Gender-Affirming Surgery May Aid Long-Term Mental Health
Longitudinal association identified in individuals with a gender incongruence diagnosis
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 9, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- For transgender individuals with a diagnosis of gender incongruence, increased time since last gender-affirming surgery is associated with reduced mental health treatment, according to a study published online Oct. 4 in The American Journal of Psychiatry.
Richard Bränström, Ph.D., and John E. Pachankis, Ph.D., from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, ascertained the prevalence of mood and anxiety disorder health care visits and antidepressant and anxiolytic prescriptions in 2015 as a function of gender incongruence diagnosis. Data were included for 2,679 individuals with a diagnosis of gender incongruence.
The researchers found that individuals with a gender incongruence diagnosis were about six times more likely to have had a mood and anxiety disorder health care visit compared with the general population; they were also more than three times as likely to have received prescriptions for antidepressants and anxiolytics and more than six times as likely to have been hospitalized after a suicide attempt. There was no significant correlation between years since initiating hormone treatment and the likelihood of mental health treatment (adjusted odds ratio, 1.01; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.98 to 1.03); however, increased time since last gender-affirming surgery correlated with a significant decrease in mental health treatment (adjusted odds ratio, 0.92; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.87 to 0.98).
"The longitudinal association found in the present study between gender-affirming surgery and reduced mental health treatment utilization, combined with the physical and mental health risks of surgery denial, supports policies that provide gender-affirming surgeries to transgender individuals who seek such treatments," the authors write.