Author Archives: The Daydreamer

Gender Dysphoria

Although it is not something I tend to openly admit to, one of my guilty pleasures is indulging in an episode of Hollyoaks every now and again. I have been watching the show on/off since I was younger, as it was one of the Soaps my sister would watch every day after school without fail.  It is easy to get absorbed with all the intertwining plot lines that are not at all unbelievable and characters that are not as all stereotypical or one dimensional. The reason I have admitted to being a fan of Hollyoaks is because of one of the storylines shed light on a condition I had previously known nothing about, but which has been more focussed on recently by the media, increasing public awareness.

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person feels that they are trapped within a body of the wrong sex. Those with gender dysphoria may experience anxiety and a persistent discomfort about the gender that they were born with, or may believe that their gender identity is different from their anatomical sex. For example, a woman may be convinced that she is a male, despite having a female body.

The symptoms of gender dysphoria usually begin to appear at a very young age; however the behaviour exhibited, such as a child refusing to wear typical boys’ or girls’ clothes is a phase many children go through, but in cases of gender dysphoria, it persists into later childhood and through to adulthood.  Those with the lifelong conviction that they’re trapped in the wrong body are referred to as transsexuals.

In the UK an estimated 1 in 4,000 people are recieving medical help for gender dysphoria. . On average, men are diagnosed with gender dysphoria five times more often than women.

Treatment for gender dysphoria varies from person to person, as it is fully dependent on what the individual wants to do. Some may choose to dress and live as their preferred gender, whereas some may take hormones that alter their physical appearance. The majority of transsexuals choose to permanently change their biological sex, however a series of steps must be completed before they are able to do this, and they must be over 18. First the person must live as a member of the opposite sex, full time, for at least a year. After this, they would take either male or female hormones (depending on whether they wanted to become male or female) for at least a year – sometimes longer. After this, they could have surgery to become a man or a woman permanently: a ‘sex change operation’.

 The number of people with gender dysphoria is steadily increasing as awareness of the condition  heightens, however many still feel it is something they can not admit to as prejudice and intolerance towards transsexuals is not uncommon.

If you are interested in gender dysphoria, a new documentary on Channel 4 has just begun called “My Transsexual Summer”, tune in Tuesdays at 10pm.

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Phobia Of The Day: Cyberphobia

Those with this phobia can’t even read this post or google it..

This is a persistent, irrational fear of computers and technology.

Treatment:

Behaviour therapy or psychotherapy




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Phobia Of The Day: Melophobia

You know that one friend who hates all the music you make them listen to? They might have a valid reason..

This is a fear/hatred of music.

Treatment:

Various forms of Therapy




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Phobia Of The Day: Ambulophobia

For those times when you are feeling extremely lazy an original excuse might involve this phobia…

This is a fear of  walking.

Treatment:

Anxiety Therapy


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Phobia Of The Day: Bacteriophobia

This is a persistent fear of germs and microbes. The bacteriophobic individual irrationally thinks that lethal germs and bacteria are everywhere.

Treatment:

exposure therapy, hypnotherapy, support groups, cognitive behavioural therapy, desensitisation therapy, relaxation techniques. 



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Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome

Parents are usually thought of as the people who will protect you from harm, right?

The usual assumption is that the person taking care of you will do just that, take care of you. A good parent tries their best to protect their child from harm, and to many parents the mere thought of their child suffering from an illness worries them, and if they could they would stop such a thing from ever happening. When a baby is born, parents pray for the doctors to say the words “healthy” following the delivery.

People are quick to judge a good parent from a bad parent.  Adverts from the NSPCC and stories of child abuse constantly remind us that there are children out there who are not being taking care of as they should be.

However, one ought not classify a parent as good or bad from face value. This article is about Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome (MBPS), a fairly rare condition that is also a form of child abuse. 

MBPS involves the primary caregiver (most cases involving the mother) deliberately making another person (usually their child) sick by inducing real or apparent symptoms of disease in a child, and convincing others of the illness.

You wouldn’t expect a mother to enjoy their child’s suffering, as “to mother a child” is defined as raising a child with care and affection.

The reason MBPS is a form of child abuse is because the main care taker of a child wishes bad health on their child, and will often go as far as inducing symptoms in order to make the case more believable. The symptoms the child harbours may be disjointed and random, rarely associating with any one disease when all together.

The reason the mother will do such a thing is for the attention that comes with having a sick child. The attention, sympathy and compassion from nurses and doctors are what the mother is seeking. Many also believe that it isn’t just the attention that’s gained from the “illness” of the child that drives this behaviour, but also the satisfaction in being able to deceive individuals that they consider to be more important and powerful than themselves.

A sufferer of MBPS appears to be very attentive to their child, always by their bedside and caring for them. When seeing a woman spending every waking moment with her sick child we automatically see her as a selfless, amazing mother. We would never assume that the reason she is doing so is because she is waiting for opportunities where she can be alone with the child in order to tamper with their health further (by switching medications or injecting the child with urine to cause infections) in an attempt to stop them recovering/make them worse. We never assume the worst, which is probably the most dangerous aspect of MBPS.

Diagnosis can be very difficult, but can be expected to involve:

  • a child who has multiple medical problems that don’t respond to treatment or that follow a persistent and puzzling course
  • physical or laboratory findings that are highly unusual, don’t correspond with the child’s medical history, or are physically or clinically impossible
  • short-term symptoms that tend to stop when the perpetrator isn’t around
  • a parent or caregiver who isn’t reassured by “good news” when test results find no medical problems, but continues to believe that the child is ill
  • a parent or caregiver who appears to be medically knowledgeable or fascinated with medical details or appears to enjoy the hospital environment
  • a parent or caregiver who’s unusually calm in the face of serious difficulties with the child’s health
  • a parent or caregiver who’s highly supportive and encouraging of the doctor, or one who is angry and demands further intervention, more procedures, second opinions, or transfers to more sophisticated facilities

One of the most common causes of MBPS is the primary care taker having been a victim of child abuse when they were younger. They may have come from families in which being sick was a way to get love. The parent’s or caregiver’s own personal needs overcome his or her ability to see the child as a person with feelings and rights, possibly because the parent or caregiver may have grown up being treated like he or she wasn’t a person with rights or feelings.

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Phobia Of The Day: Anemophobia

This is the fear of wind or strong drafts.

Treatment:

Anxiety Therapy




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