Many treatment approaches have been tried with veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). But what happens when the traditional medication and talk therapy aren’t enough? Read on to see why canines may be the new frontline treatment in the fight against PTSD.
Your new protector
Many veterans with PTSD have hyper-vigilance, or hyper-awareness. They’re always on the alert for potential threats – real or not. Having a dog by their side can help decrease this anxious state. A dog’s keen senses will always see danger coming before a human can; this can give the veteran peace of mind that someone else is standing guard.
Veterans with PTSD may close off their emotions to avoid painful feelings and memories. Since this can damage their relationships with loved ones, a little TLC (Tender Loving Canine) may be in order. The affectionate, non-judgmental nature of dogs makes them the perfect companion to bring veterans out of their shells.
Based in biology
Research has shown that spending time with dogs has quantifiable effects on human biology, such as increased levels of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin has been called the “love hormone” because it promotes trust and social bonding – two aspects of civilian life that often present problems with veterans with PTSD.