Over the past few decades, an increasing amount of research has been done on the therapeutic effects of positive animal interactions and pet ownership for people who suffer from anxiety. This research has indicated the effects of pet interaction and identified good pets for anxiety. Learn more about how pets can help manage the symptoms of anxiety disorders.
Positive Emotional and Physiological Effects of Pets
Numerous studies indicate that pets can have positive emotional and physiological effects on people. The emotional effects of animal-assisted therapy include an increase in dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin levels after just five minutes of interacting with an animal. All of these effects are particularly beneficial to people of any age who suffer from anxiety.
Over thirty years ago, psychologist Alan Beck of Purdue University and psychiatrist Aaron Katcher of the University of Pennsylvania published a study indicating that petting a dog can cause a person’s blood pressure levels to drop, slow the heart rate, regulate breathing and relax muscle tension. In general, contact and interaction with therapy animals and pets can help to relieve the primary physiological symptoms of anxiety and stress
Mutually Beneficial Relationships Between People and Pets
Adults who have pets often point out how animals regulate their schedule and provide opportunities for caretaking that give their lives purpose and meaning. Children can also share in these benefits, particularly when they are held responsible for caring for a pet. This fulfilling source of responsibility may reduce brain fog in kids as part of a holistic approach to managing attention and anxiety disorders.
A 2015 study published by the United States Centers for Disease Control involving 643 children, a little over half of whom had pet dogs at home, found lower rates of anxiety among kids who regularly spent time around pets. Students in autism classrooms with pet guinea pigs have been reported to be more social, to smile and laugh more and to show fewer signs of stress than in classrooms without pets.
Combining Pet Care With Holistic Anxiety Treatments
Caring for pets can have far-reaching benefits for people and animals. As not all anxiety is a symptom of an anxiety disorder, a pet may play a significant part in reducing this emotion and associated physiological symptoms for people who occasionally experience anxiety. Pet care is only part of a broader approach to treatment for individuals with persistent anxiety or related conditions.
Adults, teens and children may benefit from holistic anxiety treatments such as Brillia for hyperactivity and from lifestyle changes such as getting proper nutrition and adequate sleep, prioritizing mindfulness and relaxation and controlling screen time. If getting a pet is not practical, it may be possible to help out at a rescue center or work as a volunteer animal caretaker.
Adopting good pets for anxiety or finding ways to interact with animals on a regular basis can benefit anxiety sufferers at any age. Whether you are looking for ways to help a child or teen or dealing with anxiety as an adult, you should not overlook the potential benefits of pets.