How Service Dogs Can Help Patients With PTSD

How Service Dogs Can Help Patients With PTSD

PTSD is a difficult condition to have. Patients who have it usually experience depression and anxiety. Luckily, there are several things that can help with it now. Aside from going to therapy and taking medication, you can also have a service animal. Here’s a brief guide on how they’ll assist you:

Skills

Service dogs are specifically trained to provide their owners with emotional, psychological, or physical support. The pups will watch over them around the clock and give you a sense of security.

This is especially important for patients with PTSD who may have trouble doing tasks, such as walking down the street or buying groceries. The animals will stay by their owner’s side, preventing panic attacks by ensuring there’s no danger. The dog’s presence also brings comfort while their human is sleeping, stopping nightmares from ever occurring.

Tasks

Service dogs aren’t just pets; they’re working animals. They’re trained to perform specific things to help their handler. It can involve assisting them with their daily responsibilities or easing their symptoms. Here are some tasks they do for their owners with PTSD:

Alert

This is one of the main tasks of a PTSD service dog. They’re trained to alert their handler about several things. This can include when the person should take their medication, oncoming panic attacks, and other routine reminders. They can also signal a bystander, friend, or family member if their owner is in distress.

Interruption

This is another common task. Sometimes, people with PTSD need a distraction. Because of this, their beloved pet is trained to interrupt flashbacks, nightmares, harm to others, and disassociation. The animal will do this by licking their handler, nuzzling, instigating play, or simply lying on their human’s chest. This can help improve the patient’s mood swings and anxiety.

Movement

People with PTSD often have anxiety, as well. So, when they’re in a crowded place, they may have trouble approaching someone or entering a building if they don’t know what to expect.

To help with this, service dogs are trained in crowd control. They circle their owner to create a barrier between them and other people. They may also block strangers from approaching or stop them from sneaking up from behind.

Guide

Service dogs can also guide their owners out of stressful situations. Maybe they’re experiencing a panic attack or were triggered by something. When this happens, the animal will lead their human away and take them to a place where they feel safe.

Call

Service animals are also trained to make calls in case of emergencies, whether it’s for an ambulance, a suicide hotline, a therapist, or a loved one. Their numbers are pre-programmed into a dog-friendly phone that the animal will have easy access to.

If you have PTSD, you don’t have to go through it alone. Sometimes, having an animal around to assist you can help a lot. Consult a therapist, and they’ll refer you to a training facility that’ll provide you with a pup that’ll cater to your needs. After that, buy service dog vest to let everyone know that what you have isn’t just a pet but a working canine.

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