March 14, 2017, by Emma Sturgis – Posttraumatic stress disorder, often called PTSD, is a psychological problem that affects individuals who have been through a traumatic event. It often develops in military personnel who have been in combat situations and who have seen comrades die in violent circumstances or who have experienced injuries themselves. But PTSD can also develop in people who have been in natural disasters, who have been victims of violent crimes or who have undergone physical or sexual abuse.
Symptoms Of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Individuals with PTSD may be subject to a number of disturbing symptoms, such as hypervigilance, flashbacks, aggressiveness, sleep problems, nightmares, depression, anxiety and feelings of detachment. These symptoms can have a negative impact on the individual’s ability to function normally in their work and in their relationships. The use of dogs to act as emotional support animals appears to be helpful in allowing these individuals to restore their psychological well-being after traumatic events.
Dogs Can Provide Specific Help For Psychological Conditions
Service dogs have been used to help the disabled for many decades, but it is only relatively recently that canines’ ability to empathize and provide emotional support has been utilized. Today, you can find canines helping individuals with disabling psychiatric conditions all over the country. In these cases, dogs can do specific tasks, such as keeping the individual from wandering into traffic during a dissociative episode, turn on lights for individuals with phobic conditions and steadying them if medications they take cause dizziness. These animals have a significant impact on the human companion’s ability to function in everyday life. But dogs can also provide less specific support for humans who have emotional or psychological issues.
Why Dog’s Are Able To Help Emotional Problems
The very qualities that made dogs such a good match with humans thousands of years ago still apply today. Dogs are naturally adaptive and are willing to learn skills that their human companions need. They form close bonds with their human families. They are watchful, alert and guard their humans constantly. Canines can understand human speech to a degree, can follow commands and can enjoy play and interaction with humans. These qualities also provide many needed qualities for individuals who have been through traumatic events and have difficulty with trust or feeling secure in their environments.
How Dogs Help Those With PTSD
PTSD support dogs provide help for those who have experienced traumatic events in a number of important ways. First, because individuals with PTSD are hyper-alert to sounds and signals in the environment, the dog serves to take over the guarding task to allow the person to relax more. They know that the dog hears more clearly than they do and will signal to them if anything in the environment is not right. The support dog will also help individuals re-learn how to trust. These dogs’ dedication and loyalty to their owners, teaches the human how to return to a warm and trusting relationship with other beings. Dogs also teach their owners how to relax and play again, enjoying the moment without fear.
Not Every Dog Can Be A Support Dog
Support dogs chosen to help individuals with PTSD must be carefully chosen for their stability of temperament, ability to learn commands and willingness to stay focused on the duties they provide to their owners. These animals must be able to ignore the distractions they encounter in everyday life and stay in close contact with their human companion. Animals that are easily distracted, aggressive to other dogs or who fail to follow commands promptly are not good candidates for PTSD support dogs.
Support dogs can have a huge positive impact on the lives they come in contact with. It is important to remember however that while a support dog is trained and obedient, other dogs might not be trained as well. It’s important to have a professional, like this accident attorney in Las Vegas, to help you if you or your dog is attacked by another dog.
Dogs have always served mankind faithfully and with deep affection. Their ability to form close bonds with humans and create a positive impact on humans’ lives makes them the perfect species for helping humans to recover from negative experiences.