Have the psychiatric needs of people seeking gender reassignment changed as their numbers increase? A register study in Finland
Riittakerttu Kaltiala, Timo Holttinen and Katinka Tuisku
Publié le 6 novembre
Background : The number of people seeking gender reassignment (GR) has increased everywhere and these increases particularly concern adolescents and emerging adults with female sex. It is not known whether the psychiatric needs of this population have changed alongside the demographic changes. Methods : A register-based follow-up study of individuals who contacted the nationally centralized gender identity services (GIS) in Finland in 1996–2019 (gender dysphoria [GD] group, n = 3665), and 8:1 age and sex-matched population controls (n = 29,292). The year of contacting the GIS was categorized to 5-year intervals (index periods). Psychiatric needs were assessed by specialist-level psychiatric treatment contacts in the Finnish Care Register for Hospital Care in 1994–2019. Results : The GD group had received many times more specialist-level psychiatric treatment both before and after contacting specialized GIS than had their matched controls. A marked increase over time in psychiatric needs was observed. Among the GD group, relative risk for psychiatric needs after contacting GIS increased from 3.3 among those with the first appointment in GIS during 1996–2000 to 4.6 when the first appointment in GIS was in 2016–2019. When index period and psychiatric treatment before contacting GIS were accounted for, GR patients who had and who had not proceeded to medical GR had an equal risk compared to controls of needing subsequent psychiatric treatment. Conclusion : Contacting specialized GIS is on the increase and occurs at ever younger ages and with more psychiatric needs. Manifold psychiatric needs persist regardless of medical GR.