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Dr. Zabrin Inan, MD
Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry
  Chicago

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Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation is not a mental disorder

FOR MORE INFORMATION
These websites can provide more information on this topic:

National Mental Health Association
www.nmha.org

American Psychiatric Association
www.psych.org

American Academy of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry
www.accap.org

American Psychological Association
www.apa.org

Family Institute at Northwestern University
www.family-institute.org/therapy/lgbt.htm

Parents, Families, and Friends
of Lesbians and Gays
www.pflag.org

Among the excellent print resources available to families and schools are:

  • �What Does Gay Mean?� How to Talk with Kids About Sexual Orientation and Prejudice� (www.nmha.org)
  • �Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation & Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel� (www.apa.org)

Notice how "gay� or �lesbian� is not in the title; it's neither just a debate nor radicalism.

  •  It�s been three decades since the American Psychiatric Association stated homosexuality is normal human behavior.
  • The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry states, "Parents need to clearly understand that homosexual orientation is not a mental disorder." 
    Click here to read the association's fact sheet #63, "Gay and Lesbian Adolescents.")
  •  In 1997, the American Psychologist Association's Council of Representatives spelled out a client's right to unbiased treatment and self-determination. 

    Raising happy, well-adjusted children

    Counseling can benefit teens and their families when it has one clear and definite purpose: that understanding of positive value and constructive usefulness will come out of it. Any person who enters into therapy to deal with issues of sexual orientation has a right to expect that therapy would take place in a professionally neutral environment free of any bias. The Family Institute at Northwestern University is among the organizations in Illinois that specifically provide sexual orientation counseling.

    Growing up is a demanding and challenging task for every adolescent.  While trying to deal with all the challenges of being a teenager, gay and lesbian teens additionally have to deal with harassment directed at them on a daily basis. Studies show they hear anti-gay slurs about 26 times a day or once every 14 minutes.

    Even more troubling, a study cited on the National Mental Health Association website found that 31% of gay youth had been threatened or injured at school. Anti-gay prejudice affects all adolescents too: for every gay, lesbian and bisexual youth who reported being harassed, four students said they were harassed because they were perceived as being gay or lesbian.

    It is also important to understand that a parent's sexual orientation does not dictate that of his or her children. Studies comparing groups of children raised by homosexual and by heterosexual parents find no developmental differences between the children in their intelligence, psychological adjustment, social adjustment, and popularity with friends.

    When a gay or lesbian teen or adult should seek help

    There is some evidence that gay and lesbian teens and adults suffer a high frequency of depression and anxiety.  Again, however, it is important to assess whether this is related to issues about sexual orientation�which is not a mental disorder.

    I treat gay and lesbian teens and adults who suffer from diagnosable disorders such as ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety disorders and eating disorders.  All are diagnosable and treatable disorders.  Treatment couples medication and therapy focused on the specific diagnosed disorder and any related diagnosed symptoms or disorder.

    Medication and therapy is prescribed only after a thorough evaluation of symptoms and diagnosis. It is important to understand that medications do not �cure� either physical health or mental health disorders. For example, just as insulin reduces or controls the symptoms of diabetes but do not �cure� the diabetes, psychotherapeutic medications reduce or control the symptoms of depression.

    • Many depressed and anxious people, for example, may need medication for a single period�perhaps for several months�and then never need it again.
    • Others, whose depression or anxiety is chronic or recurrent, may have to take medication indefinitely. This is no different than taking insulin for diabetes.   

    Coordination of Care  

    I am happy to help refer teens and their families, and adults to therapists, typically PhD psychologists or a Master�s level therapists, who are experienced in sexual orientation counseling. I do not recommend �reparative� or �conversion� therapy, or prescribe medication for this counseling approach. 

    I do consult with a teen�s or adult�s sexual orientation therapist to ensure coordination and continuity of care when I am treating the teen or adult for  a diagnosable disorder such as ADHD, mood disorder, anxiety disorder or eating disorder. 

    In the case of all eating disorders, I require periodic physical health examinations, and consultation with the primary care physician.

    Finally, all patient psychotherapy notes are privacy protected�meaning they are kept strictly separate from medical records. This has nothing to do with sexual orientation; it is a matter of privacy for all patients. I work with other physicians, and PhD and Master�s level therapists who practice the same privacy guidelines. 



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    Dr. Zabrin Inan, MD
      Chicago
     
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