Pets Improve Mental Health Issues, From Depression To PTSD, Study says
It may seem to you that you are seeing a lot more dogs around, in the stores and public places on their leashes and with vests on. According to the American Psychological Association, the sudden, and rapid rise in emotional support dogs has increased at a rate that forcing the change at the way many businesses and organizations look at having animals indoors.
Now institutions such as universities, airports and restaurants are fumbling a bit to make sure that they comply with laws and allows the animals that were previously forbidden. So why is there such a rise in the emotional support animals?
Why are more people getting service animals for their mental health needs?
One huge reason that more people are turning to an animal in times of depression and anxiety is because having a dog or cat around helps you to feel a little less alone. In this age of technology, we are isolating ourselves a lot more than we used to. With social media bringing the lives of everyone you love to your fingertips, you do not actually need to see them in person to know what is going on. You can order food to your house, and shop online, and even the stores and restaurants that do not have delivery options are now accessible via various apps that have you pay a small fee to have a stranger bring your food right to your door. All of these options seem like great ideas, except they tend to keep us more isolated than we actually pay attention to. The isolation tends to heighten the feelings of depression and anxiety, and having an animal around makes it a little less lonely, and cuddles and face kisses provide some of the love that we starve from ourselves.
There are, of course, a lot of underlying reasons that we begin to seek out companionship in an animal, but this may be one of the more conscious ones. Now that there have been many studies done, science has been able to conclude that there is some weight behind this assumption that a four-legged friend may truly help with our mental health issues today.
What does science say about having a pet for mental health needs?
A wide array of studies have been done and have revealed that having a pet, or animal around you is actually extremely beneficial to your mental wellbeing. As we have seen a rise in both doctor and self-diagnosed cases of anxiety and depression as well as ADHD, it makes sense that people are looking for ways to assuage their symptoms and help themselves in more natural ways.
Independent reports that while the service animals are doing a lot to help with our mental health issues, we may also be helping the animals rehabilitate and get back into the swing of their lives. This is done by simply loving on the dogs, being patient with them, and some training. Some of the owners even mentioned that their service dogs were a bit unruly to begin with, but with the right training even the worst behavior in an animal can be trained out. For some tips and ideas on how to better train your animal, you can check out puppy training or leash training tips to make the process a little more smooth.
It is worth putting in the effort and occasionally, the money to get your dog trained not only to answer commands but to be indoors without making a mess, going to the bathroom or barking at others. Having an animal with you indoors can help to reduce your stress and make you feel a bit safer. Animals, especially dogs, are known to push you into more physical activity such as playing fetch, running, or generally going out for a walk around the block. This will get you up and out of the house more often and may even help you to overcome your desire to stay in bed on some days. The exercise itself will help to produce the hormones in your body that promote happiness and a better mood, as well as helping you to relax faster and more easily according to BioMed Central Psychology.
If you are looking for a companion animal, be sure that you read the laws carefully for where you live specifically. While many places, including parks and beaches, are becoming more animal-friendly, it is still important that you comply with the rules so that you are not fined or else asked to leave, which is likely to cause you to be more flustered and do more harm to your mental health than good. Make sure you have your animal trained to be indoors and around others and that he or she is kept on a leash at all times before you take your new furry friend out into the world.
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