Sweden sees sharp rise in gender dysphoria among young people

Sweden sees sharp rise in gender dysphoria among young people
The report also shows that many people with gender dysphoria also suffer from mental health issues. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
The number of teenagers registered as girls at birth who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria has increased by almost 1,500 percent in ten years in Sweden, according to a new report.

A new report by Sweden's Board of Health and Welfare examines mental health and the rise of gender dysphoria – a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because they feel that their gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth do not match – in the past decade.

The 1,500-percent rise was seen among teenagers defined as girls at birth and aged 13-17, but other groups also saw an increase according to the report.

In the same period, between 2008 and 2018, the number of registered men aged 18-24 and diagnosed with gender dysphoria grew by 400 percent.

“There is no doubt that there is a clear increase, but we do not know what causes the increase,” Peter Salmi, analyst at the Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), said in a statement.

Almost 6,000 people had some kind of gender dysphoria diagnosis in Sweden in 2018.

But the report also shows widespread mental illness within the group, with the majority also being diagnosed with for example depression or anxiety, especially young people registered as girls at birth.

Autism, self-harm and suicide attempts were also more common compared to the population as a whole, with people diagnosed with gender dysphoria running a higher risk of dying from suicide.

However, the report also suggests that people with other psychiatric diagnoses are also more at risk of suicide, which the report concludes makes it hard to determine which diagnosis causes the higher risk.

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