PTSD Service Dogs
While further research needs to be done (there is an ongoing government study), service dog intervention is increasingly being recommending by clinicians in addition to the current treatment plans for people living with this kind of anxiety and fear. A service dog may significantly help with some of the major symptoms and improve overall quality of life. .
A report on PTSD service dogs states "there are many clear advantages to using psychiatric service dogs", and findings from a 2009 survey distributed by the US military reported:
- 82% of those with a PTSD diagnosis reported symptom reduction after partnership with a service dog.
- Another 40% reported that their use of medication decreased.
A Service Dog can help:
- Remind the handler to take medication.
- Improve organization by reminding the handler to perform her or his daily routines.
- Wake the handler to prevent him or her from sleeping too much (hypersomnia).
- Provide tactile stimulation
- Reassure the handler, both at home and in public
- Facilitate social interactions and reduce fear associated with meeting new people
- Assist the handler in creating a safe personal space
- Assist the handler when dealing with mood swings
- Serve as a buffer to calm the handler and reduce feelings of emotional distress in crowded places
- Helping the handler to calm down when agitated
- Reorienting and "grounding" the handler to current place and time when struggling with PTSD episodes