Social anxiety is a common mental health disorder, wherein the sufferer tries hard to avoid all possible social contacts. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines social anxiety disorder (SAD) as “a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others”. This fear may be so severe that it can interfere with one’s work, school and other activities and may negatively affect his or her ability to form relationships.
When it comes to individuals who identify as transgender, the probability of mental health issues increases to a greater degree. Whether it is anxiety, depression or a susceptibility to commit suicide, the transgender community has to grapple with such distress and impairment owing to stigma, discrimination, abuse and lack of acceptance they face on a regular basis.
Transgender individuals face discrimination even by health care professionals
Compared to the ordinary population, people with a transgender identity are more vulnerable to social anxiety. According to a report published in the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), between 30 to 60 percent of lesbians, gay, transgender or bisexuals could suffer from depression or anxiety at some point in their lives. The rate is nearly 1.5 to 2.5 times higher than the general population.
Some of the factors responsible for increased anxiety among transgender people are:
Stress due to minority status: As per psychologists, people belonging to the minority group have to go through abnormally high levels of stress due to inherent differences in their thinking and eating patterns or simply because they are misunderstood by everyone.
Fear of being harassed: There is a lack of empathy toward individuals belonging to the transgender community. An old study conducted by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission revealed that nearly 50 percent of people from the transgender community had faced harassment while trying to use a public convenience. There are instances, where even law enforcement agencies have been apathetic to their plight.
Victimization and discrimination: Considering that most people of the transgender community live under the shadow of violence, victimization and discrimination, the risk of committing suicide is higher in this community. A 2014 survey, conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality, reported that 41 percent of people from the transgender community attempted suicide due to gender-based discrimination and victimizations
Lack of social acceptance: The overwhelming fear of rejection from friends, family and colleagues pushes people from the transgender community to suffer from low self-esteem due to their alternative identity. The lack of social acceptance leads to a drastic impact on the mental wellbeing of the affected individual, causing anxiety or depression.
However, the biggest problem comes from the prevailing misconception that transgender is a gender identity disorder. Identifying transgender as a genetic identity disorder instead of seeking to address the vulnerability of the person further exacerbates the distress. Stigma surrounding the minority status directly affects the health of an ostracized individual by encouraging him or her to avoid social encounters and to desist from seeking help from health care professionals. Such individuals also reach out for addictive substances to mitigate their anxiety and depression.
Road to recovery
Untreated anxiety disorders can affect one’s performance, social functioning and relationships. It can also lead to more serious mental and physical health problems down the road. As soon as a person realizes the severity of anxiety, he or she should access the best treatment.
If you or your loved is suffering from anxiety-related symptoms, it is time to seek expert advice. Get in touch with the Florida Helpline for Anxiety to get information about the best anxiety disorders treatment centers in Florida. You may contact us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-920-9834 or chat online with our representatives for expert advice regarding the general anxiety disorders treatment in Florida.