Aggressive girls always get trauma

Bullying, lying, stealing, fighting, demolishing buses, staying away from home all night. According to the DSM-5, the Guide to Mental Disorders, children and teens who do and insist on doing such things have behavior disorderDeviant behavior disorder. About 2 percent of children and adolescents in the Netherlands receive this diagnosis and because it is mostly about boys, research has primarily focused on them for years.

Helena Oldenhof, 35, a psychologist and researcher at Amsterdam UMC, has now received a PhD researching girls with this behavior disorder. One of her findings is that girls, like boys with conduct disorder, have a physical response to anxiety and stress that differs from that of young men without conduct disorder. In dangerous situations, on average they produce less of the stress hormone cortisol and their heart rate stays lower. For her thesis, Oldenhof collaborated with researchers in Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary, Greece and England. The consortium is called FemNAT-CD and aims to better understand antisocial behavior in girls. Thus you may be able to help them better.

Why separate the search for girls with this disorder?

Oldenhof, via Zoom (she is in quarantine): “Because it’s a very worrying group. This kind of behavior is less common in girls, but when it does happen it is more dangerous mentally, physically and socially. We call this gender discrepancy. Most girls experience trauma. They are sexual They deal with alcohol and drugs at a young age They do not finish school They are more depressed than average They are at risk of becoming victims of violence and often get pregnant at a very young age There is a good chance they will pass their behavioral problems on to their children for this reason alone There are every reason to investigate.”

You see these girls are brutal, angry and rebellious in their puberty

Why is this only happening now?

Arne Popma, a forensic child and adolescent psychiatrist and Oldenhof promoter, said in the same Zoom conversation: “Often they cause less immediate inconvenience than boys. They don’t demolish bus shelters. And if they did, society would take it differently, and less seriously. This Aggression, well, it will explode. Or: There were men and they must have taken the initiative.”

Girls with conduct disorder are less aggressive than boys?

Oldenhof: „They can really go crazy, but they often do things unseen, in the realm of relationships. Bullying and belittling my own pain. One mother told me that her daughter tore the photo of them together in half in front of her. Who notices that? Don’t go to the police for that. You see these girls are brutal, angry and rebellious during puberty. They argue with teachers and peers. They feel rejected and become more and more isolated.”

And act in a sexy way?

or become victims of sexual violence. Often this is done together.”

Popma had already seen fifteen years ago that boys with a behavioral disorder react differently to stress and anxiety, when he got his Ph.D. It was also found that a combination of low levels of cortisol and high levels of the male hormone testosterone in the blood was associated with outright aggression. This could explain, Boma says, why girls with conduct disorder show less outspoken aggression.

Stimuli from the environment are processed differently, which means they are also less able to estimate risk

Is this difference in response to stress and anxiety the cause of conduct disorder? Or the punishment?

Oldenhof: “You can do both.”

Bubma: “Generally, half is construction and the other half is environment. In cold kids, the innate side is a little bit bigger. Babies need warmth and attention from their parents, and if they don’t get it, they won’t be able to grow properly. It’s a wonder that kids don’t. They still come out well.”

Oldenhoff: “We see that systems are tuned differently at the neurobiological level in boys and girls with a behavioral disorder. As a result, stimuli from the environment are processed differently, which means they are also less able to assess risk and experience problems more quickly. In girls, they should Adding several risk factors before they develop conduct disorder. Insecurity, domestic violence, problems at school due to lack of focus.”

Could this abnormal response to stress and anxiety also be narcotic?

Oldenhof: Yes, it is possible. So many problems in childhood can disrupt biology.”

I’ve seen accelerated breathing in girls with conduct disorder.

“This was a special finding, yes. We don’t quite know how to explain it yet. We also observe increased breathing in girls with anxiety and stress complaints, but without behavioral disturbance. I mentioned it in my research because it provides starting points for treatment. Adjust breathing from During the exercises it reduces stress. ”

You have to stay with them for a long time and support them in different areas, practically too

What else can you do for girls with such problems?

“First look closely at the symptoms and don’t think too much in the boxes. There is always a tangle of complaints and you have to work it out. If a girl’s aggression is due to trauma, you can use shock therapy, for example EMDR or written therapy. You can often Seeing the aggression waning already. I checked a girl who said, ‘I look back a lot and I don’t like it when someone’–she raises her arm–“makes such movements behind my back. In the interview room, I’d rather sit on the wall. You help her by knowing where it’s coming from.” .

One in three boys with a conduct disorder becomes a criminal. How is this for girls?

“Unfortunately, many girls do not do well. But how many, I dare not say. That has not been investigated yet.”

What is not good?

“Prostitution, financial problems, no daytime activities, no secure relationship, addiction. We must ask ourselves if the care we provide is adequate. Six months of treatment and then they are back on track – no. You have to stay with them for a long time and support them in different areas, Practical too. Don’t give up when they go wild again. There was a girl I had a plan with – she was going to go somewhere else – and the day I picked her up, she was in the police force. Oh, she thinks. But in the conversation with her after that, I was able to think Well what happened and why. And then I think we achieve something.”

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