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How Science Supports Pets for Improving Your Mental Health

How Science Supports Pets for Improving Your Mental Health

HARIDHA P 128 28-Dec-2022

Humans and animals have historically had a close bond. This relationship is now built on love and family rather than utility, as time has changed it from that to that.More than ever, people keep dogs as companions because they view them as valuable members of the family and keep them for companionship above all else. 

Now that we are sleeping on our beds close to them, cats and dogs no longer want to sleep outside. We now understand that companionship between humans and animals offers a variety of advantages to both parties because of the growth of scientific studies on the topic. 

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) is a nonprofit organisation that supports studies on the advantages of having pets and engaging in human-animal interaction. The human-animal connection, or the beneficial interaction between people's pets and themselves, is seen by HABRI as a vital component of human wellness, including quality of life, physical fitness, and mental wellness. 

To increase awareness for those who might directly benefit from animal companionship or animal-assisted treatment, HABRI compiled the most recent scientific research on the advantages of the human-animal link for mental health during Mental Health Month. New advantages for managing mental health, including those for stress, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, have been discovered in recent studies on the advantages of pets and human-animal connection. 

We currently have peer-reviewed scientific research that demonstrates:Service dogs can help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) manage their symptoms, and pets can help owners cope with their emotions and function as a potent diversion from the burden of dealing with mental health issues. Therapy dogs can also help college students cope with stress.

Furthermore, according to a current HABRI-funded study, soldiers with PTSD showed higher mental health and wellbeing if they had a service dog, including:

  • 1. Reduced prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder Reduced levels of depression
  • 2. increased levels of happiness in life
  • 3. better overall psychological health
  • 4. Lower rates of social isolation and higher levels of social engagement Higher rates of resilience
  • 5. More intense levels of friendship

These significant findings demonstrate the effectiveness of service dogs as an adjunct therapy for PTSD, which severely affects over 250,000 (30 percent) of post-9/11 war veterans and results in an alarming 22 suicides every day. Everyone who has a mental illness should be able to get the care, resources, and support that would be beneficial to their mental health, including time spent with a pet. 

The body of evidence proving that pets are good for individuals of all ages and health conditions is expanding. The likelihood that there will be more pet-friendly businesses, apartment complexes with pets, pets allowed in classrooms, and therapy animals accepted in nursing homes, hospitals, college campuses, and other settings will increase as more people become aware of the health advantages of the human-animal link. 

Pets and human health can have a growing relationship, just like how humans and animals have interacted throughout history. Through study, education, and lobbying, the role of companion animals should be increased as society struggles with mental health concerns like loneliness, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and more.

Updated 29-Dec-2022
A passionate writer, blogger, language trainer, co-author of the book 'Irenic' and an enthusiastic learner. Interest includes travelling places and exploring.

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