A few years ago, Smithsonianmag.com posted an article about PTSD entitled “New research finds that “man’s best friend” could be lifesavers for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan”
Teaching the dogs service commands develops a patient’s ability to communicate, to be assertive but not aggressive, a distinction some struggle with. The dogs can also assuage the hyper vigilance (Hypervigilance is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect activity. Hypervigilance may bring about a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion.)
Hyper vigilance common in vets with PTSD. Some participants report they finally got some sleep knowing that a naturally alert soul was standing watch.
The animals draw out even the most isolated personality, and having to praise the animals helps traumatized veterans overcome emotional numbness.
Researchers are accumulating evidence that bonding with dogs has biological effects, such as elevated levels of the hormone oxytocin. “Oxytocin improves trust, the ability to interpret facial expressions, the overcoming of paranoia and other pro-social effects—the opposite of PTSD symptoms,” says Meg Daley Olmert of Baltimore, who works for a program called Warrior Canine Connection.
Often when brave men and women are serving in a war zone they find themselves adopting one of the many stray dogs or cats that are struggling to survive there. These soldiers are not only a salvation for the animal; the dog or cat are often described as ‘lifelines’ to their soldier, providing a respite from war, a moment of peace, home and love.
When the soldier’s tour of duty comes to an end, it is unthinkable to leave their four legged comrade that they’ve bonded with, behind.
Today another 22 Military veterans will die in North America at their own hand to end the pain caused by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
One of the most unexpected and wonderful things that Nowzad has achieved is that they have had SEVEN rescued street dogs become fully fledged Service Dogs in the USA!
These dogs are now a much valued and loved lifeline to their veterans who are suffering from PTSD, and the owners say that the fact these dogs have endured a war zone only strengthens the connection and understanding. Properly trained PTSD Service Dogs can and do change and save lives.
The dogs respond to their anxiety and take the member out of those situations. Watch the members back in crowds. Provide the member with a perimeter in crowds, wake the member from nightmares and snap the member out of flashbacks.