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Animals and Mental Illness


How animals can assist with mental illness...

You’re probably aware that pets are good for people. They love us unconditionally, make us laugh, give us exercise, keep us company and can sometimes sense when we’re feeling sad.

Pets are also great listeners. They can act as a therapist and will listening to us endlessly while comforting us at the same time. You can talk to your pet about anything and it’s almost guaranteed they won’t judge you.

Caring for an animal is also a positive way to give someone a sense of purpose. As pets need to be regularly fed, cleaned, exercised and shown lots of attention, they rely on their owners to do so.

Animals offer us unlimited affection, they have the ability to lower our stress levels and lift our spirits. They love us unconditionally and want to be around us most of the time. Research also shows that patting a pet releases endorphins. These are chemicals released from the brain that give us a sense of pleasure.

Pet therapy or animal-assisted therapy is also becoming common in hospitals and psychiatric wards as it's becoming more apparent that animals do assist with illness. Having a pet around can help improve a person’s mental, emotional, physical and social states.

Pets also give us the opportunity to meet other people and socialising with other pet owners as they socialise as well. How many times have you gone to pat a cute puppy or met someone at the dog park?

Dating back centuries, the appreciation of using pets as therapy started from long ago. Animals have also been used in the past to assist with people with disabilities as well as the elderly.

There’s no denying the bond between an animal and human is strong. They enhance our quality of life just by existing. It goes to show, we need them just as much as they need us!