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Do Pets Help With Depression?

Pets Help With DepressionThere has been a lot of sound research which suggests that pets can help improve depression symptoms. As humans, we stand atop of the animal kingdom and have the same biological instincts to be socially interactive creatures as other animals. In my opinion, making the decision to buy a cat or dog to reduce depression symptoms has many extra benefits.Prior to working as a private therapist in Chicago, I had the honor of counseling people with major depression disorder as a social worker at various agencies. Several of my clients struggled with social anxiety, agoraphobia, as well as excessive isolation. With some individuals, I suggested that owning a pet might help improve their overall mood level. In almost all cases when a pet was purchased- the animal had a wonderful impact on their depressive symptoms.

How do pets help with depression?

A study published by the American Psychological Association reports that pets are good for everyday people.  The research indicates that being a pet owner decreases feeling lonely, boosts self-esteem, along with increased physical health benefits.

What are basic depression symptoms?

Depression symptoms can include sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, guilt, low energy, including weight loss/gain. Additionally depressed persons can experience interest loss and suicidal thoughts. Getting therapy from a clinical psychotherapist can help. If you are battling depression, below is a list of how pets might be helpful.

  • Unconditional Love.  Your new kitten or puppy won’t judge you.  The cute furry little animal only wants to be your friend. A cat isn??t going to make you feel bad about past mistakes. A dog isn’t go to give you opinionated advice. Animals have an uncanny ability to almost sense how you are feeling.  You can talk to a pet without getting negative feedback. By the way, it is more than okay to adopt an older pet.
  • Reduces Being Alone.  Almost anyone who suffers from depression knows that isolating one’s self makes things worse. There might be days when you simply don’t have enough energy to leave home. Dog owners know that their pooches need walking everyday. This provides you an excellent opportunity to mingle with other dog owners around the neighborhood. Plus, there are the added benefits from walking, which also reduce depressive symptoms.
  • Physical Touch.  CNN News has recently reported that snuggling with a pet can improve your immune system and actually lower blood pressure. Maybe that’s why O’Hare Airport makes pet therapy Dogs available to lower stress among travelers. Relaxation reduces the body’s stress hormone called Cortisol.
  • Family Member.  Perhaps you have experienced bad relations with your own family? With cats and dogs, arguments are not included. Many pet owners, me included, consider their animals to be like adopted children. They look up to us for friendship and we love them back, more than anything in the world.

Which Pet is Right for You?

Whether you choose a can or a dog to help with depression is really up to you. Cats require less maintenance but demand their master to be quite patient. In my experience, a cat rules the house and teaches you to see the world through their eyes. This trait can be useful with many other aspects of life.Dogs are the perfect way to have a daily schedule.  Since a dog needs to be walked each day, this forces you to get out of the house and move your body so that he can do his business. Physical exercise has been scientifically documented to improve depression. Dogs, like felines also like cuddling. You might find yourself laughing a lot more when your pup plants a big wet lick on your face.

Learn from Animals.

If we observe wildlife, we can easily see that socializing is the norm. Monkeys travel in troops as a way to stay together. Dolphins form social circles known as pods to have a sense of belonging. Your pet will interrupt you as the leader. Having responsibility can often improve self-esteem.If you are considering getting a pet, please take time to think hard about it. Owning a pet is a major responsibility which mandates dedication. There are hundreds of different breeds to check out. I would also highly suggest talking to your local animal shelter about adoption procedures. Little fur balls are certainly not the answer to all emotional problems. Having said this, many people will attest that pets do help with depression.