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Pediatricians Cast Doubt on Efficacy of ‘Gender-Affirming’ Therapies for Teens

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) has released a statement challenging the effectiveness of “gender-affirming” therapies for adolescents with gender dysphoria.

According to the organization, therapies such as social transition, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones lack demonstrable long-term benefits for youths struggling with gender identity issues.

Evidence Review by ACPeds

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The ACPeds conducted a comprehensive review of 60 research papers focusing on the mental health outcomes of adolescents with gender dysphoria.

The organization’s position statement, authored by Dr. Jane Anderson, asserts that these therapies offer no significant improvements in the psychosocial well-being of affected youths.

Concerns Raised About Mental Health

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Despite the increasing use of “gender-affirming” treatments, ACPeds highlighted the persistently high rates of mental health issues among adolescents identifying as transgender.

The fact sheet accompanying the position statement emphasized that many youths grappling with gender dysphoria already suffer from conditions like depression and anxiety, regardless of treatment.

Critique of Social Affirmation

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ACPeds questioned the efficacy of social affirmation, including the use of preferred pronouns, in improving the long-term well-being of transgender-identified youths.

The organization argued that such affirmations do not address underlying mental health concerns and may not provide the intended benefits.

Debate Over Puberty Blockers and Hormonal Interventions

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The review by ACPeds also cast doubt on the efficacy of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormonal interventions.

Despite their widespread use, these treatments were found to have little mental health benefit and were associated with potential risks, including a higher need for psychiatric care.

Concerns About Reversibility and Long-Term Consequences

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Dr. Brett Osborn, a neurologist and longevity expert, cautioned against the irreversible consequences of gender-affirming surgeries and hormone-altering therapies.

He emphasized the importance of a holistic approach, including intensive psychiatric interventions, before considering such treatments for adolescents.

Calls for Conservative Approach

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Echoing concerns raised by ACPeds, Dr. Marc Siegel, a clinical professor of medicine, advocated for a more conservative approach in treating gender dysphoria among minors.

He stressed the need to address underlying mental health issues before pursuing irreversible treatments like surgery.

Support for Gender-Affirming Care

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In contrast to the ACPeds’ position, organizations like the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Office of Population Affairs (OASH) have expressed support for gender-affirming care.

They argue that such care improves the mental health and overall well-being of transgender and nonbinary youths.

Response from AAP

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also stands in support of comprehensive gender-affirming healthcare for youth.

The organization advocates for the inclusion of gender identity in electronic health records and research files to better address the needs of gender-diverse adolescents.

Continued Debate and Research

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The conflicting perspectives on gender-affirming care reflect ongoing debates within the medical community.

While some advocate for a conservative approach, others emphasize the importance of providing supportive and inclusive healthcare services for transgender and nonbinary youths.

Conclusion: Balancing Medical Needs and Mental Health

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As the discussion surrounding “gender-affirming” therapies continues, the welfare of adolescents with gender dysphoria remains paramount.

While there are differing opinions on the most appropriate treatment approaches, medical professionals strive to prioritize patient well-being and provide comprehensive care that addresses both medical and mental health needs.

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