Gender identity disorders as a symptom of psychosis, schizophrenia in particular

Gender identity disorders as a symptom of psychosis, schizophrenia in particular

Campo JM, Nijman H, Evers C, Merckelbach HL, Decker I.
Abstract [Full Text] [PDF]


Abstract [Article in Dutch]

In the Netherlands it has recently become possible for transsexual patients to receive hormonal treatment from the onset of puberty. Until the age of 16, pubertal development can be prevented with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists. From 16 years of age onwards, gender adjustment can be initiated by administration of hormones of the opposite sex. Surgical treatment can be offered once the patient reaches 18 years of age.

Although such treatment will only be initiated with reticence and after a long phase of intense diagnostic screening, the question arises whether a clear differentiation can be made between pure gender identity disorders and secondary transsexual feelings that are part of an ongoing psychopathological development, such as schizophrenia.

The potential diagnostic confusion is illustrated by a case history of a male schizophrenic patient. This patient had been treated hormonally for transsexualism for years before acute psychotic decompensation occurred. Neuroleptic treatment of the psychosis rapidly reduced the psychotic symptoms.

In retrospect, the patient regards his transsexual period as a ‘mistake’. Delusions about one’s physical appearance and the urge to drastically change the way one looks appear to be relatively common in patients suffering from schizophrenia.
Citation: Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2001 Sep 29;145(39):1876-80 an article published on the Internet by PubMed <>