transgender / adhd

by mary alice

My son was a normal 23 year old college student in Northern California that was diagnosed with ADHD a little over two years ago he has been medicated since then.

In the fall of last year out of the blue with NO behavior, indication, symptom, told us that he is a trans gender. He has been dressing as a girl for the past two months. He had a normal childhood with regular ups and downs and never displayed an interest in dressing or acting out as a girl.

The family history has a few (2) suicides and bipolar in his father, his uncle his paternal grandmother and a cousin on his mothers (me) side of the family. He was initially medicated with Adderall he decided not take medication over the summer and began taking Concerta in the fall when he returned to school.

He never displayed any gender identity issues as a child or until last fall. He is a good student and we sought help on the question of ADHD because one of his professors wondered why he studied so hard and was not seeing the results in his grades. After he took the Adderall he improved markabily in his grades.

This trans gender issue is so out of left field we wondered if he may have something going on. He saw a psychologist and after one or two 50 minute visits with her she diagnosed him as a trans gender. We went to meet with her to try and understand how she arrived at this diagnosis so quickly and she told us that she ran a list through her head and saw that he made more eye contact and was happier when she agreed that he was trans gender.

We need help to be sure he has had a proper diagnosis. Are we wrong to question this diagnosis? HELP!

Hi Mary Alice

No. You are never wrong to question a diagnosis. However, I am not an expert on trans gender issues. In fact, I know little to nothing about them. I think your impression of the psychologist not giving you a persuasive answer or thorough explanation of the issue is at the crux of your uncertainty.

Perhaps it may good to express directly to your son your concern about the psychologist and asking for some more information from him about what he has experienced. Obviously this is a sensitive area and subject for him. It may also be helpful , or be helpful to first consult with a specialist in trans gender issues who may have more information on how this originates.

Good luck to you.


Kristen McClure

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Jun 10, 2017
Transgender/ADHD NEW
by: Anonymous

Just some food for thought.....
If somebody realizes that they have the wrong gender AND given that they know how society feels about this and how they will be treated when they come out......
Well, seems to me those would be some pretty distracting thoughts, don't you? I'm not a big believer in the ADHD diagnosis and from what I've seen, there is usually something else going on.
I do believe they have gender dysphoria and that it is very anxiety inducing and distracting to come to this realization. They don't have ADHD.

May 16, 2017
Post Is A Bit Old, But... NEW
by: Anonymous

This post is a bit old but I want to post my response for the benefit of any parent (or trans person with ADHD) who finds this topic while searching for answers.

One person who commented below said that gender dysphoria (the current DSM V designation) cannot be diagnosed if there is an underlying condition. This is not true. The effects of underlying conditions have to be ruled out and these conditions have to be controlled, but it is not a counter-indication. Most transfolk suffer from some sort of anxiety and/or depression as a result of having to live most of their lives in a role they never felt comfortable in and any doctor excluding people with other conditions would be both cruel and unprofessional. If you don't believe me, look up the WPATH Standards of Care (you can find it online).

As a trans woman with ADHD myself (successfully transitioned since 2014) I can tell you that almost every time someone says they are transgender, they're the best judge of that. There is a lot of anxiety, especially among parents (and even some doctors and counselors, unfortunately) that this might be some early warning sign of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or borderline personality disorder, but in nearly every case I know of, it became readily apparent after the person started hormone therapy that there was something else wrong. The effects of hormone therapy are largely reversible if it's stopped within a year or so, which means it's better to let someone try it and find out it wasn't the right treatment than to deny it and possibly worsen their anxiety and depression.

I can also tell you that even if it seems "out of the blue" to you, for her it may have been brewing for years. When I came out to my mother in 2012 she thought it was sudden and impulsive, but by then I'd been questioning my gender identity for 7 years! Even if you didn't see it, even if she didn't express it or tell you, ultimately you have to understand that you can't know her innermost thoughts and feelings.

Trust the therapist. Give her support. Don't judge her if she decides it's not for her and don't deny her new name is her "real name." It's as real as the name you gave her and calling her by her dead name won't make her change her mind about that; it'll only hurt her in ways you cannot imagine.

More importantly, talk to some trans people. Get to hear their side of the story and you'll learn volumes about what she is going through.

Good luck, and if you're still struggling with this I hope you finally make peace with it.

Aug 01, 2012
Transgender & ADHD NEW
by: Alex Drummond

I appreciate your confusion and can see you are upset by these revelations. As a clinician in the field with clinical and research interests in ADHD and transgender I would firstly start by reassuring you that both conditions are perfectly natural variations of the human condition and according to the latest research (both in the UK and Holland) surprisingly common in partnership. If ADHD normally occurs in around 4% of the population we discover around 14% co-existence in the clinical population presenting at gender clinics. In making sense of where the whole 'being a girl' thing has come from we might wonder how acceptable it would have been for this young person to present as female -perhaps fear of bullying or rejection kept it hidden? Please feel free to email me via my website if you'd like to discuss further.
Alex Drummond MSc(Dist) MBACP(Snr.Accred) BA(QTS) SGD(Accred)

Oct 14, 2011
by: Dr Martin Fahy

It is not possible to give a diagnosis of trans gender if there is an underlying condition. Bi polar family history is a concern and definatly Adhd. TG fulfills his answer for Why am I different. I would report the psychologist. I would also go to a clinical psychologist, not a trans gender therapyst as their mind is already made up. This is just an incompedent lazy therapyst, and very dangerous.

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