I have struggled with pulling hair for many years. It started out as an involuntary thing during PANDAS flare ups. It creeps up if I’m not careful due to anxiety. It is very rare, but when it happens I get really scared and feel awful. Now, it never happens unless I’m having trouble with my epilepsy. The last time I had an episode was about a year ago, when my epilepsy was out of control. It is embarrassing to talk about, but it is important because many people with autism struggle with this. It is not because we are bad people. It is because we are overwhelmed with emotions or there are sensory components. I don’t have much to say on the subject because it is hard for me, but I do think it is necessary to separate character from behavior when it comes to thinking about people with autism, without taking away accountability.
If you have a loved one struggling with aggression, it may be worth looking into PANDAS as a possible cause. If they have epilepsy, it is possible that they are having psychiatric reactions as a result. It is important to look at and address medical causes, instead of only focusing on the behavior problem. Everyone can be taught coping strategies. It is best to teach them when the person is not struggling, as they are easier to learn and implement. Last, lower the demands and offer more breaks, especially when medications are being adjusted, because breaks help lower the amount of anxiety.