It is not uncommon for military veterans to struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is because PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that usually occurs in those who have witnessed or otherwise experienced a traumatic event like war and combat, a terrorist act, violent personal assault (like rape or murder) and so forth. Below, we take a closer look at PTSD, what it entails and how military veterans can benefit from animal therapy PTSD treatment options like PTSD dogs for vets.
PTSD Dogs for Vets: A Useful Tool For Helping Vets Cope with PTSD
Due to the nature of trauma and PTSD symptoms, coping with the condition is not easy. Symptoms such as flashbacks, depression, guilt, difficulty sleeping, fear, worry, and extreme anxiety, can be severely disruptive and difficult to cope with. In the case of military vets, dogs are sometimes assigned to them to help them cope with their PTSD. Service dogs assigned to vets living with PTSD are helpful in many ways, including the following:
1. Managing Anxiety and Depression
Two of the most common symptoms of PTSD are anxiety and depression. For veterans who have been assigned service dogs have, studies have shown that these two symptoms, in particular, are significantly reduced over time. In fact, vets who have been assigned service dogs for their PTSD often report feeling safer, more secure, and a lot less anxious. Additionally, vets with service dogs for their PTSD were shown to be hospitalized far less frequently.
Additionally, by helping to reduce the prevalence of symptoms like stress, anxiety, and depression, service dogs for veterans also help reduce the behaviors that are associated with the same. For example, a reduction in depression can result in a reduced risk of violence, alcoholism and other factors like drug use and the like. Serious mental breakdowns and suicidal thoughts that are associated with these particular symptoms are also reduced.
2. It is Cost Effective
While this benefit does not directly affect veterans per se, it is still a benefit nonetheless. Some of the available treatments for PTSD can prove to be expensive. Costs are even more apparent the longer that any given form of treatment must be administered. Service dogs, on the other hand, are significantly less expensive when compared with other available treatment options that are accompanied by extensive medical and psychiatric costs.
3. Effective and Longer-lasting Results
Service dogs for vets are not merely pets to keep company and have fun with – although those are benefits too. Instead, service dogs are well-trained – in much the same manner as their human counterparts – and so can carry out important tasks that can greatly assist the vet they have been assigned to. As such, the vets who are assigned with service dogs are able to take care of the vets just as much (and sometimes even more) than they are taken care of. As such, service dogs prove to be high-effective in PTSD recovery and the results tend to last thanks to the continuous presence of the service dog.
Additionally, there is no guarantee that other treatment options will produce results quickly or at all for an extended period of time. Service dogs are consistently proven to be a reliably effective treatment option. This is perhaps due to the positive interaction with the life around them that service dogs provide for the veterans, among other things. Veterans who are assigned service dogs report feeling loved unconditionally are able to better care for their families, as well as maybe return to work or even go back to school (College) if they so desire.
Other Cool Facts About PTSD Service Dogs for Vets
Other awesome facts concerning the functions of PTSD dogs for vets include:
- Using their body-weight as a mechanism to help keep vets feeling grounded
- Reducing hypervigilance on the part of the vet by being on the lookout while in public places
- Interrupting flashback episodes the vet may be experiencing through nudging, pawing, or licking