Why are service dogs useful for those with PTSD?
Being active in the military, a veteran, part of law enforcement, or a first responder comes with the added exposure to traumatic events that could lead to nightmares and flashbacks that are triggered with everyday situations. This ultimately restricts your ability to enjoy life, causing something as simple as a book falling off a desk to immerse you in the memories of a traumatic event.
While family and friends can provide support, having the help of a service dog for PTSD provides several benefits for those suffering from the ill effects of this condition.
Benefits of service dogs for those with PTSD
Dogs are often non-judgemental by nature, making them well equipped to deal with those who have become emotionally distant. They’re also highly sociable, something that benefits those who are closed off from friends, family, and the rest of the world by allowing them to be able to interact more with others and be more open.
Dogs are also well known to be protective of their pack, giving those who have PTSD a worthy companion and a sense of security with their presence. They’re also reliable and are able to provide companionship at all times, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
PTSD service dogs also provide loyal companionship which in turn helps improve your quality of life. This is done by reducing feelings of isolation and a large variety of mental benefits that come from bonding with a pet that offers unconditional love.
Some programs provide help to both the handlers and the dogs. For example, Operation Overwatch rescues dogs from throughout the United States who would otherwise spend their lives in a shelter with an opportunity to find a loving home in return for care and attention that only they can provide.
What are PTSD service dogs trained to do?
Apart from providing emotional support, PTSD service dogs are trained to do a number of other jobs that allow their handlers the ability to enjoy life in an easier way.
They’re able to keep people away at a safe distance to keep the handler calm and avoid any unwanted advances that could cause grief. Service dogs are also able to alert when there is someone else nearby to avoid causing any startling responses which could trigger a flashback. This allows those who were unable to go outside with the ability to be independent and regain the life they had lost as a result of PTSD.
At home, service dogs are able to provide assistance during hallucinations, be alert to any onset of anxiety, remind their handlers to take their medications, and keep them grounded when they begin to experience an PTSD episode. At night, they can also wake up their handler from night terrors and also provide company in order to sleep more soundly.
Service dogs are an essential way to help treat PTSD
Service dogs are one of the many methods we use to help treat PTSD. In our PTSD treatment facility in San Antonio, we offer a variety of other treatment plans among fellow warriors who are fighting the same battle. If you or a loved one are experiencing the ill effects of this condition, contact Warriors Heart today for help.