Gender Dysphoria

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Gender Dysphoria
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    Community Voices

    What do you look for in a therapist or mental health professional?

    <p>What do you look for in a therapist or <a href=" health" class="tm-embed-link  tm-autolink health-map" data-id="5b23ce5800553f33fe98c3a3" data-name="mental health" title="mental health" target="_blank">mental health</a> professional?</p>
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    Megan Glosson

    How Roe v. Wade Being Overturned Harms People With Health Conditions

    This past Friday, the Supreme Court voted five to four in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade. This landmark court decision from 1973 established the constitutional right to abortion. Now, individual states will get to decide whether or not they will allow abortion. People across the country are experiencing mixed feelings about this perplexing court ruling. However, many people, including the justices who voted in favor of overturning the court’s previous ruling on the matter, are not thinking about the way in which this decision will impact the millions of American women and people with a uterus who live with chronic health conditions. So, here are just some of the people the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States failed to consider when they overturned Roe v. Wade and all but outlawed abortion for over half of the states in our country. 1. The Transplant Recipients Whose Medications Make Pregnancy Problematic Although it is possible for a transplant recipient to get pregnant and carry a baby to term, there are many potential complications. First and foremost, many anti-rejection medications can cause birth defects that would make life unsustainable for the fetus. They can also build up to toxic levels in the fetus’ bloodstream, which can lead to other complications. Although there are some medications that are safe for the fetus, any change in immunosuppressants must be made gradually so doctors can measure if these medications are actually doing their job (because not every medication works for every person). Also, because medication levels are based on weight, pregnancy can impact the medication levels in a way that leads to organ rejection during the pregnancy, making it a life-threatening situation for parent and fetus. 2. The People Whose Autoimmune Disorder Could Cause Complications Many autoimmune disorders cause your immune system to attack healthy tissue. This means that a pre-existing autoimmune disorder can interfere with the pregnancy by harming the fetus. Even if the autoimmune disorder allows the pregnancy to continue, the mother’s antibodies can enter the fetus’s system and disrupt its development and growth. Furthermore, some people don’t even know they have an autoimmune disorder until their pregnancy triggers it. In these cases, a person may find that being pregnant is interfering with their life so much that it’s not possible to continue living while pregnant. 3. Those Who Live With a Genetic Disorder That Could Prove Fatal for the Baby Living with a rare disease is not an easy road. However, some genetic disorders can be fatal, and passing them down to a child can increase the risk of fatality for the baby. These conditions include Huntington’s disease, vascular EDS (vEDS), cystic fibrosis, Marfan’s syndrome, and many other genetic disorders that someone can either have or be a carrier for. Even if the baby makes it through delivery, they will have a hard life (assuming they can sustain life). 4. The People Whose Endometriosis Caused an Ectopic Pregnancy People with endometriosis are twice as likely to experience ectopic pregnancies than the average person. Unfortunately, there’s zero possibility of an ectopic pregnancy becoming viable, no matter what marvels of modern medicine an OBGYN can perform. Usually, ectopic pregnancies are treated with injections that end the pregnancy or surgery to remove the fallopian tube. Either way, these life-saving medical procedures can be considered forms of abortion, and would now be punishable by law in some states. This means that people could face jail time for something completely out of their control just because they chose to save their own life. And without Roe v. Wade, there’s nothing a person can do about it if their state’s court system decides to rule against them. 5. Those Whose Cancer Treatment Would Affect the Fetus Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring type of cancer for women, and breast cancer rates are on the rise for women of childbearing age. Unfortunately, many of the recommended forms of cancer treatment can cause harm to a fetus and are not compatible with pregnancy. There are instances where a pregnant person with cancer can either wait until after their child is born to undergo treatment or select treatment methods that are least harmful to the fetus. However, there are also times when someone may need to decide whether it’s better to end a pregnancy during the early stages so they can undergo cancer treatment, or risk bringing a baby into the world while also dying. It’s not an easy decision to make either way, but the overruling of Roe v. Wade now makes it even more challenging. 6. The People Who Live With Mental Health Conditions That Require Daily Medications There are countless mental health conditions that require daily medications. Some of these conditions include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. However, even with the wide variety of available medications out there for each and every single mental health condition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists still says a majority of these medications are not safe during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Whether a pregnancy was planned or unexpected, a pregnant person who uses one or more psychiatric medications may be forced to decide whether or not they want to expose their fetus to the risks associated with the medication. In many cases, these medications can cause harmful birth defects or even harm the fetus in a way that makes life unsustainable. Therefore, these individuals need as many choices as possible available to them, including the right to terminate the pregnancy if that’s what they and their medical team feel is best. 7. Those Whose Epilepsy Puts Them At Risk for a Stillbirth Women with epilepsy are up to three times as likely to have a pregnancy that results in stillbirth than women who do not live with epilepsy. Sometimes, there’s no way of knowing whether they will experience a stillborn birth, whereas other times an OBGYN may no longer detect signs of life before the pregnant person even hits the third trimester. Without the option to abort, these individuals will be forced to carry a pregnancy to term even though the fetus will no longer grow and develop. 8. The People Who Almost Died With Their First Baby and Don’t Want to Go Through That Again There’s a lot that is still unknown about how pregnancy impacts the body. Conditions like pre-eclampsia are largely undetectable until it’s too late, as are other rare pregnancy complications. However, people who experience these issues during their first pregnancy are more likely to experience them again. This means a person may take active measures to avoid additional pregnancies. Unfortunately, no form of birth control is foolproof, and a person can still end up pregnant even when actively avoiding it. Should these individuals have to go through the same hell they endured during their first pregnancy if they don’t have to? And is that really someone else’s choice to make? 9. The Trans Man Who Would Struggle With the Dysphoria of a Pregnancy Thanks to the advances in modern medicine, trans men can do many things to counteract the gender dysphoria they experience. However, up to 30 percent of trans men still experience unplanned pregnancies. These pregnancies can lead to depression and other concerns due to the mixture of dysphoria and judgment from society. Before the overturning of Roe v. Wade, trans men could decide whether or not they wanted to go through with a pregnancy. Now that it is overturned, trans men in states with abortion laws in place may have no choice, and this combined with the stigma they likely already face due to society’s general view of the trans community in their geographic location, could cause depression and suicide rates to climb even more. This list isn’t exhaustive. However, it does provide a view into just how many people will be impacted due to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. In many cases, people who live with health conditions are already marginalized and mistreated by medical providers and society as a whole. Now they may face even more problems and harsh judgment just for making decisions that can help them continue to live. This isn’t the type of treatment anyone deserves, especially people who already have to fight for their right to live day in and day out.

    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    How do you want your loved ones to show you support?

    <p>How do you want your loved ones to show you support?</p>
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    Community Voices

    Trans friends, how do you experience gender euphoria?

    <p>Trans friends, how do you experience gender euphoria?</p>
    2 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    What’s a small victory you achieved recently?

    <p>What’s a small victory you achieved recently?</p>
    2 people are talking about this
    Michele Canale

    Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Needs in the Trans Community

    In today’s U.S., nearly 9 in 10 Americans (87%) know someone who is gay. Far less people (around 30%) know some who is transgender. However, what is far less well known or understood is how severely the U.S. trans community, around 2 million people, is affected by disproportionately higher rates of mental health disorders and substance addiction, when compared to the general population. The increased public visibility of transgender celebs like Laverne Cox, Jazz Jennings, and the stars of the hit Netflix series “Pose” has helped to bring some basic level of general awareness. Unfortunately, it’s not enough. “Discrimination, stigma, poverty, and violence pose significant harms to the physical, mental, and behavioral health of transgender adults.” – Sharita Gruberg Transgender: A Day in the Life… Very few average Americans are aware of how nearly every aspect of a transgender’s daily life is a personal battle simply to be treated like everyone else — the next job candidate, the next hospital patient, or the next person in the grocery store queue. The harsh reality is the transgender community in the U.S. continues to face unacceptable levels of verbal and physical discrimination and harassment in every single area of their lives. The sad, yet inevitable consequence of this? Extremely high rates of mental health issues and the use and abuse of hard illicit drugs— notably, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine (meth) — and other addictive substances, like alcohol and marijuana, across every age group. What Does “Transgender” Mean? “Transgender and gender non-conforming” (TGNC) is an umbrella term referring to individuals whose gender identities are opposed to their assigned sex at birth. The term includes transgender men, transgender women, non-binary individuals, gender-fluid, and genderqueer individuals. “Minority Stress” — Society’s Mistreatment of Transgender People According to medical experts, many of the individual cases seen in the transgender community of either a mental health disorder, a substance use disorder, or a co-occurring disorder (the presence of both at the same time) can be attributed to the theory of “minority stress.” The theory states that transgender people — living in a majority heterosexual culture — continue to face high levels of discrimination, victimization, harassment, and maltreatment every single day. This treatment results in prolonged stress on a daily basis. Obviously, it has a deeply profound effect. Did you know? Transgender people are more likely than anyone else in the U.S. to be the victim of murder or assault. Over 40% of trans teenagers and 51% of trans adults, unable to cope with either their family’s or society’s rejection, attempt suicide — many with fatal results. There are so many prohibitive barriers to standard healthcare for the trans community many do not even consider going to their doctor. Therefore, they are driven to “self-medicate” through the abuse of drugs and alcohol, severely worsening their physical and mental wellbeing. Transgender Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Addiction According to Sharita Gruberg, co-author of “Protecting and Advancing Health Care for Transgender Adult Communities” (August, 2021), “Discrimination, stigma, poverty, and violence pose significant harms to the physical, mental, and behavioral health of transgender adults.” Transgender Mental Health When it comes to mental health, people who identify as transgender have higher rates of mental health disorders and behavioral issues, such as depression and anxiety, than those in the general population. Even now, in 2022, they continue to experience barriers to accessing the treatment they need, such as the actual refusal of insurance by healthcare insurers, and the refusal of care by healthcare providers. What is Gender Dysphoria? One of the reasons that depression and anxiety is more prevalent in the transgender community is “gender dysphoria,” where some transgender people are psychologically affected by the “sex-related physical characteristics” with which they were born. Gender dysphoria is medically defined as “the marked incongruence between their experienced or expressed gender and the one they were assigned at birth.” Those with gender dysphoria include those people that wish to have some form of medical treatment to help them feel less distressed. Contrary to public perception, only around 10% of transgender people wish to have genital surgery or medical transitioning. The vast majority are content with less invasive procedures, such as hormone treatment, facial feminization, and male chest reconstruction. Transgender Drug and Alcohol Addiction Poor mental health and substance use are often intrinsically linked. The presence of both a mental illness and a substance use disorder (SUD) is known as co-occurring disorder (or dual diagnosis). Transgender individuals use and abuse marijuana, methamphetamines, heroin, and prescription opioids at higher rates than people who identify as heterosexual. Substance abuse is even more widespread among transgender women than other women in the general population. One study found they were nearly four times more likely to abuse hard drugs and alcohol. Common Discriminating Factors in the Transgender Community Using data and findings from the 2015 U.S. Trans Study, and the later “The State of the LGBTQ Community in 2020” report from the American Center of Progress, here’s a statistical look at the various discriminatory aspects of life as a U.S. trans person: School Life (K–12): Verbally harassment: 54% Sexual assault: 13% / Physical assault: 24% 17% left school as a result Family / Home Life: 10% of those who come out as trans to their immediate family report that a family member was violent towards them, and 8% were kicked out of the house. Work Life: 30% of employed transgender people report being fired, denied a promotion, or experienced another form of mistreatment in the workplace. General Life: 62% of transgender people experience various forms of discrimination. Around 1 in 4 (20-30%) experienced moderate to severe problems when buying or renting a home, and obtaining official identification documents. Transgender Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Needs Transgender people are in more need than any other demographic to seek treatment for mental health disorders (MHDs) and substance use disorders (SUDs). However, the necessary treatment they require isn’t always available or affordable, even if it’s actually there in the first place. Barriers to Trans Community Medical Treatment According to HRC Foundation Analysis and survey findings from the Center for American Progress (CAP), as published in their report “The State of the LGTBQ Community in 2020“: 1. Healthcare Insurance Coverage Many members of the trans community are without health insurance coverage necessary to access addiction treatment— 22% of trans people, and 32% of trans people of color. 2. Healthcare Costs Many trans Americans found it difficult to get necessary medical care because of cost: overall, at some point in their lives, 51% of trans people had avoided or postponed healthcare due to cost. 3. Discrimination by Doctors and Other Healthcare Providers Many transgender people do not pursue medical treatment due to discrimination by doctors and other healthcare treatment providers: 28% of trans people reported postponing/avoiding needed medical care when sick or injured due to discrimination Twenty-five percent of trans people report other negative experiences: 33% reported having to teach their doctor or provider about transgender people to receive appropriate care 18% reported health care professionals refusing them medical treatment 19% reported harsh or abusive language 18% reported their doctor or provider flatly refused to see them at all 4. Discrimination by Healthcare Insurance Providers 43% of transgender people denied transition surgery 38% (including 52% of transgender people of color) denied hormone therapy for their transition 34% reported that an insurer refused to change their records to reflect their name or gender 5. Transgender-Specific Barriers to Substance Addiction Treatment Verbal and physical abuse from treatment center staff. If staff are not actively hostile themselves, they may refuse to take action if other clients are abusive. Use of their birth name (and pronoun) as opposed to their chosen name, both psychologically damaging and unsupportive. Actively required to wear only clothing or cosmetics relating to the gender they were assigned at birth. Generally, many rehabs prohibit provocative dress or makeup; however, gender expression is highly important to transgender clients. Within inpatient (residential) treatment, being housed with members of the gender they were assigned at birth. Rehabs often do not have private rooms; dormitories are typical. It is disrespectful to force a transgender person to room with people of the opposite gender identity. Unsurprisingly, conditions like these are not just adverse to the recovery process, they can result in a complete withdrawal of motivation and genuine participation. How Can We Improve Mental Health and Substance Addiction Outcomes for Trans People? Only recently have federally-funded surveys started to include and ask about sexual orientation and gender identification in the collection of data. Therefore, being in a position to look at increasing long-term trends is currently beyond even the best medical researchers and analysts. Improving Transgender Behavioral Treatment Outcomes Transgender and other GNC youths are more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to experience mental health issues. Studies have shown that the provision of gender-affirming care — where transgender status is fully respected and considered in the treatment process — is associated with decreased adverse mental health outcomes among TGNC youths. The vast majority of U.S. drug and alcohol detox and rehab centers are designed to serve the heterosexual population. Therefore, apart from being subject to stigmatic and prejudiced attitudes, trans people also face heteronormative* barriers in the structural and programmatic elements of treatment. *Heteronormative is defined as “the attitude that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality.” One meta analysis study (where all previous studies are collated, subjected to stringent criteria, and then analyzed) of transgender addiction treatment outcomes, published in the Brain Science journal, found the following: Specialized behavioral health and substance treatment programs must take gender preference and chosen identity into careful consideration. The professionals providing and delivering these programs must have sufficient, effective training to enact appropriate care for trans patients —  for example, by considering the influence of minority stress. The acknowledgment of a patient’s gender identity must be made mandatory; if a trans person’s identity is not recognized or respected, they are unlikely to enter a clinic or a drug rehab in the first place, let alone remain for the full program or experience significant benefit from it. Furthermore, it would certainly improve rehab treatment outcomes for the trans community if the following additional measures were introduced: Male-to-female transgender staff has proved highly successful when used. These trans staff members are both sensitive and empathetic, and can serve as positive role models (in fact, they may be the first transgender professionals the trans clients have encountered). To maintain sobriety after treatment, recovering addicts need aftercare, such as peer support groups. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are examples of 12-Step peer support groups, while other nonsecular support groups also offer sobriety support. For your information (look online for appropriate meetings in your area): Trans Umbrella Area of Narcotics Anonymous The Rainbow Room (Alcoholics Anonymous for LGBT people, New York) Michele Canale, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Modern Recovery Network, which includes Modern Recovery Services, located in Tempe, Arizona, where Michele is both the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

    Community Voices

    What advice do you wish someone had given you at the beginning of your mental health journey?

    <p>What advice do you wish someone had given you at the beginning of your <a href=" health" class="tm-embed-link  tm-autolink health-map" data-id="5b23ce5800553f33fe98c3a3" data-name="mental health" title="mental health" target="_blank">mental health</a> journey?</p>
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    Community Voices

    What’s your favorite way to express your authentic self?

    <p>What’s your favorite way to express your authentic self?</p>
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    Community Voices