Service dogs help to reduce PTSD symptoms

Posted on June 22, 2018

A study conducted by Purdue University's College of Veterinary Medicine discovered that military veterans with PTSD have an improved psychological measure score if they have a service dog. This results show that service dogs may improve well-being for military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD occurs in around 15% of the military soldiers who repeatedly witness traumatic events such as bombing or violence, whereby fragments of the traumatic memories are triggered upon environmental cues. This greatly affects the well-being of the individual. The study has shown that military soldiers who own service dogs show lesser symptoms of PTSD and better quality of living.

There was also a physiological change in military veterans with PTSD in the presence of service dogs. They produced more cortisol in the morning, similar to regular individuals, as compared to military veterans who had no service dogs.

These service dogs can be Labradors or Golden Retrievers, and are specially trained to aid those with PTSD. The dogs are taught how to "block" and "cover" their owners in times of need. "Block" helps their owner obtain personal space, and "Cover" means watching their owners' backs. The dogs are also sensitive to anxiety in their owners.

Category(s):Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD

Source material from Psychology Today

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