effect, by transitioning.
Any self-destructive thoughts need to be ferreted out and
dealt with. If you have a problem with self-hatred, then you
need to realize that if you hate yourself as a man, you will
still hate yourself as a woman. Self-hatred is an internal
issue, not a gender issue.
- No course
of treatment will be totally successful until personality
integration is achieved. When a person separates their
male and female personalities - which is likely to happen
when one has rigid stereotypical notions of male and female
behavior - a personality dichotomy develops. Personality
Dichotomy allows the person to assign behaviors to the
alleged "good personality" (the chosen gender -
positive stereotypes & behaviors) and the "bad personality"
(the birth gender - negative behaviors/stereotypes). Integration
is the process by which male and female personal identities
are brought together to form a synthesis... a whole person.
The destruction of false gender role stereotypes is vital
to gaining self-acceptance. Many people have made it all
the way through transition and surgery, only to find that
they are still the same person - a person whom they dislike.
Do not underestimate the importance of this step.
Before a person takes any steps toward transition, he/she
must realize that members of his/her birth gender are
not pigs (in the case of males) or weak (in
the case of females). Likewise, the admired gender is not
particularly or uniquely strong, loving, intuitive or compassionate.
These stereotypes have no basis in reality. If you have assigned
negative human traits to your birth gender and positive human
traits to the gender you admire and seek, then your problem
is the internalization of false stereotypes, not
Gender Identity Disorder.
Many males presenting themselves for treatment of Gender
Identity Disorder (to deal with the example with which we
are most familiar) have felt like they are failures as men.
They may have been unsuccessful in relating to women, or they
may have feelings (love, compassion, caring) which they feel
are inappropriate to their birth gender. These are
often relatively non-aggressive males -- which
may be part of the reason they are experiencing some gender
conflict, since we presently live in a society which promotes
the false belief that all men are aggressive.
They may also feel that women have an unfair advantage over
them - that women are the more powerful person in a relationship
- and they may harbor deep resentment over this.
Another common problem involves the belief that males are
to be the exclusive providers and protectors of the
family. Having failed to live up to this unrealistic
notion causes some men to believe they were born in the wrong
gender. Such false stereotypes are deeply ingrained
and not easily defeated. Again, I must point out
that people with these issues need to deal with their
beliefs first and foremost. Chances are, once they realize
that the full range of human behavior is found in both
genders - that being a non-standard male is NOT the same as
being not male - they may find themselves to be much less
interested in the torments of transition than they
Finally, you need to make a personal commitment
to stick with the course of therapy you have chosen. The medications
involved typically take anywhere from several weeks to several months
to work. Unlearning of negative gender stereotypes may take years.
Still, this is far shorter than the transition/hormone/surgery process,
and could be well worth it to you if you find transition to be an unacceptable
Remember, it is your life and you
must choose how you will live. Don't fall into the trap of seeing
yourself as a helpless victim! Avoid letting those with an agenda lead you down
any particular path - take control of your life.
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