Is Gender Affirmative Treatment Effective for Coexisting Gender Dysphoria and Psychosis?

A new study demonstrates that gender dysphoria in individuals with coexisting psychotic disorders can be adequately diagnosed and safely treated with gender affirming psychological, endocrine, and surgical therapies. The study is published in LGBT Health, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the LGBT Health Web site until May 3, 2017.

In this novel and important report, Julia Meijer, MD, PhD, Guus Eeckhout, MD, Roy van Vlerken, MD, and Annelou de Vries, MD, PhD, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, describe a small series of case studies involving transgender men and women ages 29–57 years diagnosed with gender dysphoria and schizophrenia-related disorders who underwent gender affirmative treatment with a minimum follow-up of 3 years.

In the article entitled “Gender Dysphoria and Co-Existing Psychosis: Review and Four Case Examples of Successful Gender Affirmative Treatment,” the researchers explore the challenges in diagnosis and treatment of this patient population and offer recommendations for overcoming them. They discuss complicating factors, such as when the overt expression of gender dysphoria follows the onset of psychotic symptoms.

“Gender dysphoria in the context of a coexisting psychotic disorder can be mistaken for a gender-themed delusion; however, Dr. Meijer and colleagues show that it can be accurately differentiated from psychosis and safely treated with adherence to and satisfaction with gender affirming therapies,” says LGBT Health Editor-in-Chief William Byne, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY.