In the United States, about 40,000 troops return every year from service who have been physically wounded and a huge number of them suffer from various psychological problems as a result of their harsh experiences of situations they have faced while commissioned overseas. So, to help these soldiers, there were various studies and surveys conducted to see what can assist them in coping with post-traumatic stress disorders in particular and was seen that the use of therapy dogs had very good results on their mental health.
Therapy dogs have been used since the late 18th century to help patients in mental facilities. Research shows that there are various benefits of canine-assisted therapy including patients experiencing lower blood pressure and heart rates, reduced anxiety and stress levels, decrease in use of prescription medications, the feelings of loneliness, empathy and self-worth have improved and patients have even felt a more engaging sense of purpose and well-being.
While dogs can be just as great pets as any other domestic animal, they can offer some additional benefits for people who are suffering from some kind of mental illness including PTSD. The dogs can help to bring out the feeling of love, purpose, well-being in people. They are very good companions and make you feel safe and secure. They can be trained easily to understand your commands and be comfortable around you. They can help to reduce stress and can be very fun and engaging to be around. They also become a good reason for you to go out of the house, spend time outdoors and meet new people too.
Recovering from PTSD is not an easy thing and a very long process which requires time and help. When suffering from PTSD, people often avoid situations like standing close to a stranger, going to some place like a restaurant or any other building without scanning it for danger first. People are often given evidence-based treatments which help them to do the things and undergo situations which they have been avoiding. Dogs can be a great help if someone is going through evidence-based treatments and help to undergo situations too.
There are customized training centers which offer training programs for dogs, particularly for PTSD Patients. They are trained to assist their owner if they are going through any medical crisis, they can provide treatment-related assistance as well as assistance to cope with the emotional overload the PTSD patient goes through. They can also be trained to perform certain security enhancement tasks too. A specially trained dog will provide various benefits to a PTSD patient. They can help the patient to feel a sense of security and provide calming effects and help in physical exercise that will make a very positive difference in the life of the patient. Like other service dogs, the special PTSD trained dog is also trained to do specific tasks. The training includes environmental assessment training for cases of hallucinations and paranoia, signaling behaviors that can remind the patient to take medication, retrieval of medicine or other objects to help the patient get out of a stressful situation. They also help to prevent people from crowding if the PTSD Sufferer is having a panic attack in public too. The PTSD trained dogs have a number of health benefits too. These benefits include that the PTSD trained dogs can help to adjust the serotonin levels in their patients. They also help to lower the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure. They provide good assistance and immediate help during episodes of depression. They not only give good companionship to the PTSD sufferer but also have a very positive and calming impact on their lives. There have been some cases in which a patient was having severe nightmares due to PTSD and their dogs helped them to wake up from sleep too.