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Can Pets Help Reduce The Symptoms Of Mental Health Issues?

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If you struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and loneliness, it may seem as though you’ve tried everything possible to find a cure. However, one of the options you may not have considered is a pet. More and more evidence is showing that pets could help reduce the symptoms of mental health issues. Below, you’ll find some of the potential benefits that pets could offer when it comes to solving mental health issues.

Pets Provide Companionship

One of the best ways that pets can help reduce the symptoms of mental health issues is by providing companionship. Feelings of loneliness lead to depression. Many people associate loneliness with aging people, but they are not the only group of people who suffer. People who move away from home for the first time or move to a new city for work are both predisposed to suffering from loneliness. Pets provide companionship because you can:

•           Care for it and protect its’ health

•           Talk with it

•           Go for walks and engage in physical activity

 A couple of years ago, Cat Protection teamed up with the Mental Health Foundation and surveyed people with cats in their home. The survey found that nearly 90 percent of respondents said that their cat had a positive impact on their life. More than two-thirds of respondents said that they could “cope with everyday life much better thanks to the company of their feline friends.” 

Pets Reduce The Symptoms Of ADHD

It’s not just adults who could benefit from having a pet in their lives. Doctors believe that owning a pet is an excellent remedy for children with ADHD. The responsibility of a pet forces children to focus on scheduling and planning ahead. Many parents find that once their children grow acclimated to the dog’s schedule, which could include things like going for a walk, feeding, and grooming, their child finds it easier to abide by their own agenda for things such as:

•           Homework

•           Chores

•           Extracurriculars

Researchers also believe that pets are excellent for children with ADHD because they are great listeners and offer unconditional love. Pets will never criticize a child who is “hyped up.” Pets could be an excellent way to help build a child’s confidence. 

Pets Make Us Feel Good

The phenomenon behind pets helping with mental health issues is backed by science. Studies have found that seeing our pets releases dopamine, a chemical in the brain that makes us feel good. When we see our pets, we also release serotonin as well. These chemicals provide us with a calming, relaxing sensation.

This is also backed by research that shows that when in a stressful situation, people with pets have lower blood pressure than those without pets. Additionally, seniors over the age of 65 who own a pet make 30 percent fewer visits to the doctor’s office than those who don’t.

Emotional Support Animals

Many people find that their landlord will not let them own a pet. This is common for people who are renting. Furthermore, people tend to face issues when traveling. Their pet may not be allowed with them on the plane or in the hotel. If you use your pet to help treat your mental health issues, the mere thought of going a few days without companionship could be devastating.

If this is the case, you may want to look into emotional support animals. A mental health professional can designate a pet as an emotional support animal with a letter of recommendation that outlines your need for the animal. If a doctor has diagnosed you with mental health issues, designating your beloved pet could help ensure you receive therapy no matter where you go.

1 COMMENT

  1. Pets really help us cope with everyday stress, especially when this pandemic is all over the place. I feel so lucky to have a pet in my life who is always there for me – no matter what.

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