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A new study found that more children — particularly girls — are being diagnosed with gender dysphoria and seeking treatment at a progressively younger age.
The National Health Service defines "gender dysphoria" as "a sense of unease that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity" but claims that it "is not a mental illness."
"This sense of unease or dissatisfaction may be so intense it can lead to depression and anxiety and have a harmful impact on daily life," it added.
A study published this week in the journal General Psychiatry revealed an "upward trend" in biological females diagnosed with gender dysphoria, noting that it was "traditionally" a "rare condition predominant" in biological males.
After analyzing data from several medical organizations between 2017 and 2021, the study found that out of 42 million patients between 4 and 65 years old, 66,078 individuals identified as having gender dysphoria.
Of the patients with gender dysphoria, 80% were from the United States.
"The estimated prevalence of GD diagnosis increased significantly from 2017 to 2021," the study stated.
For every 100,000 people, there are approximately 155 who identify as having gender dysphoria, the study stated.
The average age of the studied patients was 34, and the average age of those with gender dysphoria was 26.
Gender dysphoria is being diagnosed at a younger age, the study revealed. In 2017, the average age of diagnoses was 31.49, and by 2021, the average age dropped to 26.27.
"We found that the estimated prevalence of GD in AFABs [assigned female at birth] sharply increased at the age of 11, peaked at 17–19, and then decreased below AMABs [assigned male at birth] at 22. The estimated prevalence of GD in AMABs started to increase at the age of 13, peaked at 23, and then gradually decreased," the study stated.
The study found that females typically start pursuing professional care at approximately 11 years old while males start pursuing care at approximately 13 — around the average age of puberty for both girls and boys.
"The time of physical and hormonal change during puberty might explain the different patterns of GD development by sex. Youth with GD tend to seek medical attention when puberty begins. AFABs enter puberty at a mean age of 10–11 and, on average, achieve growth and menarche at 13; AMABs enter puberty about 18 months later than AFABs with a slower growth spurt. The time of puberty onset is consistent with the time when GD patient numbers start to increase," the study read.
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.