October 09, 2019
1 min watch

Transgender treatment controversies persist among clinicians

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SAN DIEGO — In a video interview, Jack Drescher, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, talked about his presentation on the controversies surrounding treatment of transgender children and adolescents.

“Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of expertise out there in treating [these patients], although that is changing,” Drescher said. “I’m not here to settle the controversies. I’m here to explain the controversies because I think it requires a larger consensus from practitioners who talk about what makes the most sense for the kids.”

Drescher noted that a major controversy in this treatment area is whether this group of patients should be treated at all. He provided the example that some within the medical community believe patients who identify as transgender should be discouraged from expressing any “gender atypicality.” The other side of the debate, he added, suggests that gender nonconformity should be embraced by aiding patients in the transition process.

The implementation of puberty suppression is also another major controversy, according to Drescher.

“All the approaches do puberty suppression for kids when it’s necessary, usually when a child is approaching puberty who is gender dysphoric and the child is anxious or sometimes even suicidal because they’re afraid of the coming pubertal changes that may occur,” Drescher said.

Disclosures: Drescher reports no relevant financial disclosures.