Nearly one-third of the people who have spent time in war zones are plagued by flashbacks, bad dreams, guilt, depression, and more. Also known as PTSD, this debilitating mental disorder leaves people feeling hopeless and worried that there’s no viable way they can live normally. In fact, less than 40% of veterans even seek treatment for their symptoms.
In recent years, service dogs have grown as a common way to ease PTSD symptoms in veterans. Here’s why.
How Can Service Dogs Help Veterans?
- They can provide emotional support. Whether you struggle with night terrors, flashbacks, or bouts of deep depression and suicidal ideation, the right service dog can soothe and reduce these thoughts. Service dogs are trained to detect and respond to human emotions, and just their presence can have a positive effect on PTSD symptoms.
- They can retrieve items on command. Even if you’re not able to give your service dog verbal commands, they are capable of retrieving items you need. They can be trained to bring you a bottle of water when you’re having nightmares or bring you a warming blanket when you’re experiencing a panic attack. During a stressful situation, these simple actions can be a godsend for the sufferer.
- They can alert others if necessary. In an emergency, your service dog will be able to find other people to assist you, whether that’s someone who lives in the house with you or they can be trained to call 911.
Service dogs can be a wonderful way to treat the symptoms of PTSD because they can be trained to perform actions based on their owner’s specific needs. Dogs can provide twenty-four-hour emotional support, they can retrieve a plethora of items, and they can be trained to call for help or call 911 in an emergency. All-around, service dogs can dramatically change the life of someone who has PTSD.