If you suffer from panic disorder, a trained dog, cat, or horse may provide the therapy you need.
“Service” dogs have been widely used to help people with all types of disabilities. These days, helpful creatures participate with us in Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). These dogs, cats, and horses, are not merely pets. They are animals trained to provide support to a human in need. Your therapeutic pooch can even help you manage a panic attack.
Panic disorder is often treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. A panic attack is a sudden overwhelming surge of anxiety. Symptoms can include: hyperventilation, chest pain, trembling, choking feeling, nausea, sweating, and a sense of being completely out of control. Panic disorder would encompass repeat episodes of attacks as well as a perpetual fear of having another attack.
“Talk” therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy may help you discover the key triggers for your attacks. Observing thinking patterns will be necessary. You’ll want to explore negative thoughts, their origins, and how you can replace them with positivity. To do that, you’ll need to feel somewhat secure and safe. Some people are unable to manage to get that far. This is precisely where AAT might benefit.
A therapeutic animal can aid with stress-reduction. Research has shown that pets can help lower blood pressure and relieve anxiety. Using animals can assist a person in feeling more trusting in a therapeutic environment. AAT may hasten and enhance the treatment process.
A specialist who uses AAT for mental health services such as panic disorder and agoraphobia must be a qualified mental-health services provider.
Besides providing emotional therapy, there are service animals that also provide “physical” emotional support. Some dogs are trained to provide deep pressure therapy to their owner during a panic attack. The pressure of the weight of a medium sized dog against the sufferer’s abdomen and chest has been reported to have a significant calming effect.
If claustrophobia triggers your panic attacks, a dog can be trained to keep others from entering your personal space. He will repeatedly circle you, keeping other people at a preferred distance. And if you’re in the middle of an attack, your dog can be trained to lick your face, distract you, and reframe and re-orient your reality.
Depending on the type of remedial work you’re putting in and if medication is assisting, will determine your progress. If you are a panic attack sufferer, that does not mean you will always suffer. A process is entailed, but through therapy, mindfulness, meditation, and possibly a therapeutic animal, you will be able to lead a less-worrisome life.
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