People who have just witnessed a scary experience like a war in the case of returning soldiers from war are likely to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Patients usually feel afraid or think that their lives or those of others are in danger.
It is common among people who have recently encountered a life-threatening event. Such patients are usually referred to experienced psychologists to help them deal with their anxiety, depression and PTSD.
The treatment includes taking medications to help them forget about the memories of the horrifying experiences. It has been discovered that dogs through their companionship can help in the treatment of PTSD and other handicaps. Below are some of the benefits that led to the conclusion of studies on using dogs for handicapped and people with ptsd:
Dogs and Alleviating Stress & Loneliness
A number of researches have shown that owning a dog can help in lifting your moods or lessen your stress. Dogs enable people to feel better by offering their companionship to them. This has led to the recent studies and research on using dogs as a treatment therapy to people suffering from PTSD. Dogs are great pets and they help in bringing out the feelings of love, taking orders well especially the trained ones, are fun and good companions thereby help reduce stress. Dogs also offer a great reason for a person to get outside the house, spend more time outdoors and also get to meet new people while going out for walks.
Recovery from PTSD
It is usually a process for a patient to recover from PTSD. There are evidence-based form of treatments that assist people suffering from PTSD which assist them to do things that they avoid due to their condition. These involve standing next to strange people or venturing into a building without scanning it completely for danger. Dogs help the patients to deal with certain parts of living with the PTSD but they do not act like substitutes of its effective treatment. Service dogs are only meant to provide emotional support and some patients still feel they cannot do some things on their own.
Service dogs are specially trained dogs that are trained to perform several tasks for people who cannot do them due to a certain disability. These dogs can pick some things up, guide people with vision problems or assist a person who loses or falls easily. Service dogs are capable of walking a blind person down the road and remove dangerous things when the person is having a seizure. Service dogs are specially trained and allowed to go even in public places as they guide the handler and hence gain access to wherever he/she goes.
My dog is essentially a service dog without papers. He’s been with me for about 2 years and I first got him when I was homeless. He’s been a tremendous help and asset to me while building a business in the woods living in a tent, something I chose to do to escape the dead-end street that is waiting tables in Los Angeles. When I had my dog boarded recently at the Red Ruff Inn Cheyenne, they said he was losing weight and they indicated that they were feeding him only 33% of his normal diet. When I flipped on them, this happened (watch the video):
Emotional dogs do not require any special training as regular pets can also play this part. The owner will only need a letter from a mental health provider confirming that he has a mental condition and relies on the dog for their emotional support. They are not usually allowed access into public places but at times they can be offered special consideration. It is important to have the letter as the dog can be allowed access to houses, airlines or apartments that do not allow dogs normally.
All the above are some of the ways of using dogs for handicapped and people with ptsd.