Gender-Affirming Surgery Lowers Need for Mental Health Treatment, Study Finds

A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that transgender people who receive gender confirmation surgeries have better mental health.

The study reviewed ten years of medical data from Sweden, looking at data from 2,679 transgender people 2005 and 2015. The team recorded whether these individuals had gender-affirming surgeries or hormone and whether they received treatment for mental health.

70 percent of those studies took hormones, while 48 percent had gender-affirming surgery (97 percent of whom also had hormone treatment).

Compared with individuals who weren’t transgender or experiencing gender incongruence, those who did were six times more likely to be hospitalized after trying to end their lives, six times likelier to visit a doctor because of a mood or anxiety disorder, and three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants and anxiolytics.

However, the researchers found that the longer after seeking gender-affirming surgery, the less likely they were to need mental health treatment. With every year that passed their surgery, the likelihood of receiving mental health treatment dropped eight percent. Interestingly, hormone therapy did not have the same effect.

“[This study gives] strong support for providing gender-affirming care to transgender individuals who seek them,” study co-author Richard Bränström told Newsweek. “This calls for improvements in the mental health support provided to this group.”