Treating behavioural disorder

How do know you if you have aggressive behaviour?

You may be the one to notice that you are bothered by something or that you have problems, but it may also be your parents or teachers at school who notice this. The first action often taken is visiting a general practitioner or the Youth Care Agency (Bureau Jeugdzorg). If they think that you might have a behavioural problem, you will be referred to a psychologist and/or psychiatrist. By conducting interviews and tests, they will examine where your problems come from and how you can be helped. It is possible that your problems are related not only to aggressive behaviour, but also to other things. For example, you may also have a tendency to be very hyperactive or you can’t keep up at school.

Will it go away?

A lot of people are helped by treatment (see below). They no longer act aggressive by the time they are adults. If you don't receive help, you may carry your problems over into adulthood.

Treatment

When your problems are better identified, a psychologist will work with you and your parents to design a good plan to help you feel better. It may be that you will also talk with a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a doctor who decides whether you also need medication to help you feel better. 

There are different types of treatment:

For yourself

  • Psychoeducation and motivation: You learn about what exactly your problems are and how they come about. This helps you deal with them better and gain more self-confidence. You also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of treatment and what will happen if you change your behaviour.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy: Behavioural therapy helps you learn how to deal with aggressive behaviour on your own. This means that you learn how best to act in various situations and behave more socially than negatively. You also learn to think more about what you do and to feel when you are getting angry and how you can respond differently when this is the case. You also discuss things that have happened, such as when you have hit someone, for example, and what you can do differently to resolve the situation next time. Behavioural therapy can take the form of individual or group sessions.
  • Medication: Sometimes, you may also be given medication. If you are given medication, you will be given pills every day that ensure that you will act a bit less aggressively. You are often given these pills because you also have other problems, such as ADHD. This medication makes you less hyperactive. Keep in mind that the medication you take can have adverse effects, which means that you may actually begin to experience other problems.

For your parents

  • Parent training: It is also very important that your parents know what the problem is and how they can deal with it. Your parents learn, for example, how they can help you with some things and what the best things to say to you are. They also learn to support you when you behave well or to make agreements with you when you begin to get angry again.
  • Family therapy: Together with your whole family, you learn to devise solutions for your problems.

Environment

  • Multisystem therapy: With multisystem therapy, you, your parents and your environment – such as school – undergo a wide variety of therapy simultaneously. This is done to ensure that you feel better and act more appropriately in each situation.


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