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Service dogs for mental health issues

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Old 12-31-2006, 01:26 AM   #1
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jete23 HB User
Service dogs for mental health issues

So, last night I was watching that Dog Whisperer show on National Geographic, which I never do, and a lady was on who suffered from panic attacks. She had basically stayed holed up in her home for over a year. During that time, she got a puppy, and the puppy really helped to relax her and calm her down. So, she began training the dog as a service dog, so that he could leave the house and go to stores and restaurants with her, like they would with a blind person.

I thought this was an absolutely awesome idea. People with mental health disorders should be allowed to utilize service dogs as well. My dogs really help to calm and distract me. I am actually in the process of getting a puppy and I think once it is old enough, I may train it to be a service dog as well!

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Old 12-31-2006, 08:59 AM   #2
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ocdengineer HB User
Re: Service dogs for mental health issues

I thin that is kind of a cop out. The whole idea is to get out of the house ourselves and beat the dissease. I would hope that we should leave the house at every opportunity. If that is what casues you anxiety.

Old 12-31-2006, 10:29 AM   #3
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jete23 HB User
Re: Service dogs for mental health issues

I dont think this is a cop out. Yea, let's all be medicated to holy hell-that's really us beating this disease by ourselves.

The reality is that most of us can't beat this disease without some sort of assistance. If a service dog could provide that assistance and act as a "security blanket" instead of a Xanax, then why not?

Old 12-31-2006, 05:28 PM   #4
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j2006 HB User
Re: Service dogs for mental health issues

I think if you use the service animal or companion animal for loneliness that is a great idea. But to get one because of fears of going out - I don't think that is agreat idea. It will however to force you to take the animal for a walk and maybe that will get you to face that fear.

Old 01-01-2007, 01:10 PM   #5
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wholegrain HB User
Re: Service dogs for mental health issues

I had an awful panic attack when I was on a hurricane relief trip in Mississippi once. I ended up in the ER and I had to take a plane home because I was unable to work the rest of the week.

Well at the time I didn't know I was having a panic attack- I thought I was dying of a heatstroke. It gave me the idea of a medical ID bracelet. Something to let people around me know what was going on when I was incapable of explaining it.

I brought up the idea to my therapist thinking it was a wonderful idea, and she completely shot it down. It actually made her angry. She said I chose to have that panic attack in Mississippi and if I chose to get a medical ID bracelet I'd be "giving in" and accepting my panic disorder instead of beating it.

It seems to me that there are two types of people where panic disorder is concerned- people who want to beat it and people who want to accept it. Both sides have their good and bad points. People who want to be it tend to be proactive and recover quickly, but they also can be insensitive in pretending that the disorder doesn't exist at all and isn't a real struggle. People who want to accept it can be useful in finding ways to live with it and cope, but then can also become too used to living with it when they don't have to.

I think a service animal is good for one type of person and not good for the other. I'm sure you can guess which types I'm talking about.

Personally, if that helped me, I'd love to do it. Unfortunately though an animal is no different than anything else that distracts me and would just be an expensive hassle when I could just do something else that distracts me. But whatever gets you through the day, whatever helps you cope.

Old 01-01-2007, 04:31 PM   #6
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ocdengineer HB User
Re: Service dogs for mental health issues

I didn't mean to offend. I apologize if I did. I don't believe there really is a "beating" of an anxiety dissorder. You have to learn to live with it. There are many ways to do this. One is medication others may include, hollistic remedies, finding means of distracting ourselves, CBT, meditation, or even religion.

The goal from all of these would be to become a productive member of society meaning, working, having friends, being able to enjoy life inside and outside of the house. I don't see how having an anxiety retrieval dog is going to help in that pursuit. I think it may actually make it easier to stay indoors which only encourages the agoraphobia. That is why I think it is a dangerous idea. It actually encourages you to stay home when everyone should be encouraged to do exactly the oposite of what the anxiety is telling you to do.


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