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As awareness of transgender issues rises, we’re seeing an increase in the number of people reaching out for help and support. And who better to turn to than Dr Lyndsey Myskow, a UK-recognised gender specialist and an acknowledged authority within the field, who has built up a reputation for guiding transgender people through their successful reassignment journey.
Here she discusses gender dysphoria – a condition whereby the person feels trapped within the wrong body, outwardly showing the world their wrong gender – and the help that’s available.
Transgender people are often said to be at greater risk of depression, and Dr Paul McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital in the US, courted controversy when he said that transgenderism was simply a ‘mental disorder’.
In response, Dr Myskow, says, “I always answer such statements by asking the individual how many transgendered patients they have actually met! Terminology means little if not placed in the context of the individual and their life experiences.”
“Transgendered patients may or may not have comorbid psychiatric disorder. For patients who do suffer from a mental disorder – be it depression, anxiety or personality disorder – I try to determine to what extent those disorders factor into their gender dysphoria and vice versa.
“Depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide can be part of the transition process. But they may be completely unrelated to a person’s gender identity.”
Treatment for gender dysphoria takes a variety of forms, particular to the individual, and the service that Dr Myskow provides includes initial assessment and follow through, as well as ongoing support to individual patients.
Dr Myskow explains: “The transgender service at YourGP is bespoke, flexible and reactive to people’s needs.
“We try to gain as much knowledge and understanding about a person’s life story and their current circumstance so that we can place any symptoms of mental illness or distress in context.
“The support we offer is, we hope, more human than medical.”
If you are feeling confused about your gender or are questioning your gender, Dr Myskow’s advice is simple – seek support.
She says: “The internet has been a great resource for people who are too afraid or embarrassed to ask questions, but it is not a substitute to accessing real life, one-to-one, human support.
“Speak to your GP, or contact your local LGBT group or Scottish Transgender Alliance.
“There is support out there whatever your age, stage of transition, concern or query.”
If you want to find out more about our service and support for transgender people in Scotland, or if you have any questions you would like to ask Dr Myskow, leave a comment below, or get in touch on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
To book an appointment at our clinic in Edinburgh, use our booking form or get in touch with our clinic directly.
You can call the Edinburgh clinic on 0131 225 5656 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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