- 12:41 pm - Fri, Nov 11, 2011
- 1 note
Why Dogs Help With PTSD
-From Psychology Today
Many of our military personnel returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been traumatized by their experiences in the warzones. While the majority struggle with their experiences, most will not go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops as a result of a traumatic experience and involves symptoms of vigilance (i.e., being extra alert and aware of surroundings); numbness (i.e., having difficulty feeling emotions), and re-experiencing (i.e., flashbacks and nightmares).
- Dogs are vigilant. Anyone who has ever had a nightmare knows that a dog in the room provides information. They immediately let you know if you are really in immediate danger or if you have just had a nightmare. This extra layer of vigilance mimics the buddy system in the military. No soldier or grunt or sailor is ever alone in the battlefield. The same is true when you have a dog by your side. You are not alone. You can ease your mind searching for data in the environment because you know the dog is doing it for you.
- Dogs are protective. Just like the buddy system in the military. Someone is there to have your back.
- Dogs respond well to authoritative relationships. Many military personnel return from their deployments and have difficulty functioning in their relationships. They are used to giving and getting orders. This usually doesn’t work well in the typical American home, and I’ve talked to many servicemen and women who have been told to knock that off once they got home. Well, dogs love it.
- Dogs love unconditionally. Many military personnel return from their deployments and have difficulty adjusting to the civilian world. Sometimes they realize that the skills they learned and used in the service weren’t transferable or respected in the civilian sector. This can be devastating when they were well-respected for their position in the military. Dogs don’t play any of these games. They just love.
- Dogs help relearn trust. Trust is a big issue in PTSD. It can be very difficult to feel safe in the world after certain experiences, and being able to trust the immediate environment can take some time. Dogs help heal by being trustworthy.
- Dogs help to remember feelings of love. The world can look pretty convoluted after war. I spoke to a Veteran recently who bought a puppy. He didn’t want the puppy sleeping on his bed so he bought his puppy an expensive puppy bed. He was thrilled to introduce the bed to his new puppy and was outraged when the puppy ate it. He yelled at the puppy and disciplined him. He then told me that he sat down feeling miserable about yelling at the puppy and his puppy eating the bed. His puppy came up beside him and licked his face. He turned and looked at the puppy and said, “What are you licking me for? I am mad at you!” The puppy wagged his tail and licked him again. And he felt love.
- girlandherakita posted this