Ways Pets Can Help Those Who Have Mental Illness

Pets Can Help Those Who Have Mental Illness

Suffering from a mental illness makes people feel abandoned and isolated from the rest of the world. Not only do they have to endure the crippling side effects of medication and painful physical symptoms, but they also despair of anyone ever understanding the trials they face. Fortunately, living with a pet like a cat or a dog is one major way that those with mental illness can alleviate some of the pain that is constant in their lives. Read on for ways pets can help those who have mental illness.

Pets Are There for You

When you get home after a long, stressful day at work, your dog is there to greet you, tail wagging and body trembling with joy. Dogs have an uncanny ability to sense when you are feeling sad or lonely. They lay close to you and provide you comfort just by being near. This companionship provides benefits to any pet owner, but when you struggle with a mental illness, the benefits are even more valuable. A recent study showed that people who suffered from severe mental health issues like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder felt closer connections with their pets than with their family members or friends.

Related: Most Unusual Animals Used as Therapy Pets

People with mental illness often feel their social connections dwindle away. They feel that no one could ever understand what they’re going through. Pets help them feel less isolated from the world. Dogs and cats give them something to care for. After all, when you have a pet, you have to give him food and water regularly. You have to take him for walks or play with him. There are regular routines that must be maintained, and that gives a person with mental health issues a reason to get out of bed and keep going.

Owning a dog lowers levels of depression in senior citizens, terminally ill patients and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Having a dog helps people boost self-esteem, improve physical health, and experience more happiness. In fact, spending time with a dog or cat increases the hormone called oxytocin. Referred to as the “cuddle chemical” this hormone helps pet owners feel better about themselves and their lives. When you play and cuddle with your pet, you also enjoy a boost in serotonin and dopamine which help fight depression and other mood disorders.

It doesn’t matter if a person is suffering from loneliness, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or anything in between. Pets can help those who have mental illness by soothing the pain associated with this disease

Pets can even help with addiction recovery. Spending time with a pet can help ease feelings of guilt, an emotion many people experience when receiving addiction treatment. Playing with and caring for a dog is also known to decrease levels of hostility. People receiving addiction treatment feel more relaxed when they are around pets as well. Those who are recovering from addiction can experience a multitude of benefits when they can interact and shower affection on a pet



Author Bio: Jessica Brody Jessica is the creator of ease feelings. Jessica lives in Dallas, Texas with her loving family (which includes 2 dachshunds and a black lab). She is a certified dog lover and believes dogs are just about the greatest creatures on earth.

Animal Bliss is a really cool blog about animals, both domestic pets and wildlife too

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Do your pets give you emotional support?

Jeanne Melanson
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