A licensed psychologist, Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., has maintained a private practice in Rockville, Maryland, for more than 25 years. Uzi Ben-Ami, Ph.D., possesses a special interest in the diagnosis and treatment of Gender Dysphoria.
Formerly known as gender identity disorder, Gender Dysphoria affects those whose identified gender differs from their assigned or physical gender. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, specifies that for the diagnosis of gender dysphoria to be valid, the person must experience significant distress due to the incongruity between birth and self-identified gender. However it is well established that the psychological expression of a gender preference does not in and of itself indicates a “mental disorder”.
The distress associated with Gender Dysphoria may take the form of a desire to live and interact with others as the other gender. It also can, but does not necessarily, involve a desire to change one’s physical sex characteristics to match the gender with which the individual identifies.
The diagnosis may be present in children too. Children with Gender Dysphoria show a prolonged interest of at least six months in duration in the clothes, interests, and playmates associated with the identified gender and may desire to take on the other gender’s sex characteristics.
Gender dysphoria in children does not necessarily guarantee the same diagnosis in adulthood. However, those who are most definitive, persistent, and unwavering in their expressions of identification with another gender are more likely to present eventually as transgender adults.