What happens in the head of a pedophile?

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What’s happening in the head of a pedophile?

Swedish researchers have reported the creation of a drug that will help those who suffer from pedophilia. How does this disorder arise and what are the prospects for the new drug?

Pedophilia (sexual attraction to children) is a serious problem not only for society, but also for those who are prone to it. Stories related to rape of children appear in the news from time to time. But most pedophiles never dare to realize their fantasies. Nevertheless, their attraction gives them great suffering. What does a pedophile pedophile do? And is it possible to help such people?

How does a person become a pedophile?

What makes it so – biological disturbances or deviations in mental development? It is difficult to separate one from the other.

Indeed, many pedophiles in childhood were themselves victims of sexual acts by other people: obscene touches, “games” with erotic connotations, rape. Among those who were convicted of pedophilic behavior, about 30% had such an experience. Slightly less than those who were diagnosed with mental retardation (15% of cases). Such a person is inclined to seek a partner with a level of emotional maturity close to his own. With him, he feels comfortable and confident.

The influence of the environment, education and early impressions also affects the formation of pedophile orientation. Classical mental disorders (schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis) accompany such behavior in only 4% of all cases. In the latter cases, with the correct treatment of the disease, one can cope with violations of sexual behavior.

In very rare cases, the trigger is a neurological disorder (such as early dementia) or a brain injury. It is also interesting that among pedophiles the absolute majority are men. Cases of pedophilia in women have so far been studied very poorly.

Brain abnormalities

Recently, neuroscientist James Cantor of the University of Toronto (Canada) discovered a special brain abnormality that occurred in half of men with a tendency to pedophilia. We are talking about a reduced volume of white matter in the frontal and parietal lobes.

As the authors explain, the fibers of white matter bind the brain areas involved in sexual behavior. First of all, these are the zones in which visual images are formed, and the frontal lobes, which are responsible for self-control. If the connection between these sites is weak, the risk of unacceptable behavior increases.

Another candidate for the role of the main villain (or the main victim) is the amygdala. It is responsible for sexual motivation, that is, it determines whether an object or person causes attraction in us.

Scientists from the University of Magdeburg (Germany) found that pedophiles with different orientations (hetero-, homo- and bisexual) had tonsil size less than normal. Researchers suggest that this disorder could occur early, in the process of brain development, in the womb or immediately after birth, and subsequently lead to disturbances in hormonal metabolism and a change in behavior.

What happens in the head of a pedophile?

Internal brake failure

Another hypothesis that is currently being actively developed: pedophilia is associated with disorders in the orbitofrontal cortex and other regions that are responsible for containing unwanted sexual impulses. The orbitofrontal cortex plays the role of a net that catches our instinctual urges: for example, to beat a tow truck driver who takes our car away, or to pounce on a handsome stranger with kisses.

Most often, pedophiles find themselves precisely when they can not restrain their desires and commit violence. It happens that a brain tumor in the orbitofrontal cortex causes pedophilic behavior in an adult who has not previously seen anything like this.

The same problem usually pushes convicted pedophiles to repeat crimes. This category is considered especially dangerous. Therefore, imprisonment alone may not be sufficient to reeducate a pedophile rapist. An appropriate treatment is also required that can protect a person from his own dark thoughts.

What you need to know about the new study?

Doctors from the Karolinska Institute (Sweden) plan to soon complete a test of the drug, which will help pedophiles cope with their attraction. This drug inhibits the production of the male hormone testosterone. Now it is already being used to treat prostate cancer, but researchers hope that their trials will open up new possibilities for its use.

Hormone therapy today is considered the most promising treatment for pedophilia. Although it has its own price: it closes the testosterone “faucet” so that a person is completely deprived of sexual desire.

Prepared by: Anton Soldatov
Photo Source: Getty images

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