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How To Support Your Mental Health If You’re Transgender

The transgender community often faces challenges when it comes to accessing mental health care. Along with facing higher rates of marginalization, trans individuals may have more difficulties accessing quality care. If you’re transgender and searching for ways to support your mental health, Circle Medical is here to help. Read on to learn more or book your appointment with Circle Medical to talk to a supportive health care professional.

Prioritizing Your Health as a Trans Person

It’s important for transgender individuals to remember to prioritize their mental and physical well-being. Unfortunately, the healthcare system can sometimes be difficult to navigate for trans people. 

More than most, trans individuals will need to advocate for themselves on their healthcare journey to ensure they feel supported and heard. One of the best ways to do this is to educate yourself about transgender healthcare and seek out trans-friendly health care providers. Health care providers who have experience in transgender care and who identify as trans-friendly will be more understanding of your needs and will be able to provide appropriate care, such as gender-affirming treatments, if desired.

If you’ve found a trans-friendly health care provider, make sure to communicate openly and honestly with your provider about your concerns, preferences and any potential barriers you feel you’re facing. Also, if you’re unable to find care from a trans-friendly provider, remember to advocate for yourself in other medical settings. You may need to educate your health care provider on your individual needs and circumstances.

Factors That Affect Transgender Mental Health

The mental health of transgender individuals can be influenced by several factors that are typically unique to the LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities. Identifying and addressing these factors is essential for making the health industry more inclusive for the trans community. These factors may include:

  • Discrimination — One major factor that affects the mental health of trans individuals is discrimination and marginalization. The discrimination and social rejection often experienced by the trans community can lead to increased stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. 
  • Access to healthcare — Access to appropriate healthcare can also play a major role in the mental health of trans individuals. Many members of the trans community face barriers when it comes to accessing gender-affirming care. Gender-affirming care can lead to positive mental health outcomes, but limited access to these essential services can lead to feelings of gender dysphoria, stress and other issues.
  • Lack of support — Many trans individuals may be rejected by their family, friends and their community in general. Without a support structure, an individual may feel isolated and alone, leading to feelings of depression and other negative mental health outcomes.
  • Additional obstacles — Trans individuals who are members of other minority groups such as people of color or disabled individuals may face additional challenges and stressors that can negatively impact their mental health.

It’s important to remember that discrimination, limited access to healthcare, lack of social support, intersectional identities and more can play a role in the mental well-being of a trans individual. By recognizing these obstacles, members of the trans community can see that they’re not alone and the healthcare industry can take steps toward being more inclusive and better understanding the challenges that trans patients face.

Tips for Managing Mental Health Issues

Here are some tips for managing mental health issues as a trans person:

  • Seek LGBTQ+-friendly therapy — Therapy can be a great way to manage a range of mental health issues. They can provide guidance, support and therapy tailored to you. Numerous therapists have specific experience working with the LGBTQ+ community, so make sure to seek this out when choosing your therapy option.
  • Build a support network — Having family and friends who affirm and validate you is great, but this may not always be readily available for everyone. In that case, there are support groups and online communities to join that can help you connect with others and have a safe space to share your feelings and experiences.
  • Set up boundaries — To protect your own mental well-being, you may have to sometimes set hard boundaries with people who are unsupportive of you.
  • Stay educated — Educating yourself about transgender mental health is a great way to stay up to date with the resources available to you. You can find online resources, books and more to help educate you about the general transgender healthcare industry, which may help you on your own mental health journey.

Remember, managing mental health is an ongoing process, and it's okay to ask for help when you need it. By prioritizing your mental well-being and implementing these tips, you can take proactive steps toward a healthier and happier life.

Ways To Boost Your Wellbeing

One of the best ways to support your own mental health is by taking care of your overall well-being. Here are some tips to help you prioritize your own mental and emotional wellness:

  • Engage in self-care practices — Make sure to regularly take time to engage in activities that make you happy and that help you relax. Whether this is practicing mindfulness, taking a long bath, watching your favorite movie or anything else that supports your emotional happiness. Choose the activities that recharge you and make sure you don’t neglect them in your regular routine.
  • Build healthy relationships — Make sure to surround yourself with supportive, understanding people. Build relationships with friends and family who respect your gender identity and offer a welcoming, inclusive space for you. Healthy relationships can help create a sense of belonging and support, which helps with mental well-being.
  • Get some time in nature — Getting time outdoors has been shown to have mental health benefits. Getting some fresh air by going for a walk, gardening or doing any other outdoor activity can help reduce your stress and improve your mood.
  • Exercise and a balanced diet — As always, regular exercise and a healthy diet can play an important role in both your mental and physical health. Remember to ask your primary care provider before making radical changes in your diet or exercise routine.

Prioritizing your well-being is essential, especially if you’re having a hard time navigating the mental healthcare industry. Remember to always make time to give yourself the time and space you need to enjoy life.

Connect with a doctor or online provider

If you’re a transgender individual and you’re seeking mental health resources, finding a trans-friendly primary care provider is a great place to start. Ideally, you can connect with a health care provider who has experience working with the LGBTQ+ community and who offers gender-affirming care options. 

A doctor who understands transgender healthcare cannot only provide you with the appropriate medical attention, but they can also provide you with a safe, inclusive place to discuss your health concerns in comfort. 

While quality transgender healthcare can sometimes be difficult to access, depending on where you live, there are online options as well. Those who live in rural areas or areas where trans-friendly healthcare isn’t nearby can access quality care through online providers like Circle Medical. Even if you do have quality care nearby, sometimes the privacy and convenience of care from the comfort of your home may be preferable.

Whether you’re seeking in-person care or online care, Circle Medical is here to help.

Book an appointment with a Circle Medical telehealth provider today!

Circle Medical is a full-stack primary care provider that offers in-person and online care for a variety of medical needs. Whether you’re seeking gender-affirming care, mental health care or any other primary care concern, we have you covered. Best of all, you can make a same-day appointment to get started right away! Book your appointment with Circle Medical to speak with one of our primary care providers.

The exact causes of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) still aren’t known, but some small studies have indicated that there may be some connection between ADHD and dopamine levels in the brain. But what is the connection and how thorough is the research? In this blog, we’ll be exploring the relationship between ADHD and dopamine and why it matters. Read on to learn more!

A Brief Introduction

ADHD is a complex neurological disorder that can affect both children and adults. The exact cause of ADHD is still being studied, but there are likely several factors that can lead to someone developing ADHD. Furthermore, the condition can affect people in different ways, making it even more complicated to nail down.

With that being said, there have been numerous ADHD studies conducted over the decades, which has led to some speculation along with some solid theories as to what the true cause of ADHD might be. Amongst the findings is a better understanding of how dopamine regulation might play a part in someone’s risk of developing ADHD. In individuals with ADHD, there has been some evidence of abnormalities in dopamine function, which can contribute to the characteristic symptoms of the disorder.

Before diving deeper into this potential connection, let’s first go over the definition of ADHD.

Understanding ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)

AUnderstanding ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)DHD stands for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. As mentioned, the condition is a complex neurological disorder and it can affect people of all ages. Although the symptoms can vary by individual, the most common characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. 

Those who have ADHD that go undiagnosed may be perceived as lazy or irresponsible, but it’s important to understand that ADHD is a real condition that often affects an individual's ability to focus and make decisions.

Several factors may cause ADHD or increase someone’s risk of developing ADHD. As mentioned, we still don’t fully understand ADHD, but our understanding and treatment options for the condition have vastly improved over the years. One potential connection is dopamine, which we’ll discuss next.

What Is Dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter or a chemical messenger in the brain that regulates our motivation and reward response. Dopamine is often referred to as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter because it is released when we experience something pleasurable or rewarding. 

Individuals with ADHD may have abnormalities in their dopamine function that cause their symptoms of inattentiveness and lack of focus. If an individual with ADHD has lower levels of dopamine or if they don’t get as much dopamine from completing a task, it may make it more difficult for them to maintain focus and regulate their impulses.

It’s important to note that the research into the connection between dopamine and ADHD is far from complete, but there is evidence to suggest that it might play a role. Let’s take a look at what the research says about this potential relationship.

What Does the Research Say?

According to Healthline, the research into the connection between ADHD and dopamine began in 1999. The study looked at two different groups of study participants — one with ADHD and one without — and specifically looked at the DTD levels in each subject.

DTD, or dopamine transporter density, is the measure of dopamine transport density in an individual’s brain and nervous system. Dopamine transporters are proteins and if someone has a higher DTD level, they may have lower dopamine levels. However, it’s important to note that these lower dopamine levels don’t necessarily mean the individual has ADHD, but it does sometimes correlate.

As always, it’s important to note that more research is needed. The dopamine and ADHD studies that have been conducted have been relatively small, so there is no way to definitively say that dopamine levels in the brain have a direct causation to someone having ADHD. Often, experts look at a more holistic view of the underlying factors to determine if someone does or doesn’t have ADHD.

Still, the research into the relationship between dopamine and ADHD is promising. As time goes on and more studies are conducted, we will hopefully gain a more concrete understanding of the relationship between the brain and ADHD, allowing us to identify the exact causes someday.

Treatment Options & Medications

While ADHD is often a chronic condition that you have throughout your life, there are various treatment options and medications that can help manage your symptoms. Typically, the first line of defense for treating ADHD will be lifestyle modifications. If deemed medically appropriate, you may also be prescribed ADHD medication.

The lifestyle changes for ADHD treatments often revolve around helping the patient focus and giving them strategies to deal with the symptoms they struggle with most. These lifestyle changes may include exercising, practicing good sleep hygiene, eating a balanced diet, meditating and engaging in therapeutic interventions like cognitive behavioral therapy. Interestingly, some of the common lifestyle changes recommended for ADHD treatment involve natural ways to regulate dopamine levels. We’ll dive into these methods in a further section.

Prescription medication is also another common ADHD treatment method. Stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate and amphetamines, are some of the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD. These medications work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain, which can help to improve focus and reduce hyperactivity. There are also non-stimulant medications available for those who don’t find the stimulant medications to be effective or those who suffer adverse side effects from these medications. Non-stimulants work by targeting neurotransmitters in the brain that may contribute to ADHD symptoms.

Just as ADHD symptoms can be different for everyone, ADHD treatment is also usually unique to the person. Treatment may involve a combination of medications, therapy and lifestyle changes. What works for one person may not work for another. With guidance from your primary care provider and some patience, you can find the right combination of strategies to help manage symptoms and improve your quality of life.

How To Increase Dopamine Naturally

As we mentioned earlier, ADHD treatment plans will often include lifestyle modifications that naturally increase your dopamine levels. Along with helping to regulate dopamine to manage your ADHD symptoms, these lifestyle changes often have other mental and physical health benefits. With that being said, you should always consult your health care provider before incorporating new lifestyle changes into your routine. 

Here are some of the lifestyle changes your provider may suggest to naturally regulate your dopamine levels:

  • Exercise — Exercise is a great way to naturally boost dopamine. When you exercise, you promote the release of endorphins which stimulates the production of dopamine. Aerobic exercise can be especially effective for this. Make sure to consult your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise routine.
  • Meditation and breathing exercises — Mindfulness techniques such as medication and breathing exercises can help regulate dopamine levels. These practices help to reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can then result in boosted dopamine levels.
  • Sleep quality — Sleep is essential for optimal everyday function, and this is especially the case for those with ADHD symptoms. Sleep deprivation may lead to disruptions in dopamine function, which can then worsen ADHD symptoms. Practicing good sleep hygiene and getting quality sleep each night may help with dopamine regulation and ADHD symptoms overall. 
  • Get some sunlight — Getting outside and getting some sunlight can help to regulate your dopamine levels. Remember to get sunlight in moderation and to wear sun protection to block out harmful rays.
  • Maintaining a balanced diet — A poor diet may disrupt dopamine production, so it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. For dopamine levels specifically, this usually means more protein and fewer saturated fats. It can also be helpful to eat foods or take probiotics that help regulate your gut microbiome. Your health care provider may even recommend some foods or supplements that provide beneficial vitamins and nutrients for dopamine production. Make sure to consult your health care provider about changing your diet for ADHD symptoms.

Connect with a doctor or online provider

If you’re experiencing symptoms of ADHD, it’s important to seek the advice and care of a medical professional. A primary care provider will be able to officially diagnose your ADHD, develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs and monitor your treatment as it progresses.

When choosing your health care provider, you should make sure to seek someone who has experience in ADHD diagnosis and treatment. Circle Medical is an ideal solution for those suffering from ADHD symptoms. Our board-certified providers can determine if you’re a good candidate for ADHD treatment and develop a plan that works for you. Additionally, Circle Medical is a full-stack care clinic — meaning you can receive care in person or online. 

Online ADHD care allows you to get treatment from the comfort of your own home. It’s a great option for those who may not have access to quality care options or for those who simply prefer the convenience of telehealth. If you’re interested in ADHD care, Circle Medical is here to help.

Book an appointment with a Circle Medical telehealth provider today!

Circle Medical is a full-stack primary care provider that offers both in-person and online healthcare options. From diagnosis to treatment to prescriptions when medically necessary, Circle Medical is here for your ADHD care, needs and more. If you’re ready to get started on your healthcare journey, you can make an appointment as soon as today. Book your same-day appointment with Circle Medical today to get started!

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