Searching for info on how do dogs help with depression? You’ve reached the right place. Depression is a deeply serious mental health issue that can be debilitating and immensely challenging. The American Psychological Association states that depression can cause people to lose energy, withdraw from others, and even wrestle with thoughts of suicide.
There are a series of situations that can lead to depression, just as there are also many risk factors for this type of mental health issue. However, despite the darkness that depression can bring into people’s personal lives, mental health specialists, such as the ones working with Mind Diagnostics, can be of great help.
Dogs, interestingly enough, can also be amazingly helpful for people who are dealing with depression. While many people have heard about the outstanding benefits of service dogs, fewer are aware of how dogs can help with depression.
Keep reading to learn about the great ways that dogs can be of help to people who are facing depression.
How Do Dogs Help With Depression:
1. They Help Reduce Negative Feelings
As it turns out, research has proven that interacting with dogs cuts back on feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and even depression itself. On average, dog owners also have a lower likelihood of heart disease; they furthermore reap the benefits of lower blood pressure levels than their counterparts who do not have dogs.
Even if you don’t own a dog, simply playing with dogs also helps reduce negative emotions. When people play with dogs, levels of dopamine and oxytocin increase; these chemicals in turn encourage feelings of positivity and bonding with the dog.
For people struggling with depression, the reduction of negative feelings is a vital benefit that dogs can bring. It also goes without saying that the more interactions a person struggling with depression has with dogs, the more benefits they are likely to reap from the contact.
2. They Help You Get Your Body Moving
Exercise plays a vital role in mental health and in fighting depression. Because dogs require movement, playing with them will inevitably involve getting your body moving. This allows for physical exercise which triggers endorphins.
The release of endorphins then causes pain relief, motivation, and even feelings of connection to others. All of this plays an absolutely vital role for someone working against depression. Getting your body moving with dogs can also prove to be great for company while also reducing feelings of loneliness.
3. They Can Provide Emotional Support
Did you know that many people who have struggled with depression, personality disorders, etc., have found dogs to be a great emotional support system?
Unlike service dogs, emotional support dogs are not always trained to carry out particular tasks; however, emotional support dogs can be very therapeutic and have an anecdotal track record of helping many people who wrestled with depression and other mental and emotional health challenges.
Many pet shops and stores, particularly online, are great for locating available emotional support dogs near you.
4. They Create Opportunities to Socialize with Others
It is not uncommon for dog owners and dog sitters to take their pets out walking. In fact, this is very important for anyone who owns a dog or who is entrusted with caring for a dog.
Going out to a park, even to a dog park, creates the opportunity for people who are dealing with depression to interact with other human beings. Even a smile, a quick hello, or other small interactions with other people can make such an immensely positive difference in the life of someone facing depression.
Exposure to sunlight, fresh air, and nature is also very good for both the body and the mind. All of this plays a role in a person’s wellbeing, especially if they are dealing with depression.
5. They Provide Unconditional Love
Dogs’ ability to provide unconditional love is another great way that they help with depression. Many people don’t know this, but dogs have the ability to intuitively tell when someone is feeling less than happy; in cases such as this, dogs have been known to offer comfort, curl up with humans, and provide much-needed company.
Unconditional love can be an amazing anecdote against depression, especially when compounded with the other ways that dogs can help people who are struggling mentally and emotionally.
6. They Can Get Your Mind Off Negative Things
There are many negative feelings, events from the past, and other factors that adversely contribute to depression. Dogs are great in this regard, though, because just their presence alone can get your mind off of negative things.
Getting a break from the pressures of the world and simply spending time with dogs can be a relief for anyone. It is especially therapeutic for people who are struggling with depression. A temporary and healthy means of escape can also give the mind a break, allowing for a constructive outlet and something to look forward to in the future.
I hope this article gave you some answers to the question of how do dogs help with depression. Dogs have the ability to not just help with depression, but they can also make life immensely happier, more enriching, and more fulfilling.
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.