Thinking of getting a dog or cat for a person with Bipolar Disorder? The benefits of pets for this disorder are immense. We all know how cute and cuddly pets can be. These fluffy critters serve a larger purpose for many of us besides being an adorable fixture in the house. Pet ownership can be a thoroughly rewarding experience that improves our state of mind and maintains well-being. In particular, pets are an effective tool for helping people with bipolar disorder cope and thrive.
Every day, individuals with bipolar disorder must challenge themselves to move past personal obstacles this disease places in their path. They must live with and strive to overcome daily bouts of severe lows and manic highs. Even mild bipolar disorder can cause significant upheaval in an individual’s life.
If you are unsure whether you have bipolar disorder, learn more about the condition at https://www.mind-diagnostics.org/blog/bipolar-disorder.
If you live with bipolar disorder and are looking for additional ways to thrive, consider pet ownership. Here are ten benefits of owning a pet that may convince you to take that step.
10 Benefits of Pets for People with Bipolar Disorder:
Pets sleep a lot, especially pets that have reached adulthood. Imagine a fluffy dog or silky cat lounging on the sofa, relaxed and cuddly looking. Even the thought of a snuggly pet is relaxing. Snuggling with a pup or kitty cat on the couch calms the nerves and relaxes the body.
2. Benefits of Exercise
If your pet is a dog and an energetic one at that, you’ll need to exercise them with daily walks or outside play like fetch. The benefit of getting your pet outdoors is getting yourself outside, too. Exercise releases happy vibes in the form of serotonin, and it gives you healthy doses of Vitamin D, essential to your body and mind well-being.
Living with bipolar disorder can leave you feeling isolated and lonely, especially during periods when the lows are intense and long-lasting. Pets help ease those feelings of isolation. They are there for you, providing companionship so you don’t feel alone in the world.
4. Focus Outside Self
Hyperfocus on oneself is particularly common for those living with mental illness, let alone those who do not struggle with mental well-being. Pets serve as a means of transferring the focus from yourself to another living being. Because they are in your life 24/7, you likely won’t shut them out. Instead, they will become an extension of you in a way and give you another way to focus your energy.
Trained dogs can provide a unique service to those with bipolar disorder who also experience hallucinations. These special dogs are trained to detect and signal anything out of place. Owning a dog like this can assure you that what you are seeing or hearing is not real.
6. Staying Connected with the World
This is one of the most important benefits of pets for people with bipolar disorder. The pull to withdraw from the world is strong for those living with bipolar disorder. Staying connected with loved ones, with family, with your community can seem nearly impossible depending on the condition’s intensity.
Pets serve as a way for you to stay connected, especially dogs. When you’re out and about with your dog, you’ll likely interact with others that you otherwise wouldn’t have given a second glance.
7. No Judgement
Pets don’t judge you. They don’t give you troubling looks. They don’t leave you because you’ve had a bad week or month or year. Pets are there for you, and you can love and care for them without fearing judgment. You can feel free to be yourself, knowing your pet will be there through the good and the bad.
8. Unconditional Love
Pets will love you their entire life. They rely on you for food, protection, care, and love. To them, you are the one they love and rely on. When things get rough, you can turn to your pet and feel their unconditional love.
Feeling a sense of purpose is one fundamental element of thriving through any mental illness. Though, it’s easy to lose sight of purpose when obstacles stand in the way. Pet ownership gives you a sense of purpose that you can’t avoid no matter how you’re feeling. You get up each day because your pet needs you to do so.
Living with bipolar disorder can be scary, especially if you’re going through it alone. Pets, particularly dogs, can help you feel protected — that there’s someone there to watch over you while you struggle. They can help you feel safe and secure when you feel farthest from it.
Whether it’s a dog, cat, hamster, bird, or even fish, consider investing in pet ownership. The benefits of pets far outweigh the sacrifices. A well-chosen pet will serve as a best friend, cuddle buddy, dependent, battle partner, and protector all in one. And, if you aren’t sure you’re ready to take that step, consider fostering a dog or cat first to get a feel for if pet ownership is right for you.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with Mind-Diagnostics.org. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.