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7 Ways Pets Can Help With Mental Health Issues

Mental-Health-Issues.jpg

The incidence of mental health issues has significantly increased over the last few years. People are experiencing a variety of mental health problems ranging from minimal everyday worries to severe and even life-threatening conditions.

How can we battle this developing problem?

We all have different ways to cope with the symptoms caused by our mental health. Some resort to prescription medications, while others seek comfort in therapy.

In the past few years, there has been a significant incline in the use of animals to assist in mitigating the symptoms caused by mental health.

Are pets really the best strategy to use to tame our demons?  

Let’s dive into this new trend to uncover the seven ways pets have been known to alleviate mental health issues.

1. Improve your sleep with the help of a pet

The topic of concern: Sleeping Disorders

What is a sleeping disorder?

Sleep disorders are conditions that cause a drastic change in sleeping patterns, which can negatively affect one’s health.

What are the main causes of sleeping disorders?

  • Medical Problems – Such as suffering from chronic conditions like migraine, arthritis, lupus syndrome, etc.
  • Psychiatric Disorders – For example, anxiety conditions and depressive disorders.
  • Environmental Issues – Which are things that surround you, such as your partner snoring, or lighting in your room.
Main Causes of Sleeping Disorder
Causes of Sleeping Disorder

What are the symptoms of sleeping disorders?

One or more symptoms you may experience:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Day time fatigue
  • Irritability or anxiety
  • Urge to take day time naps

What are some solutions to this problem?

Now let’s talk about different treatment options.

Solution # 1 – Pets or Emotional Support Animal (ESA) 

Below you will find a step by step process by which you can cure your sleeping problems with the help of an ESA.

Simple Steps:

Step # 1 – Identify and measure your sleep problems– If you are sleeping less than 3-4 hours daily, something is wrong with your sleep.

Step # 2- Make an appointment with the doctor– Get yourself properly examined by a medical doctor to confirm your illness.

Step # 3 – Ask about ESA (Emotional Support Animal) therapy– Educate yourself about ESA therapy and its benefits.

Step # 4 – Get yourself an ESA letter from an authentic source– It will allow you to live and travel with your pet for free.

Step # 5 – Buy a pet – It can be a dog, cat, or any other animal to your liking.

Step # 6 – Play with your pet – Make time to play Frisbee or any other sport with your pet.

Step # 7 – Sleep with your pet – Make a habit of sleeping alongside your pet.

Step # 8 – Experience an increase in your love hormone (Oxytocin) Level – By doing the activities mentioned above with your pet, you will experience a surge in your love hormone levels.

Step # 9 – Increased love hormone=better sleep – You will automatically sleep better once your love hormone levels are increased as it is linked to better sleep.

Step # 10 – Watch your sleep go up from 3 to 6 hours in a short space of time – You will notice an incredible improvement in the quantity and quality of your sleep in a limited amount of time.

You can get your ESA letter from licensed therapists at EzCare Clinic.

 Solution # 2 Medications with Side Effects

   A wide range of medications can be prescribed by your doctor based on the nature of your sleeping disorder. Listed below are several types of drugs along with their side effects that are commonly used to treat sleeping disorders.

1) Anti-Parkinsonian Drugs

2) Benzodiazepines

3) Non-Benzodiazepine Hypnotics

4) Anticonvulsants

5) Anti-Narcoleptics

6) Antidepressants

Precautionary Note – Make sure to ask about all of the side effects to any medications prescribed prior to usage, as some may cause more harm than aid.

Solution # 3 Lifestyle Changes

You can incorporate one or more of the following lifestyle changes for better sleep.

  • Eat more vegetables.
  • Drink at least eight glass of water
  • Reduce sugar intake
  • Limit your caffeine intake
  • Eat low carbohydrate meals during the night
  • Make a sleeping routine and strictly follow it
6 Lifestyle changes for a better sleeping routine
Lifestyle changes for better sleep

Solution # 4 Exercise

Physical training has been known to have positive effects on both physical and mental health. Working out is an excellent way to improve the quality of sleep. The exact mechanism of why exercise improves the quality of sleep is still unsettled. However, it has something to do with the stimulation of certain hormones during the workout.

Identifying the best time to work out is a very important factor when attempting this solution. Physical activity at late hours may severely interfere with the regulation of sleep.

2. Conquer your fear of flying by traveling with a pet

The topic of concern: Aerophobia (Fear of Flying)

What are the main causes of Aerophobia?

A few possible causes of this problem are:

  • Experiencing a bad flight – You might have experienced a “close call” during a trip that instilled this fear.
  • News About Plane Crashes – The heavy media coverage of airplane crashes often causes people to become afraid.
  • Anxiety Disorders – Different anxiety disorders might also cause a fear of flying.
Causes of Aviophobia
Causes of Aerophobia (Aviophobia)

What are the symptoms of Aerophobia?

One or more symptoms you may experience:

  • Persistent Anxiety During Flying
  • Chronic Fear Of the Plane Crashing Down
  • Steer clear of flights
  • Vomiting During Flying
  • Panic Attacks Of Severe Nature

What are some solutions to this problem?

Now let’s consider different management options.

 Solution # 1 Pets or Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

Below you will find a step by step process which can be used to overcome your fear of flying with the help of pets.

Simple Steps:

Step # 1 – See a medical doctor – A medical doctor will guide you better about your phobia and its management

Step # 2 – Enquire about the eligibility criteria of receiving an ESA letter – Check whether your condition entitles you to receive an ESA letter.

Step # 3 – Obtain your ESA letter from a reliable source – Now, you can travel with your pet on a plane without additional charges.

Step # 4 – Research about the type of animals allowed to accompany you on a plane – Do your research and adopt a pet accordingly.

Step # 5 – Next time travel with your ESA on a plane – Make sure to take your pet with you on your next flying journey.

Step # 6 – Sit close to your pet – Your seating should be near your pet

Step # 7 – Make eye contact with your pet – Look into the eyes of your pet.

Step # 8 – Smile at your pet – Keep smiling while looking at your pet.

Step # 9 – Keep your focus on ESA – Do anything that will keep you engaged with your pet.

Step # 10 – You have arrived at your destination – Solely focusing on your pet during a flight will help repress your fear and anxiety. This method will allow you to reach your destination without panic attacks.

Step # 11- Save your time – Travelling by other means can be very time-consuming. Acquire an ESA immediately and start traveling by air.

EzCare Medical Appointment
EzCare Medical Appointment

Solution # 2 Relaxation Techniques

Attempting the following relaxation techniques can help you keep calm during air travel:

1) Lengthen your breath by 2 or 3 seconds – In this technique, you have to inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your nose for 2 or 3 seconds longer than usual.

2) Alternate your breath between nostrils – Block one nostril allowing the air to fill up your lungs through the other nostril. Now hold your breath while you block the other nostril and exhale slowly via the opened nostril and repeat this process.

3) Try the 4-7-8 technique – Breath through your nose for 4 seconds. Now hold your breath for 7 seconds. Exhale through the mouth in the 8th second.

4) Tense your muscles to relax – Tense every muscle in your body, starting from your face working down to your toes. While flexing, breathe in through your nose for 3 to 4 seconds and exhale through your mouth for 5 to 6 seconds in the process of relaxing your muscles

Solution # 3 Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a technique in behavior therapy to treat anxiety disorders and phobias. It is done by exposing patients to specific images and virtual reality for one to three hours of therapy sessions.

It is one of the most successful known treatments of different phobias. A large number of people undergoing this therapy showed a considerable reduction in fear, avoidance, and overall level of impairment.

3. Say goodbye to your depression by living with a pet

The topic of concern: Depression

What are the main causes of Depression?

  • Certain drugs – For example, isotretinoin (used to treat acne), corticosteroids and the antiviral drug interferon-alpha can increase the risk of depression.
  • Death of a loved one – Although natural, the loss of a loved one can increase the risk of depression.
  • Trauma or abuse – Past physical, sexual, or emotional trauma or abuse can increase the susceptibility to depression in future life.
  • Genetics – The risk of you suffering from depression may be increased if it has been present in your lineage.
  • Major illnesses – Suffering from primary, or chronic illnesses increase the chance of developing depression
  • Addiction – People who are addicted to certain substances are at a higher risk of suffering from depression.
  • Hormonal abnormalities – Abnormal values of thyroid hormone may also lead to depression.
  • Sleep deprivation – People with lackluster sleep are at an increased risk of depression.
Causes of Depression ( Trauma, Drug Abuse, Genetics etc.)
Causes of depression

What are the symptoms of Depression?

One or more symptoms you may experience:

  • Lack of Motivation
  • Constant Fatigue
  • Loss of Appetite or Overeating
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling Of Hopelessness
  • Feeling Of Guilt
  • Difficulty Making Decisions
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Suicidal Thoughts

What are some solutions to this problem?

Let’s take a look at different curative options.

Solution # 1 Pets or Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

Below you will find a step by step process of how pets can help you with your depression.

Simple Steps:

Step # 1 – Analyze your symptoms – Quantify the number and severity of the symptoms you are experiencing.

Step # 2 – Consult your doctor – If you are experiencing a number of symptoms, it’s better to discuss it with your doctor to confirm the diagnosis.

Step # 3 – Ask your doctor about the positive role of pets in depression – Learn more about the helpful effects of an ESA in depression

Step # 4 – Demand an ESA letter or acquire it online from a legalized channel – It is totally up to you on how you want to get an ESA letter.

Step # 5 – Pick a pet you want and adopt it – Your ESA can depend upon your liking.

Step # 6 – Enjoy your pet’s comforting presence – Lower your stress levels by sharing a space with your friendly pet.

Step # 7 – Share your most personal and deepest secrets with your pet – Don’t worry about the consequences of the full disclosure of your problems, your ESA will never judge you and will love you unconditionally no matter what!

Step # 8 – Gently pat your ESA as much as possible – The healing power of touch can never be ignored, so caress your pet whenever possible.

Step # 9 – Experience the surge in your happy hormone (Serotonin) levels – Your happy hormone level will increase tremendously, making you happy and calm.

Step # 10 – Live a depression free life thanks to your ESA – Normal values of the happy hormone in your brain will make the depression a thing of the past, and you can live with your pet happily ever after.

Make an appointment now to get your ESA letter from licensed therapists at EzCare Clinic.

Solution # 2 Antidepressant Medications with Side Effects

The mechanism of action of most antidepressants is to either increase the level of Happy Hormone (Serotonin) in the brain or decrease its clearance rate. The doctor can prescribe an antidepressant alone or in combination with other antidepressants depending on the signs and symptoms of your condition.

Listed below are some of the types of antidepressant medication.

1) SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)

2) SNRIs (Serotonin and Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors)

3) Serotonin Modulator (Vortioxetine)

4) TCAs(Tricyclic Antidepressants)

5) Tetracyclic Antidepressants

6) MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors)

Precautionary Note – These medications should only be taken on the advice of your doctor after proper examination and diagnosis of your condition.

Solution # 3 Psychotherapy

In Psychotherapy, depression is treated by talking about your condition with a mental health professional. It can help you to:

  • Recognize negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones
  • Adjust to your current crisis
  • Find better ways to cope with your situation
  • Change behaviors that negatively contribute to your depression
  • Manage your anger and hopelessness
  • Regain a sense of satisfaction by controlling your symptoms of depression

Solution # 4 Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

ECT works on the principle of passing electric currents to influence the function of neurotransmitters in your brain to relieve the symptoms of depression. This treatment is usually reserved for people who don’t show improvements with other forms of treatment, can’t tolerate the side effects of antidepressants or for the people who are at high risk of committing suicide.

4.Ease your chronic pain with the support of a pet

The topic of concern: Chronic Pain

What are the main causes of Chronic Pain?

One or more causes of Chronic Pain are:

  • Headache – It can be a migraine or any other type of chronic headache.
  • Nerve injury – Nerve damage can lead to constant pain.
  • Psychogenic problems – Mental, emotional and behavioral factors may induce chronic physical pain.
  • Post-surgery – In any major surgical procedure, there is an added risk of suffering from chronic post-surgical pain afterward.
  • Cancer – Different types of cancers can cause chronic pains.
  • FibromyalgiaChronic pain caused by widespread muscle and bone problems fall into this category.
  • Arthritis – Specially osteoarthritis is infamous for causing chronic joint pains

What are the symptoms of chronic pain?

Your symptoms of chronic pain might include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Numbness
  • Soreness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Stiffness
  • Stabbing Sensation
  • Mood Swings
  • Loss Of Stamina

What are some solutions to this problem?

Let’s consider different options for chronic pain management.

Solution # 1 Pets or Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

Below you will find a step by step process to control your chronic pain with the help of a pet.

Simple Steps:

Step # 1 – Explore the cause and nature of your chronic pain – See a doctor and determine the cause and intensity of your pain.

Step # 2 – Investigate the stories about pets helping in chronic pain management – Search it online to know about the experiences of other people in regards to the association of an ESA with pain management.

Step # 3 – Make the addition of a pet in your family after receiving your ESA letter – Your ESA letter has to be issued from an authentic source.

Step # 4 – Accompany your ESA to bed – Research has shown that sleeping with your pet improves the quality of sleep in people suffering from chronic pain.

Step # 5 – Take your pet to work – Don’t take leave of disability or quit your job due to chronic pain; just take your pet with you at work.

Step # 6 – Go on mini walks with your pet at work – Take several mini walks with your pet to get a daily dose of exercise to reduce pain by controlling your weight.

Step # 7 – Lay your pet on your painful joint or limb – Let your ESA gently massage or lick your painful part to relieve pain.

Step # 8 – Lower your dependency on painkillers – You will need a lot less quantity of painkillers in the presence of an ESA.

Step # 9 – Bring down the intensity of your pain substantially – With the help of your pet, you can manage your pain effectively.

EzCare Medical Appointment
EzCare Medical Appointment

Solution # 2 Painkillers with Side Effects

There are a variety of painkillers available in the market with different sets of the mechanism of actions. Your doctor can prescribe you painkillers according to the nature, location, and intensity of your pain.

Below you will find some of the most common types of painkillers.

1) NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)

2) Paracetamol (Acetaminophen)

3) Non-Opioid Painkillers

4) Opioid Painkillers

5) Muscle Relaxants

Precautionary Note – Consult your doctor before starting painkiller medications and ask about the possible side effects.

Solution # 3 Nerve Block Procedures

In these procedures, pain signals along the pathway of a specific nerve are blocked with the help of an injection to reduce inflammation. Some commonly performed nerve block procedures are:

  • Epidural Steroid Injection
  • Lumbar Sympathetic Block
  • Celiac Plexus Block
  • Facet Joint Injection
  • Stellate Ganglion Block

Precautionary Note – These procedures come with their side effects, and they should only be performed under the supervision of a doctor by a trained health professional.

Solution # 4 TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Therapy)

TENS therapy employs electrical stimulation to decrease pain. During this procedure, electrodes are placed at your skin at the site of the source of pain, and low voltage electrical current is applied through them.

The electricity stimulates the nerves in the affected region, and signals are sent to the brain to disrupt normal pain pathways. This therapy is useful to mask certain types of chronic pains, such as the one arising in diabetic neuropathy.

5.Punch your anxiety in the face by interacting with a pet

The topic of concern: Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety Disorder
All About Anxiety

What are the main causes of anxiety?

One or more causes of anxiety are:

  • Genetics – People with a family history of anxiety are more likely to be affected by it.
  • Environmental factors – For example, stress plays a key vital in the development of anxiety disorders.
  • Use of an illicit drug – For example, cocaine can also, cause anxiety disorder.
  • Medical illnesses – Such as a heart attack, heat stroke and hypoglycemia can also manifest as an anxiety disorder.
  • Personality – People with specific personalities are more prone to anxiety disorders.

 What are the symptoms of anxiety?

One on more symptoms you may experience:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal problems
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Muscular tension

What are some solutions to this problem?

Now let’s talk about different treatment options.

 Solution # 1 Pets or Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

Below you will find a step by step process to overcome anxiety with the help of animals.

 Simple Steps:

Step # 1 – Differentiate between different anxiety disorders – See a doctor and talk about your anxiety symptoms to identify the type of anxiety disorder that is causing you troubles.

Step # 2 – The all-important ESA letter – Be entirely sure to obtain it from a legitimate channel.

Step # 3 – Decide your pet preference – It’s good to know what your choice for animals is, whether it is a dog, a cat, or an exotic animal.

Step # 4 – Entertain yourself by playing with your pet -It would diffuse your anxiety, and small problems will not escalate into something huge.

Step # 5 – Take your pet out for a walk in the park – It would be a great way to reduce your anxiety while getting a little workout.

Step # 6 – Meet new people in the park – Your pet is an automatic conversation starter, and it will help you make new friends.

Step # 7 – Make new friends – Your interactions in the park would lay the foundation for you to make new friends.

Step # 8 – Socializing curbs anxiety through happy hormone (Oxytocin) – Socializing with the help of your pet would stimulate the love hormone (Oxytocin) in your brain. As a result, your anxiety levels will be lowered.

Step # 9 – Diminish your anxiety with the help of a pet – By following the above-mentioned steps, you would be able to fix or at least lower your anxiety levels.

Make an appointment now to get your ESA letter from licensed therapists.

Solution # 2 Medications with Side Effects

The following types of drugs are used to treat different anxiety disorders.

1) Antidepressants

2) Buspirone

3) Benzodiazepines (Beta-Blockers)

Precautionary Note – These medications should only be taken after proper examination, diagnosis, and prescription by the doctor. In case you experience any side effects, immediately consult your doctor.

 Solution # 3 Lifestyle Improvements

  • Perform Regular Physical Activity
  • Don’t Compromise On Your Sleep
  • Switch To A Healthy Diet
  • Quit Smoking
  • Lower Your Caffeine Consumption
  • Apply Relaxation Techniques Like Yoga And Meditation
  • Avoid Recreational Drugs

Solution # 4 Psychological Counseling

Psychological counseling or talk therapy involves making appointments and working with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychological counseling that works best for anxiety disorders. It teaches you techniques to mitigate anxiety symptoms and to stop avoiding activities because of them.

6. Get rid of your loneliness by partnering with a pet

The topic of concern: Loneliness

What are the main causes of Loneliness?

One of more causes of loneliness are:

1) Lack of friendly relations – Children and adolescents who lack friendly relations have a higher possibility of feeling lonely later in life.

2) Death of a loved one – The inability to deal with the death of a loved one may also lead to loneliness.

3) Socially disruptive event – For example, moving away from your home and adjusting to a new place may result in the feeling of loneliness.

4) Social anxiety – It can cause social isolation and may lead to loneliness.

5) Fear of rejection – The fear of humiliation and rejection is so debilitating that it may cause self-induced isolation.

What are the symptoms of Loneliness?

Loneliness may result in the following symptoms:

  • Lower Energy Levels
  • A Tendency Fall Sick More Frequently
  • Cravings for Physical Warmth
  • Foggy Feeling
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Interrupted Sleep
  • Substance Abuse
  • Addiction To Social Media

Let’s take a look at all the different treatment options.

What are some solutions to this problem?

Solution # 1 Pets or Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

Below you will find a step by step process to battle your loneliness with the help of pets.

Simple Steps:

Step # 1 – Take action right now by obtaining your ESA letter – If you are alone, don’t overthink, and get your ESA letter from an authentic source.

Step # 2 – Take your ESA home – Again, the choice of pet totally depends on you.

Step # 3 – Go home after work to be greeted by your pet – Instead of returning to vast loneliness, go home to the caring existence of your pet.

Step # 4 – Just sit and eat besides your pet – Say no more to eating alone, enjoy a meal in the loving presence of your pet and maybe watch some news while doing so.

Step # 5 – Cuddle with your pet – the warm, fuzzy feeling of cuddling with your pet will take away your loneliness in no time.

Step # 6 – Plan a road trip with your pet – It would be an excellent way for you to clear your head and think clearly while enjoying a ride with your furry friend

Step # 7 – Never ever be alone again – Your Pikachu or whatever you name your pet would never allow you to suffer from loneliness again.

EzCare Medical Appointment
EzCare Medical Appointment

Solution # 2 Lifestyle Suggestions

  • Stay in touch with your family and friends
  • Develop a new positive hobby
  • Take a break from social media
  • Move out of your home for some time
  • Visit a nursing home
  • Participate in community services
  • Try to socialize more

Solution # 3 Therapy Sessions

Therapy is a common and effective method to deal with loneliness. During therapy, the emphasis is given to understanding the cause of the problem and come up with solutions to alter the negative thoughts and attitudes. Group therapy is also recommended by doctors. Doctors may also prescribe antidepressants as an adjuvant therapy to deal with loneliness.

7. Find your motivation by taking care of a pet

 The topic of concern: Lack of Motivation (Apathy)

 What are the main causes of a lack of motivation?

  • Depression – Depression tends to take away your energy and motivation.
  • Trying too hard to please everyone – in the effort to impress everyone, it may eventually lead to de-motivation because you are unaware of your own needs
  • Fixed state of mind – A fixed state of mind renders you incapable of growth and development which causes demotivation.
  • Feeling of overwhelming pressure – When you have too many things going on in life, you may feel overwhelmed and get demotivated.
  • Medical conditions – Such as Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, Parkinson’s disease may also cause apathy.

What are the symptoms of a lack of motivation?

One or more symptoms you may experience:

  • Diminished Emotions
  • Behavioral Changes
  • Negative Impact on the Quality Of Life
  • Lower Levels of Energy
  • Lack of Feeling of Pleasure

What are some solutions to this problem?

Let’s consider the best management options.

Solution # 1 Pets or Emotional Support Animals

Below you will find a step by step process of how pets can help you find the necessary motivation in life.

Simple Steps:

Step # 1 – Pinpoint the cause of your de-motivation – Whether it is related to a disease process or not.

Step # 2 – Adopt a pet from a shelter home – After receiving your ESA letter, adopt a pet, and bring it home.

Step # 3 – Build a home for your pet – The type of home obviously depends on the species of your ESA.

Step # 4 – Look after the food requirement of your pet – Make it a habit to go beyond your ways to feed your pet top quality food.

Step # 5 – Groom your pet – Change the hairstyle, or try fancy costumes on your pet.

Step # 6 – Make regular appointments at a veterinary clinic – To keep your pet disease-free, check-in with your vet regularly.

Step # 7 – Congratulations! your motivation is restored – By taking care of your pet, you have found a new sense of purpose and motivation in your life.

Make an appointment now to get your ESA letter from licensed therapists.

Solution # 2 Behavioral Modifications

  • Move out of your bed and do something fun
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid overworking
  • Make a routine of your daily tasks
  • Reward yourself after completion of your tasks
  • Sleep at least 7 hours daily
  • Get help from your family and friends

Solution # 3 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy    

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective way to treat low motivation. It works on the principle of changing your thinking and behavior patterns.

Some of the following interventions may be used as part of behavioral therapy:

  • Cognitive Reconstruction
  • Anti-procrastination Training
  • Mindfulness Training
  • Systematic Exposure
  • Behavioral Chain Analysis

Source:

https://www.caredash.com/articles/how-emotional-support-animals-can-help-treat-mental-illness

        At EzCare Clinic, patients struggling with mental illness have access to the best treatment options available. Also, here they can get an ESA letter from licensed therapists. Experienced counselors are on staff that can work with you to learn coping techniques with proven success.

 

EzCare Medical Appointment
EzCare Medical Appointment

 

 


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