Study Reveals Most Youths Outgrow Transgender Identity, Highlights Mental Health Concerns

A major study conducted in Germany indicates that a significant majority of young people who identify as transgender will revert to their birth gender within five years. This extensive research spanned nine years and included all children and young adults diagnosed with gender dysphoria, providing critical insights into the persistence of transgender identities and associated mental health conditions.

Researchers at the Central Institute for Statutory Health Insurance reviewed medical billing records of individuals aged five to 24 diagnosed with gender identity disorders between 2013 and 2022. The study aimed to uncover trends in diagnoses, focusing on the prevalence, demographics, and duration of gender dysphoria.

The study found that 63.6% of young people diagnosed with gender dysphoria desisted from identifying as transgender after five years. Among the most likely to revert were females aged 15 to 19, with a desistance rate of 72.7%, and males aged 20 to 24, with a rate of 50.3%.

Moreover, the research revealed that a substantial majority of young people diagnosed with gender dysphoria also had at least one other psychiatric condition. The most common comorbidities included depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, emotionally unstable personality disorders, ADHD, and PTSD.

The number of young individuals diagnosed with gender identity disorders increased by 780% over the study period. While some of this rise is due to changes in diagnostic coding, there remains a considerable increase in transgender diagnoses. The highest rates were observed among 15- to 19-year-old females.

Researchers suggested various factors contributing to this spike, including increased awareness, decreased stigmatization, social contagion, and overdiagnosis. They called for further research to understand the low persistence of gender dysphoria diagnoses and the reasons behind the increasing prevalence.

These findings corroborate other studies worldwide, such as research from the Netherlands showing a 64% desistance rate among youths diagnosed with gender dysphoria. This data questions the current U.S. approach, which advocates for immediate affirmation and medical intervention for transgender identities.

Dr. Andre Van Mol, speaking for multiple medical organizations, criticized the affirmation model, asserting it lacks long-term safety and efficacy. He emphasized that gender transition procedures do not lower suicide rates or address underlying mental health problems, advocating for a more cautious approach.

The study will be published in English by the peer-reviewed journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International under the title “Gender identity disorders among young people in Germany: prevalence and trends, 2013–2022. An analysis of nationwide routine insurance data” within two weeks.

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