People from all different walks of life can encounter a traumatizing event that impacts their mental health. Experiences like natural disasters, assault, and even military combat can lead some individuals to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder characterized by experiences of hyper-vigilance, emotional numbness, and re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks or nightmares.
While trauma is difficult for anyone to cope with, PTSD can prolong difficulties associated with trauma and lead to negative health impacts. Psychiatrists can prescribe various treatments for patients with PTSD, but medications can come with their own unpleasant side effects.
For some people with PTSD, an emotional support animal can help them feel better when medicines and therapies just aren’t enough. PTSD animals can provide individuals comfort during flashbacks, after a nightmare, or just when they need a friend.
The benefits of PTSD animals for patients are surprisingly numerous. Here are just a few reasons that certified emotional support animals, and especially dogs, make an excellent treatment method for symptoms of PTSD:
1. PTSD Dogs Are Protective and Vigilant
For thousands of years, dogs have served as bodyguards for humans. Their keen senses of hearing and smell can detect danger well before a human’s can. Individuals with PTSD sometimes experience flashbacks, and it can be difficult to know when they are truly in danger and when their body and brain are simply responding to a relived experience. With a dog nearby, a person with PTSD can better differentiate reality from flashbacks. If there is no actual danger, the dog can provide comfort as the person comes out of the nightmare.
2. PTSD Animals Provide Unconditional Love
Symptoms of PTSD can make everyday life and interactions quite difficult. After experiencing trauma of any kind, individuals may have trouble interacting with other people. Unfortunately, stigmas surrounding mental health conditions, and some people may judge those struggling to be themselves or be social when they have a mental illness. However, a cat or dog will never judge a person with PTSD. Sometimes, this sense of acceptance and unconditional love is the best form of treatment.
3. Emotional Support Animals Are Simply Fun
It’s not complicated– keeping an animal companion around can be lots of fun. Goofy antics, going for walks, and endless cuddles from an ESA bring patients a chemical release of serotonin in the brain, which stimulates feelings of happiness. Animals need no required training to make a person smile.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder affects 7.7 million U.S. adults, or 3.5% of total the population. If you or someone you love is struggling with PTSD or trauma symptoms, consider adopting an ESA. Cats and dogs alike can provide the steady comfort needed to soothe anxiety and residual fear. For more information about ESA certification, contact Moosh today.