Pets Invaluable to Those With Mental Conditions

In this article from WebMD, this is a look at a study done in the UK and is based on self reported answers from patients there.  Pets are a valuable source of stimulation, and comfort for those with mental conditions yet pets are rarely thought of when treatment plans are being built for that same person.

Pets help us much more than we give back to them.  Pets aid some with anxiety, sometimes pets become caretakers for medical conditions, pets provide social interactions for a segment of the population that is usually not included in social activities.

Please read this article and do your own research.  See if you don’t agree that pets can be a major asset in the life of a mentally compromised person.

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Pets Invaluable to Those With Mental Conditions

6 out of 10 patients put furry or feathered friends at the top of their support list, study finds
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Robert Preidt   HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Cats, dogs, birds and other pets can help people manage their mental disorders, a new study says.

Researchers from the United Kingdom asked more than 50 adults with long-term mental conditions about the role pets play in their social networks.

Sixty percent placed pets in the central and most important circle — above family, friends and hobbies. Another 20 percent placed pets in the second circle.

Many said the constant presence and close proximity of their pets provide an immediate source of calm. For some, a pet helps distract them from symptoms and upsetting experiences such as hearing voices or suicidal thoughts.

“You just want to sink into a pit… the cats force me to sort of still be involved with the world,” one patient said.

Another patient said: “I’m not thinking of the voices, I’m just thinking of the birds singing.”

The findings were published Dec. 8 in the journal BMC Psychiatry.

“The people we spoke to through the course of this study felt their pet played a range of positive roles, such as helping them to manage stigma associated with their mental health by providing acceptance without judgment,” said study lead author Helen Brooks, from the University of Manchester.

“Pets were also considered particularly useful during times of crisis,” Brooks said in a journal news release.

“Pets provided a unique form of validation through unconditional support, which [the patients] were often not receiving from other family or social relationships,” she said.

Despite this, pets weren’t considered in the individual care plans for any of the people in the study, Brooks said.

The results suggest pets should be considered a main source of support in the management of long-term mental health problems, Brooks and…(read the rest here)

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