Change Your World-NOT your Body

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Healthy Breast or a Healthy Arm?

When mental distress creates the idea that a healthy limb/s, organ or body part/s should be removed from an otherwise healthy body in order to mentally feel "whole" or "normal", should the medical community comply?

If yes, should it depend on which body part/organ? Why?

Is there a difference in removing say a healthy breast than a healthy leg? If yes, what is the difference?

Please discuss...

dirt
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51 comments:

  1. I'd rather have them remove a bodypart to prevent suicides. I'd compare a psychological problem because of an unwanted bodypart to the way a person sometimes mentally rejects a replacement bodypart after they lost it (accident, surgery etc). That and I think it's happened a few times that surgeons removed the wrong leg by accident :')

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  2. Removing a healthy breast leaves a person able to walk and work. Removing a healthy leg makes it harder to find a job and means a person will very likely end up taking money from groups that would otherwise be giving money to people who became handicapped in accidents.

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  3. Dirt. This is a really good question.

    I am curious if the medical board has addressed any of this. Why is it seen okay by the medical communities and other communities to join with GID vs. BIID or other forms of BDD? Seems to me the trans community was given the upper hand in BDD sufferers by the medical community. But have any doctors discussed why this was done?

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  4. Dirt,

    How do you feel about women who have their "healthy" breasts, uterus, ovaries, etc removed as preventative measures to avoid cancer?

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  5. I try not to judge the choices people make in regards to their bodies.

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  6. ^ or for that matter, a woman who has her Uterus or ovaries (or both) Removed because of a medical condition that makes her unable to have children anyway.

    In my opinion, while every being on this earth should try to live with what they were born with, I have been to support groups where, for example, since this blog focuses on them, a young transperson has spoken out that their breasts make them feel so dysphoric that they consider or have attempted suicide.

    While it's a shame, if it prevents suicides and gives a person more self esteem, (After all the therapy in the world can't change how they feel, and even then that's sketchy because there's no real therapy that tries to change a transperson's mind or put them at ease with what they have.)

    Now, as for a functioning body part that you need for every day living... that's a bit different. If they're going to therapy and trying to feel comfortable with that leg, and it's not working, then I can't really say it's my place to tell them otherwise.

    (Unless of course they want it gone for a disability check, then... well... no.)

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  7. If you had a limb removed it would make you impaired in some way and you would not be able to function the way you would if you had that limb still. If someone wanted their leg cut off then how are they gonna walk and in some cases drive?

    Removing your breasts will only leave scars on your chest but there are really good scar creams out there that plastic surgeons sell to help minimize scarring. You are still mobile and able to do the same things you did prior to having your breasts removed.

    I feel it is up to the individual if they want their breasts removed or not as it is their decision.

    I don't see how the two can even be compared.

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  8. From what I understand, I think there needs to be a more extensive psychological assessment before any sort of surgical intervention based on psychological distress. I have friends who went on T after seeing a psychologist only very briefly.

    I think this is similar to the easy availability of anti depressants (though some people with serious depression/anxiety DO need drugs) Once I went to a psychologist who prescribed me anti depressants after ONE session. I didn't take them though and i never had to, i just needed someone to talk to, though I had the self awareness to know that. Does, say, a sixteen year old gay/masculinish girl who grew up in some hillbilly town with a homophobic/conservative family that spouted strict gender rules have that same awareness??

    Maybe it is easier to "go on T" then have a year of sessions with a psychologist and a few months/years after that of un-learning your body hatred. Maybe some people truly need medical intervention but do ALL these Youtubers REALLY need it? I mean really? Is it for most people just a quick superficial fix for something deeper?

    And how clued in are these psychologists or "gatekeepers" anyway? Do they know about the skyrocketing numbers of transitioners? Do they know about the pressures that exist in the LGBT community to transition or the youtube craze? Do they know about the shifted focus form "womens studies" to "gender studies" in Universities? It doesn't take a genius to know there are probably greater forces at work here.

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  9. I think that there aren't "skyrocketing numbers of transitioners" but rather since there are easily accessible means of communication with the internet, it seems that way. You simply didn't hear about it much before because of lack of easy communication and because of stigma trans people faced, which is being slowly broken down.

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  10. I agree with the comment above. When I was diagnosed with GID at 18 I didn't know anything about it and didn't know anything about T to go on it so I waited. I was diagnosed again on Dec. 21, 2007 and after doing tons of research on my own I decided to go on T. It was right for me to do.

    Top surgery? Yes, I am gonna have top surgery. I have to do this for me and for me only. It's the right choice for me as it will make me feel better about me and who I am and what I am. It has nothing to do with hatred towards women in any way at all. I love women....all women. Women are awesome! I have the choice to have top surgery and I have decided long ago that this is right for me. Not because of hatred towards women by any means. It's just right for me to do. I stand 100% behind my decision.

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  11. Anon 10:21:
    I should clarify that when I said "skyrocketing numbers" I wasn't referring to strangers on youtube but people in my own life. In my own social circle alone I know about 16 transmen, and I'm in a fairly small queer community in a small town. I just worry that some of these guys i know are transitioning for the wrong reasons.

    I'm not saying that no one should transition, I know two transmen who I truly believe made a good choice for themselves, but that's 2 out of like 16 people i know. It does have the look and feel of a fashion trend or a drug fix or something, that's just the feeling i get from personal experience.

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  12. There are case studies where people with "foreign limb syndrome" have had their limbs medically amputated - usually after attempting to do this themselves. I don't know if there's much of a difference between a healthy breast and a healthy leg, except that one is remarkably more easy to remove than another.

    The problem with counselling for severe body dysphoria is if the dysphoria is organically based (i.e, that the sensori-motor cortex is damaged or malfunctioning) then no amount of counselling will change the way the brain works. Counselling or medication may assist in living with the dysphoria, but the whole "this arm/leg/breast is not mine and is not meant to be attached to my body" feeling doesn't go away.

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  13. when you are trans and serious about FTM transition to the pint you want it complete (so I don't refer to those trendsetter who cut ritually their breast and are craving for T like dope but the real transmales), you have to go for top and phallo bottom surgery. So you have to give up breast and a part of your health arm. But it is the price to pay where you are a REAL trans and not those fashion victim who are a shame for us as human being polluting or doctors and policy.

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  14. Funny how female breast dysphoria has been around for centuries, with women chopping off their breasts throughout history.. Oh wait no. It's only since the advent of queer theory and the internet.

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  15. any body-based cure for a mental illness is the same to me
    when transpeople compare themselves to say, women who had to have their breasts or ovaries removed because of cancer or other disease that makes no sense at all
    those are physical cures for physical problems
    you can not cure mental problems with physical treatment, it's absurd and further feeds the delusion

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  16. Prevention surgeries can occur in women who have 60%-82% chance of breast cancer due to gene mutation. Compare to 12% of women who are at risk without the mutation. 25%-55% who have the mutation will develop ovarian cancer. Compare to 1.8% of women who are at risk without the mutation. I'm sure some people will be against such surgery.

    But I would not risk comparing any cancer prevention or survivor of any kind to BD. BD can make a person suicidal. Cancer does not give you the option of death. Dealing with medical consequences and mental consequences are a non-comparison.

    And it almost sounds as if the argument against BIID makes it seem like the physically handicap cannot function in life. It certainly harder but handicap people can have very fulfilling lives. I say this in defense of the handicap not BIID. Which makes the argument in favor of GID vs BIID on function -- void.

    I do ask does the dysmorphia ever go away? After hormones, after surgery, does a transguy just feel like any regular guy? I feel like it is hard to get rid of the past female life. And I do know some really sensitive transguys who are more sensitive than bio guys about certain things but still...do you end up finally being able to relax or is it a gender battle until the end?

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  17. It depends on the body part definitely.

    If someone wants their breasts removed because they don't identify as a female, or their penis removed because they don't identify as a male, hey, go for it. Removing those things will still leave you healthy and functioning. Removing an arm or leg on the other hand IS disabling and I'm not happy at the idea of someone getting this done to themselves even if they want it. That said, they are consenting adults, so if they are sure this is what they need to do to be healthy, then I don't really see a good enough reason to prevent them...

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  18. Quote Anon 3:54 AM: "The problem with counselling for severe body dysphoria is if the dysphoria is organically based (i.e, that the sensori-motor cortex is damaged or malfunctioning) then no amount of counselling will change the way the brain works. Counselling or medication may assist in living with the dysphoria, but the whole "this arm/leg/breast is not mine and is not meant to be attached to my body" feeling doesn't go away."

    If this can be disproven scientifically then I will be happy to stand up and say it is *never* okay to remove a body part. Until then no.

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  19. If the person wants a healthy body part removing it all depends on the body part.
    The body part should not impair their dexterity or mobility
    Why?
    Loss in sense, dexterity and mobility is considered a handicap that can effect someone’s ability to work/live without help.
    Depending on your country, people that are disabled may receive benefits, people shouldn’t be able to choose to become disabled for this benefit.
    Other than that people cut off/out healthy body parts all the time. Tonsils, foreskin, pieces of bone, tissue, fat etc.
    Should we deny men the right to be circumcised? (although i disagree parents should have the right to circumcise their children)
    what about altering the physical body?
    what about having your tongue split or having a vasectomy or a Hysterectomy?
    ive seen men remove their nipples just as a body mod.
    Its totally up to the person.
    All people in a free country should have this right.

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  20. I try not to judge this, it's a personal choice. However, I know that I'd rather remove my breasts than my legs, even if there were no discomfort associated with my breasts. Removing my breasts would leave me fully mobile, whereas removing my legs would needlessly put me in a wheelchair and undo all my hard work at the gym and walking around town. :p

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  21. You know what, cutting off your breasts because you think you're going to feel better, whatever, go for it. Not going to debate that.

    What I will debate is what you're going to do next when you find out that there's a whole lot of things that you'll have to do that are a buttload harder to do than a one-time surgery and taking T every month. You know, like actually BEING a MAN. Men have very strict rules and regulations and born men don't take well to outsiders playacting their parts and using their fake dicks at the urinal.

    And if you don't have a dick? Shudder. Go ahead, think it all the way through. Picture yourself a kinda smallish (but hairy!) dude hangin' out next to a real guy in the lav, comparing dicks. Oh wait, you don't have one! Yer in for a real good time you are. Real men will expect you to act like an actual man and when you don't? Woooo boy.

    Don't think loppin' off your tits and takin' T will ever be enough. Just read the manly man transman commenters here - they're telling you that the only way to be a real transman is to do the whole SRS show, fake dick included. Otherwise you're just a poser.

    Imagine that. Real men and transmen with transplanted dicks will all think you're a poser. I'm sure that realization will keep you all warm and happy at night, rubbing speschul cream into your tit scars.

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  22. @3:02
    boy, where do i start.
    You know, for one reason or another some men don’t have penisis?
    im sure you know that, but i bet you would never say what you just said to one of those unfortunate gentlemen, that’s right, prosthetic dicks are NOT just for transmen.
    some women have larger clits than some men’s dicks. I guess their “less of a man” in your eyes.
    “Men have very strict rules and regulations and born men don't take well to outsiders playacting their parts and using their fake dicks at the urinal”
    says who? You? Which culture?
    this is simply you talking out your arse.
    You know trans people are aware of the struggles of transitioning, these people don’t just jump in and think it will all be ok after 1 operation.
    They understand all this, and are brave enough to take that leap.
    “act like an actual man” so, in your mind, what exactly does an “actual man” act like? What about camp men? Are they not men? You make no sense.
    “Real men and transmen with transplanted dicks will all think you're a poser”
    says who? You? Who the hell says “poser”? is that an American culture thing? Or is it just a 14 year old little girl kind of thing?
    “rubbing speschul cream into your tit scars.”
    are you mocking people with scars?
    what are you doing? Lots of people have scars for all kinds of reasons.
    over all, what are you trying to achieve?
    your comments are very hateful, why are you attempting to make these people feel bad? Does it make you feel better?
    honestly, your comment says ALOT more about you than it does about anyone else.
    Grow up.

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  23. Anyone who claims men don't look at each other's dicks at the urinal is 1) a liar 2) never been in a men's bathroom 3) isn't smart enough to ask a man what happens there 4) is lying to herself to keep from facing reality (or ALL of those). Straight women know more about what men do in bathrooms than all the wannabees on the planet.

    Men know you're a poser, girlfriend, your delusion is only your own.

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  24. So, you use the mens room then? I've used the mens room for many years now and no that does not happen in the mens room. Most of them only have one urinal and 2 stalls. I've never seen no guy looking over at another guys shoulder to look at his dick.

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  25. FYI

    Males born without a penis are 1 in every 5-6 million. Men can have phallo surgery due to accidental damage to their penis or due to not being born with one. The average adult male penis when erect is 5-7 inches in length. The average adult female clitoris is .16-.20 inches in length. The classification for abnormally large clits .22 - .31 inches for females, intersex, and females with genetic disorders. The average male baby .9-2.2 inch in length.

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  26. There are so many liars that come to these threads, especially late in the convo. Liars and posers. You're as obvious here as you are in the head, girlfriend. You should have asked all your gay boyfriends what actually happens before you tried to pose here.

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  27. @anon April 9, 2011 9:52 PM:

    Not every country allows T to be prescribed so quickly, this seems to be a US thing.

    I know in the UK, that they have to jump through enormous hoops to get T. Minimum waits being 18 months to 2 years.

    Younger trans have to wait longer.

    Their not even considered for surgery until they have lived as a man for 2 years.

    So by the time they get to see T they are well aware of the implications, and those that are serious about transition, see it through, to fruition, where as those that aren't drop out.

    I do think that it is too readily available in America, its shocking how quickly people can get it.

    perhaps some countries should lead by UK's example. That way you filter out those that are a more 'phasing' trans, and those that do make it to the end, are truly trans.

    If that makes any sense?

    I am pro choice, but I do believe that it shouldnt be so easy. IMO

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  28. Claiming BIID sufferers may want removal for financial benefits of the handicap reminds me of how FTMs are accused of transitioning to receive higher paying male jobs. Some of you need to pop in Murderball for a quick (and fun) reality check on the handicapped! I have never heard any BD sufferers compare their transition as simple body modifications or optional cosmetic surgery like a nose job. It's usually about disassociation and suicide prevention. It's odd that BD sufferers of ALL people forget the basics. It would be interesting if someone with classified BIID (non-trans) were here to comment.

    I think there is a link of a person with BIID and GID who discussed comparisons. Anyone know of what I am talking about?

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  29. How quickly can a person get T in the States legally?

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  30. Actually men both gay and straight check each other penis's out in bathrooms and locker rooms with regularity.

    dirt

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  31. Some of you are completely ridiculous. You think straight guys look at each other's dicks in the bathroom? That's a good way to get punched.

    Why are people so obsessed with what trans guys do in the bathroom, anyway? It's kind of weird and creepy.

    As for the original question, I think it's a decision to be made on a case-by-case basis between the patient and his or her doctor.

    I think surgery in general is a serious decision, and since limb amputation is substantially more risky and disabling than mastectomy, it should be taken even more seriously. But in the event that the patient and doctor decide that it's necessary to avert more serious harm (suicide, attempted self-amputation) then I'm not categorically against it.

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  32. I'm sure dirt (a self proclaimed woman born woman identified person) knows all about what happens in the mens room.

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  33. As a typical Butch who grew up with and still maintains a large group of male friends both gay and straight, I know damn plenty.

    dirt

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  34. Why do some transguys use STPs if no one is ever going to look? Why do some transguys opt to use stalls instead? People may glance sometimes that's why. Its non-sexual. It happens. Now gawking will either get you hit in the mouth or hit on...lol.

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  35. Evan,

    Why do you think surgeons have been so keen to cut into ambiguous bits and make everyone's bits match? They seem to be convinced that everyone compares parts.

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  36. There are a variety of STP types. They don't all look like dicks. Even some natal men use the stall even when they have to piss. Be it shy bladder or fear of another dude looking at their dick. Trans men aren't the only ones who sometimes use a stall.

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  37. I know not all STPs or makeshift STPs look like penises. And if men didn't use stalls, there wouldn't be stalls in the restroom! So I know they use 'em. All I spoke on was why transguys bring these issues up if it is a mute point. It's not a mute point that's why. It's important to them to not have issues while in the public restrooms. I don't blame 'em. I just don't see any sense of denying it. Of course, there's no need to make a huge issue out of it either.

    Oh and for whoever said "a self proclaimed woman born woman identified person"Was that ALL really necessary? *smh* LOL!!!!

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  38. oh and the stp thing. It's hard to piss standing up without an stp

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  39. I can see the point in "well they'll just kill themselves otherwise" (it's not a valid logical argument but yes I can see the point). And yet it quickly morphs into manipulation: You will respect my identity else I will kill myself.

    And that's the part where I have say no. Guilty-trippy manipulation is what assholes do. Transgendered people are not fighting for the right for everyone to have their own thoughts and own opinions, they are exactly like the religious nutcases who fight for the right to force their ideology down everybody else's throat.

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  40. The thing about transgenderism is that it actually requires the compliance of everyone around them. They literally can't maintain the fantasy of being a different biological sex if other people refuse to believe their ideology is true. When a rape crisis center says "only women can sleep here tonight" in a room where six other women are sleeping, the trans scream discrimination.

    Society is required to pretend without proof that there is some essential essence contained within male and female bodies which somehow magically has nothing to do with socialization or cultural expectations. We're required to believe without proof that "brain sex" exists (and yes I'm aware they like to claim a few studies prove brain sex but notice how the vast majority of scientists aren't accepting that hogwash as legitimate.) Transgenderism demands that society not just accomodate a physical handicap but accept the equivilent of a religious belief as valid. Without any proof that their god even exists, or that their particular god is any more real than any other imaginary god.

    What would you say if the government forced you to act as if some wacky god was real?

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  41. 5:13
    5:42
    whoever commented on my comment.

    anon, all you have done is spew nonsense or more nonsense that really had nothing to do with my post,
    example:"Males born without a penis are 1 in every 5-6 million"
    I wasnt being spercific. you jump to conclusions, their are many reasons a man may have no penis (or not much of one)
    You sound very immature and hateful and i doubt anything will cure your ignorance but age. So when you grow up (if that ever happens) then maybe we can have a real discussion ;)
    peace im going on vacation woooooo
    bye all.

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  42. irritated psych postgradApril 11, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    I see so much ad-hoc dismissal of the differences in male and female brains. How much study in the fields of neuro-psychology have these people done? How many peer reviewed articles have they read? How well do they know the lobes, cortices and gyri of the brain, as well as their functions?

    There are many studies showing differences in brain structure between males and females - grey vs white matter, PET scans, FMRI studies. At least the first is biologically based, though with all functionality tests on adults there is no single cause - the differences in functioning could be caused by socialisation as well as biology.

    A simple way of showing this is through psychiatric disorders - if there were no differences in the brain makeup of the sexes, we would see just as many men diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and depression as women. But we don't. We also don't see anywhere near as many women with anti-social personality disorder (psychopathy) or psychosis as we do men. A large part of all these disorders is organic - they occur within the structure of the brain.

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  43. "if there were no differences in the brain makeup of the sexes, we would see just as many men diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and depression as women. But we don't"...

    There are a myriad of social inequalities and injustices due to misogyny that lead females to suffer from depression in similar illnesses to greater degrees than men. High numbers of depressive disorders in women is a social issue, not a brain issue.

    dirt

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  44. also theres the fact that mental disorders go through fads as well. look at multiple personality disorder- esp after the 'Cybil' movie.
    or borderline personality disorder thru the 90's.
    little in this world is safe from trends and fads.

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  45. Anonymous April 11, 2011 4:43 AM

    We aren't the same Anonymous people. LOL. Maybe you should calm down before addressing anyone. I never addressed you or anyone in a harmful manner. I just posted FACTUAL information. I decided to look up specific medical informational statistics. You shouldn't assume someone is ANTI-TRANS just based on posting factual information!

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  46. irritated psych postgradApril 13, 2011 at 5:42 AM

    Dirt, I'd leave the pop-psych to the people who know about it.

    Were depression caused by social inequalities, then we would also see greater-than-representative numbers of other socially marginalised groups (People of colour, poor people, people whose religions are persecuted, etc) but we don't. In fact, the countries with the highest rates of depression are in Scandinavia - Some of the most socially equal countries on earth. This is because they also have long winters with very little sunlight, which reduces vitamin D levels and elevates cortisol.

    Depression can have an external trigger - but it is persistent and marked by the lack of neurotransmitters in the brain, especially seretonin and dopamine.

    Calling depression a social ill plays into the "get over it and pull yourself together" mentality which leads to suicide (ironically, in highest percentages among young men.)

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  47. irritated psych postgrad:

    i don't buy that theory. i can't sit here and argue with you on a intellectual level because i am not a college grad. but i am a person who grew up in the projects of color so i do know about that.
    you don't see so many disadvantaged people with these illnesses, because most are too busy worried about how to feed their families and themselves to be afforded the luxury of so much self focus.
    i can imagine you don't see it as much as well because most do not have access to mental health- nor do they have the time for it. most resort instead to drink and drugs to cope.
    i can imagine also that you don't see it in say 3rd world countries as again they don't have access to mental health.
    so yeah i don't buy it.
    i do think that real mental illness exists- but not how we see it today. 95% of all the white people i know are on some sort of antidepressant, or anxiety drug.

    it reminds me of how anorexia is a illness of privlege as well. people who have real concern of actually being able to eat somehow don't develop this.

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  48. irritated psych postgradApril 13, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    That's the beauty of science. It doesn't require for you to buy it to be empirically true.

    I can tell you about a theory (and this IS only a theory) which says one reason for people who are better off but lead stressful lives are permenantly stressed to have higher rates of depression is because stress hormones are exuded in sweat - and white collar workers and soccer moms don't sweat much, thus an excess of stress hormones interferes with brain function.

    The diagnosis of any disorder will be skewed by lots of things - drug propoganda, doctors willing to wave a perscription at problem patients, the addictiveness of anti-anxiety meds, whether a population trusts doctors, societal attitudes toward mental illness... But none of these change the way a disorder works.

    Strangely enough, because most "third world" countries are hot countries, the proportion of affluent (yes, those not in a position where they are fighting for their lives) people diagnosed with depression is much lower than in comparason to developed countries.

    Anorexia is a different kettle of fish all together. It has a biological basis (identical twins are more likely to both suffer from it than fraternal twins) and it isn't just a recent thing - see medieval fasting saints. However, societal expectations play a huge role in the number of girls who develop it. We expect perfection from our children and girls decide the best way to relieve that pressure is to starve. It requires a surplus of food to exist - you don't get the control to say no to food if the food is not there. Mind you, it also fucks up the brain: body dismorphia, auto-opiate addiction, brain size decrease and the induction of psychosis are what make anorexia so deadly.

    Annnd... Rant done. tl;dr - the plural of anecdote is not evidence.

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  49. (a) irritated psych postgrad: I think I love you.

    (b) has anyone but me noticed that Dirt has, again, let a blog topic that is supposedly "just a question" devolve into a "let's poke sticks at the FTM's" contest?

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  50. I'm not trans myself, I'm physically female and identify as such, but I currently have a trans boyfriend, ftm. He didn't grow into the idea of being trans, or choose to be that way later on in life, after being exposed to our society and its normalcy of the one-or-the-other viewpoints on gender. Also, just to put sexual preference as being a reason for transitioning out of the way, he considers himself pan and has been with both males and females of different sexual orientations. According to him he always felt male. When he was a child, he acted and felt in a way that a male child would, even before he realized there was a distinction between the sexes. In fact, because of his predicament, he didn't even realize he was "transexual" until later on towards the beginning of his adolescent life. Though, it was after realizing that there was a difference between his physical makeup and that of an actual male, that he began to feel very self conscious. It's true - he hates the way his body looks, and it's true, a lot of this has to do with the way society sees him. We live in a society where heterosexuality is the norm, and the only way to live without significant prejudice, in terms of sexuality, is to fall into one group or the other - male or female. By appearance, anyway. But as you can see, in his case, he isn't choosing to be one or the other because of dysmorphia or a feeling of inadequacy or whatever you seem to be suggesting...to a certain degree these feelings have emerged from his realization of the fact that he is a male in a female's body, in a society where there is a distinction between male and female, yes, but his hatred of his body doesn't stem from his hatred of his physical sex, but of the fact that his mental sex differs from the physical. You can only change one or the other, and if removing his breasts is all he can do while still having the capacity to feel sexual stimulation while passing as normal in this society, it will have to do for him. I'm pretty sure he would give up an arm to have been fully born a boy or girl, though, considering all the stress and pain being in limbo causes him.

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  51. @Irritated Post Grad

    "Were depression caused by social inequalities, then we would also see greater-than-representative numbers of other socially marginalised groups (People of colour, poor people, people whose religions are persecuted, etc) but we don't. In fact, the countries with the highest rates of depression are in Scandinavia - Some of the most socially equal countries on earth. This is because they also have long winters with very little sunlight, which reduces vitamin D levels and elevates cortisol."

    Actually women have highr rates of depression then men regardless of social group but you left that out

    "Depression can have an external trigger - but it is persistent and marked by the lack of neurotransmitters in the brain, especially seretonin and dopamine."

    The role of seretonin and dopamine is unproven and experts have stated that they have no direct proof that SSRI's actually work

    "Calling depression a social ill plays into the "get over it and pull yourself together" mentality which leads to suicide (ironically, in highest percentages among young men.)"

    No not really. Citing the role that environment plays does not imply that people should not be helped. And the key word here is role. It is well known that depression has a strong genetic componant, but not all with the predisposition get it hence the role of environment.

    More men with depression kill themselves because they tend to use more violent methods while women make more attempts but use less violent means and as a result are less successful. This is well known, but i suspect you choose not to cite it because it does not bolster your arguement.

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