Autism

People with psychiatric conditions – and sometimes neurodiverse conditions – are much more likely to die by suicide than gender dysphoric people.

People with psychiatric conditions – and sometimes neurodiverse conditions – are much more likely to die by suicide than gender dysphoric people. Expand
People with psychiatric conditions – and sometimes neurodiverse conditions – are much more likely to die by suicide than gender dysphoric people.

A Swedish study [1] found that suicide rates for personality disorder, schizophrenia, substance addiction, bipolar and (among males) depression and autism were all higher than suicide rates for gender dysphoric people:

These high suicide rates for schizophrenia are confirmed by another study [2] which puts the lifetime risk of suicide death for schizophrenics at 5.6%. This study also finds “the absolute risk of suicide in different psychiatric disorders to vary from 2% to 8%, higher for men than for women and highest for men and women with bipolar disorder, unipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia, and schizophrenialike disorder.”

REFERENCES

[1] Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (2020). Utvecklingen av diagnosen könsdysfori: Förekomst, samtidiga psykiatriska diagnoser och dödlighet i suicid. Socialstyrelsen. [Link]

[2] Nordentoft, M., Madsen, T. & Fedyszyn, I. (2015). Suicidal behavior and mortality in first-episode psychosis. J Nerv Ment Dis. 203 (5): 387-92. [Link]

Obsessive-compulsive traits are more common in people with gender dysphoria.

Obsessive-compulsive traits are more common in people with gender dysphoria. Expand
Obsessive-compulsive traits are more common in people with gender dysphoria.

At least two studies [1, 2] have found a particular connection between intense interests or repetitive behaviors – associated with autism spectrum disorders – and gender dysphoria.

It has also been noted [3] that

With the intensified public awareness and media coverage of issues concerning gender identity and gender incongruence, distinguishing true gender dysphoria or incongruence from the sexual obsessions of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is especially important. Although intrusive sexual obsessions are not uncommon in OCD, obsessions concerning sexual content are more difficult for clinicians to identify as OCD than other types of obsessions (e.g., obsessions concerning contamination). 

REFERENCES

[1] Zucker, K.J., Nabbijohn, A.N., Santarossa, A., Wood, H., Bradley, S.J., Matthews, J., & VanderLaan, D.P. (2017). Intense/obsessional interests in children with gender dysphoria: a cross-validation study using the Teacher’s Report Form. Child and adolescent psychiatry and mental health 11, 51. [Link]

[2] VanderLaan, D.P., Postema, L., Wood, H., Singh, D., Fantus, S., Hyun, J., Leef, J., Bradley, S.J. & Zucker, K.J.. (2015). Do children with gender dysphoria have intense/obsessional interests? J Sex Res. 52 (2): 213-9. [Link]

[3] Safer, D., Bullock, K. & Safer, J. (2016). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Presenting as Gender Dysphoria/Gender Incongruence: A Case Report and Literature Review. AACE Clinical Case Reports 2. [Link]

Children referred to the UK’s largest gender clinic were vastly more likely than average to present with autistic traits.

Children referred to the UK’s largest gender clinic were vastly more likely than average to present with autistic traits. Expand
Children referred to the UK’s largest gender clinic were vastly more likely than average to present with autistic traits.

One study [1] noted that:

48% of children and young people who were seen in GIDS and whose parents completed the social responsiveness scale (SRS), a quantitative measure of autistic behaviours in children and young people, scored in the mild to severe range.

A BMJ paper [2] reported:

Around 35% of referred young people [i.e. referred to the GIDS] present with moderate to severe autistic traits.

REFERENCES

[1] Churcher Clarke, A. & Spiliadis, A. (2019). ‘Taking the lid off the box’: The value of extended clinical assessment for adolescents presenting with gender identity difficulties. Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry 24 (2): 338-352. [Link]

[2] Butler, G., De Graaf, N., Wren, B. & Carmichael, P. (2018) Assessment and support of children and adolescents with gender dysphoria. Archives of Disease in Childhood103:631-636. [Link]