While post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is most often associated with members of the armed forces, anyone who has experienced a deeply distressing event can be diagnosed with the disorder. Children and adults can develop PTSD and no matter what their age, they can find comfort in an ESA support dog.
What is PTSD?
Though PTSD is not inevitable after a highly disturbing event, about 8% of the population will develop the disorder during their lives. The National Institute of Mental Health characterizes a person with PTSD as someone who feels afraid even when no danger is present or even likely, and those feelings continue to interfere with their lives. The disorder can set in right after the event or many years later.
Can a Therapy Dog Help?
The American Institute of Stress recommends a dog for PTSD sufferers. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says animals can help a PTSD sufferer feel less stressed, specifically mentioning how many health benefits come from petting a dog.
For veterans, the VA says, an ESA support dog can be particularly beneficial for ex-military who gave orders while on active duty: A well-trained dog, or training one, can provide feelings of comfort and relaxation.
People with PTSD suffer from many of the symptoms that an emotional support animal can ease. These include:
- Feeling stressed or frightened
- Unwilling to interact with others
- Avoiding places or activities
- Trouble forming or maintaining relationships
Fortunately for families that had a dog before a military member was away, any pet can become an emotional support animal. Consider therapy dog registration for the animal if the military member derives comfort from the dog. Even in cases where a family acquired a pet while a military member was away, they can turn the pet into an ESA as long as the pet is available to the veteran at all times. (If the kids will be unhappy with this situation, the vet should have their own pet.)
What Does an ESA Dog Do?
An emotional support dog could create the first chink in the armor PTSD sufferers build around themselves for protection. An ESA dog provides unconditional love, which helps rebuild the trust of their owners.
A dog can help make its owner less paranoid. Having a dog by your side creates a feeling of safety: You are not alone, especially since you can take your ESA dog with you almost everywhere, as long as you have proper documentation.
Interested in using an ESA animal for PTSD? Visit MooshMe for information on how to get started.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs wants to assure you that treatments for PTSD exist. The VA suggests this online tool to help you learn about and compare effective treatments: