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Gender Identity Disorder Diagnosis

(Also Known As: Homosexuality Diagnosis, Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis, Lesbians Transsexuality Diagnosis, Transgender Diagnosis, Transvestism Diagnosis)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

How is Gender Identity Disorder Diagnosed?

The diagnostic reference for Gender Identity Disorder is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-IV) as meeting the following criteria: 5

  1. Persistent cross-gender identification. In children, transsexuality is manifested by four or more hallmark symptoms as follow:
    • Preferences for cross dressing into female attire in boys and the insistence of wearing stereotypically masculine clothing in girls.
    • Repeated statements of a desire to be, or insistence that he/she is the other sex.
    • Strong preference for playmates of the opposite sex.
    • Persistence of cross-sex role preferences in make-believe play or persistent fantasies of being the other sex.
    • Manifestation of the desire for participating in stereotypical games and pastimes of the opposite sex.
  2. They experience persistent discomfort with their biological sex and they feel inappropriate in their gender role. In children, they often manifest the symptoms of a disgusted feeling about their penis, or asserting it would be better if they did not have a penis. Girls will often show rejection of urinating in a sitting position, ot assert they will grow a penis, and also fear the growth of their breasts and menstruation. Adults and adolescents will often show behavioral disturbances, wanting to get rid of their primary sex characteristics through surgery, hormonal therapy, and other medical procedures that will alter their physical characteristics.
  3. The disturbance is not concurrent to a physical intersex condition.
  4. There is a clinical distress and impairment in the occupational, social, and important functioning of the individual due to the disorder.

The diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder is usually made by psychiatrist or psychologist through an interview with a detailed social history of the patient. In the assessment, the family members can also be interviewed. 6

When examining the patient, the feeling of being in the body of the wrong gender should persist for at least 2 years in order for the psychologist or psychiatrist to make a diagnosis. The constant desire of the patient to become the opposite sex is usually evaluated through history and psychiatric evaluation. 7

Differential Diagnosis

It is important to differentiate when diagnosing Gender Identity Disorder between a patient who meets the accepted criteria, and an individual with a simple non-conformity of the stereotypical behavior of their sex role. This can be diagnosed based on the extent of the pervasiveness of their cross-gender interest, activities, and wishes. Gender Identity Disorder diagnosis represents a profound disturbance in the sense of identity in the person with regards to femaleness or maleness. 8

When a male exhibits symptoms that fully meet the criteria of Gender Identity Disorder with symptoms of transvestic fetishism, he should be given both diagnoses. Gender dysphoria should be the diagnosis when there is the presence of gender dysphoria symptoms in transvestic fetishism but the individual does not meet the criteria for Gender Identity Disorder.

Diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder as a Mental Disorder

Gender Identity Disorder cannot be diagnosed as a mental health disorder unless the patient presents behavioral disturbance patterns that result in a very significant adaptive disadvantage that can cause the person mental sufferings. 9

While no laboratory tests can diagnose the presence of Gender Identity Disorder, it is important not to overlook any underlying physical illness that can mimic the symptoms typical of this psychological disorder.

Could You Have Gender Dysphoria (Gender Identity Disorder)?

Gender Dysphoria (Gender Identity Disorder) Topics

Related Conditions

Depersonalization Disorder – Depersonalization, Derealization, Sense of Automation, Difficulty Relating with Reality
Dissociative Identity Disorder – Display of Multiple Personalities, Amnesia, Drug Use, Inability to Identify Own Identity
Paraphilias – Sexual Deviation, Pervasiveness, Behavioral Disorder, Fantasy
Separation Anxiety Disorder – Anxiety Due to Separation from Home, Persistent Worry About Losing People, Nightmares Due to Separation.