Study: Most transgender people ‘outgrow’ their diagnosis

Published 22 June 2024
- By Editorial Staff
75% of young people with gender dysphoria also suffer from at least one other psychiatric condition.

Two out of three young people with gender dysphoria no longer identify as the opposite sex within five years, according to a German study. Young women, in particular, choose to “change back” their identity.

The Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance in Germany reviewed hospital bills from the country’s health centers for insured citizens between the ages of 5 and 24. The people they studied were diagnosed with gender dysphoria between 2013 and 2022, and the researchers then followed them for nine years. The idea of the study was to look at the demographics, prevalence and duration of those diagnosed.

The study, published in the German medical journal Deutsches Äerzteblatt, found that 63.6% of children and adolescents diagnosed with gender dysphoria outgrew their diagnosis within just five years. Only 36.4% of the study participants still had a confirmed diagnosis after this period.

It was mainly women and girls between the ages of 15 and 19 who “changed”, with 72.7% of participants reporting that they re-identified with their biological sex after this period. Meanwhile, 50.3% of men aged 20 to 24 also deviated from their diagnosis within five years.

Often suffering from depression

It was also found that three-quarters of young people with gender dysphoria also had at least one other psychiatric condition. Depression was most common among transgender people, affecting 57.5% of women and girls and 49.3% of men and boys. Anxiety was also common, followed by borderline personality disorder. ADHD and PTSD were also found in about one-tenth of the participants.

The German researchers also found that the number of diagnoses increased by 289% in a short period of time, according to their calculations. The researchers also point out that other studies have found increases in diagnoses ranging from 280% to 1019%.

Researchers say the reason for this spike could vary from “real increases in prevalence” and “increased awareness, reduced stigmatization” to “social contagion” or “overdiagnosis”.

“Further research into the reasons for the low persistence of diagnosis and the observed increase in prevalence is required”, the researchers conclude. “In the meantime, the stability of diagnosis and the high prevalence of accompanying mental disorders should be taken into account in recommendations for starting gender reassignment therapy in adolescence”.

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