Why anorexia nervosa is similar to gender dysphoria

Anorexia nervosa is another disorder characterized by a distortion of body image. However, in contrast to the transgendered, who are aided in acting out a delusion with hormones and “sex-reassignment,” people with a morbid and unrealistic perception of themselves as being obese or too heavy are not put on weight-reducing diets. Rather, anorexia is diagnosed as a psychiatric disorder and treated appropriately with psychotherapy.
Anorexia and “gender dysphoria” are among the many manifestations of psychological conflict that may occur during the “identity crisis” of adolescence, an important developmental milestone in identity formation. It is a time of rapid physical changes and strong sexual urges. Gender confusion—the wish to be the opposite sex, or even to be no sex at all (non-gendered)—can simply be a young person’s temporary pause in resolving the conflict between the safety of secure parental attachments and the compelling but frightening urges of adult sexuality and autonomy.
Asceticism—a renunciation of sexuality and sensual pleasures generally, in effect becoming asexual and anhedonic—is another coping device young people sometimes use. It is remarkably similar to gender dysphoria in its purpose of achieving a temporary respite from confusion about one’s emerging sexuality and anxiety about the demands of adulthood.
The vast majority of such defense mechanisms are transient, useful when the storms of adolescence are most intense, but no longer necessary as a more stable sense of self emerges. (Most common perhaps is the adolescent idealization of celebrities. That many of these popular figures are androgynous illustrates the nature of these identifications as a respite from sexual and gender conflict.) Very few young people who diet severely become lifelong anorectics. Not many adolescent ascetics become cloistered monks. In contrast, some gender-dissatisfied youths are given hormones and even undergo sex- reassignment surgery. A transient developmental conflict is subjected to life-changing and sometimes irreversible treatment.
Source: Psychiatry Professor: ‘Transgenderism’ Is Mass Hysteria Similar To 1980s-Era Junk Science
Richard B. Corradi, M.D. is professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio.

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