Pet Therapy

PictureJovi

Whether it’s a cat, a dog, or some other animal you love, pets can be a rewarding part of your life. This is true for most people, but especially so for those with Bipolar Disorder. When you have bipolar disorder, one of the most common and detrimental triggers is stress. Stress worsens most bipolar conditions and should be avoided at all costs.

Pets help reduce stress. One way that works is the act of petting your animal. Newlifeoutlook.com reports that petting actually releases a brain chemical called oxytocin. This reduces stress and increases emotional bonding. It also reduces blood pressure, and heart and respiratory rates. It’s healthy to own a pet. Pets keep you active. You play with them, groom them, bathe them and walk them (of course, depending on what type pet you own). Pets also help to keep your life to a schedule – another good care attribute for people with bipolar.

Pets love you unconditionally. They love you no matter what kind of mood you’re in. Because of this they can help build your self-worth and your confidence. If you walk a dog, that not only gives you exercise, but can also help you in social situations (when you come upon other walkers). These are all benefits to bipolar disorder.

A pet can be your best friend. They can keep you company and help you from feeling isolated and alone. You can talk to your pet – they keep great secrets. When you’re depressed, cuddling your cat or dog can surely give you comfort. If you have paranoia around being alone, a dog can provide protection.

Therapy dogs are brought many places these days. They are even brought to psychiatric wards at hospitals, and offer patients the opportunity to interact with the dogs. This is found to reduce anxiety in the patients. Even service dogs are now available for psychiatric care. These special dogs can be trained to retrieve medication, retrieve water, bring the telephone, prompt you to leave situations on cue and more.

I have a dog, an Irish Setter, and two cats. I’m usually in the house all day, alone, so my dog, Jovi, is my companion. She’s a lazy dog who loves to lounge on couches, but she usually does so in the room I’m in. I have to care for her by letting her out when she needs it. And, yes, I do talk to her. My two cats often sleep with me. George (the orange tabby) sleeps by my face, whereas Charlie, keeps my toes warm. I’ve had pets all my life and appreciate them now more than ever. I can’t imagine life without a furry friend.

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George & Charlie

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