Gender dysphoria – the epidemiology, clinical manifestation, mental health and treatment – a literature review

Kamilė Martinkutė1, Edgaras Dlugauskas2, 3,Donata Lukošiutė3

1Vilnius University, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius, Lithuania

2Vilnius University, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Clinic of Psychiatry, Vilnius, Lithuania

3Vilnius University Hospital Santaros Clinics, Center of Neurology, Department of Psychiatry, Vilnius, Lithuania


Background. Gender dysphoria (GD) is defined as an individual’s emotional dissatisfaction with the gender assigned at birth. In GD, a person’s gender identity and gender assigned at birth are incompatible, resulting in marked distress. The prevalence of GD has increased significantly in recent years, so it is important to understand the manifestation of this diagnosis to provide appropriate treatment.

Aim: to analyze and review the scientific literature about the epidemiology, clinical manifestation, mental health, and treatment of gender dysphoria.

Methods. The literature review was conducted by using PubMed database. The review includes articles written in English and published over a 10-year period (2012 – 2022).

Results. There are an estimated 25 million transgender people worldwide. In GD, individuals may express a dissatisfaction of their gender assigned at birth characteristics and desire for the characteristics of the gender they identify. Affective disorders and anxiety disorders were the most common psychiatric disorders among individuals with GD in the reviewed studies. Research shows that individuals with GD are at increased risk of death by suicide and suicidal behavior compared to the general population. Treatment of GD includes psychosocial support, treatment of mental disorders, hormone therapy, and surgical interventions.

Conclusions. The term “disorder” is removed in terms of gender dysphoria, which is important in reducing stigmatization and discrimination against these individuals. It has been proven that the appropriate treatment reduces the occurrence of mental disorders, improves the quality of life, sexual function, and general well – being of GD patients.

Keywords: gender dysphoria, transgender, gender identity.

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