Gender Dysphoria and Eating Disorders

Gender Dysphoria and Eating DisordersGender dysphoria, also referred to as gender identity disorder or cross-gender identification, is a medical condition where an individual’s social gender does not match her biological sex. In other words, people have gender dysphoria when their emotional and psychological identities are male or female, but their biological sex is the opposite. People with gender dysphoria have strong desires to live as members of the opposite sex, because they do not perceive themselves or connect to the gender they were assigned. Males with gender dysphoria may code female, and vice versa. Gender dysphoria does not necessarily involve transvestitism, because many transvestites are comfortable with their assigned gender, but enjoy dressing and looking the part of a different gender.

Furthermore, gender dysphasia and cross-gender identity differ from homosexuality, because homosexuals can identify with their assigned gender, but have different sexual preferences. This being said, gender dysphoria is a condition that is highly misunderstood, criticized and discriminated upon. People with gender dysphoria struggle with many issues regarding identity, and these issues can cause low self-esteem and other issues that impact health, wellness and quality of life.

How Gender Dysphoria Influences Eating Disorders

Several individuals develop sexual identities that differ from their biological sexes, but these individuals rarely acknowledge their gender identity issues for fear of ostracism. However, gender dysphoria causes struggles not only between the gender dysphoric individual and others, but it also causes inner-turmoil. Having an alternative sexual identity can be confusing or difficult to accept when someone’s family, religion and other social aspects belittle how she feels about her identity. In addition, people will undoubtedly face challenges and obstacles whether they carry on as the gender they connect with or they stifle their true gender identities.

Individuals with gender dysphoria have a high-risk for low-self esteem, body image disturbances and mental health issues. Individuals with gender nonconformity may exude the following habits of disordered eating:

  • Extreme concerns about one’s weight, body type and shape
  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Unhealthy drive for thinness
  • Bulimic behaviors
  • Restrained eating habits
  • Anorexia nervosa

When people are uncomfortable in their own skin, it should come as no surprise that they want to change their bodies. People with gender dysphoria may develop abnormal eating behavior in an attempt to fix what they feel is wrong with their bodies. Furthermore, individuals with gender dysphoria may develop abnormal eating behaviors to cope with the physical and emotional pain they endure because of their identity struggle. This is a dangerous condition that requires immediate professional treatment.

Treatment for Eating Disorders and Gender Identity Issues

To find treatment for eating disorders related to gender identity, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline. Recovery professionals can answer your questions and provide all the information you need on eating treatment and recovery. If you’re ready we can connect you with the treatment services that specialize in addressing your unique recovery needs.