Amazing ways animals help people wih PTSD and mental illness

To all the heroic dogs including my own!

“Having a dog has been shown to facilitate positive human-human interaction in both people with psychiatric disorders and healthy individuals. Children with autism, who can have difficulties interacting with people, interact more with other people and have greater use of language skills in the presence of a dog. This effect, called the “social catalyst” effect, has been shown in children, adults, and the elderly with other psychiatric diagnoses as well. The presence of a friendly animal has also been shown to increase trust toward other people and decrease aggression. Animal assisted therapy consistently reduces depression and anxiety. Direct evidence shows that interacting with a companion animal positively affects hormonal stress responses including those involving cortisol and adrenaline—the presence of a dog can lower blood pressure and promote a healthier heart rate. These changes are even greater in the presence of a dog than they are in the presence of a friend or spouse!”

This is very informative. This quote is just one of the many quotes in this essay. Empirical Evidence as well as personal experience fills this piece making it a must read.

Joan Jessup


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is conducting a $12 million study to determine whether service dogs can be an effective treatment for PTSD. The VA currently does not fund or support the use of service dogs for veterans with PTSD, claiming no evidence exists whether service dogs “help PTSD sufferers get better or just feel better.” I have to say, as a person with PTSD, either of those options sounds good to me. I don’t really care if I “get better” or just “feel better,” especially considering many of the standard treatment options for PTSD at the VA do neither, and in fact, can make things worse.

Did the VA forget the 10 empirical studies done in the last 10 years on the usefulness of service dogs in child abuse survivors and military veterans? The most prevalent outcomes were reduced depression, PTSD, and anxiety when the patient was…

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