Those who suffer from severe anxiety are often prone to panic attacks. These attacks can last for up to 20 minutes, and regular attacks can have such a detrimental effect on a person’s quality of life. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs are usually the first point of call when it comes to preventing future attacks from occurring, but how do you treat the symptoms during an actual attack? This is where a pet can be such a huge help.
A DOG’S INCREDIBLE SENSE OF SMELL
It is common knowledge that dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell, one that is far greater than that of humans. However, in addition to using their noses to help them find everything from food to other dogs, did you know that dogs can sniff out anxiety too? You are probably wondering how.
Well, when you start to feel anxious, your body produces an increased amount of adrenaline, which is the hormone designed to help you to deal with a stressful situation. This hormone has a distinct smell, and is one that dogs quickly learn to recognise. This means that a dog would be able to sense when your anxiety begins to rise, and will be able to act accordingly.
OTHER PETS CAN SENSE ANXIETY TOO
When you are experiencing an anxiety attack, your body language will change drastically. Whether you may have a dog, a cat, a bird, or anything else, you will likely find that your pet will be able to quickly pick up on your anxiety by the changes in your body language, and will then be able to do what they need to help you to feel better.
Your brain produces a number of different chemicals, some of which have a direct effect on your mental state. Certain chemicals in particular are vital for keeping anxiety down while keeping your mood up. These include:
So, how do you get your brain to produce more of these chemicals during an anxiety attack? Well, you might not be able to do this yourself, but your pet sure can! Simply cuddling or stroking your pet immediately triggers your brain to release more of those feel-good chemicals. In fact, simply looking into your pet’s eyes can have this effect too! This can make a huge difference when it comes to calming an anxiety attack, while also helping to keep overall anxiety at a low.
THE PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS
From a pounding heart rate to difficulty breathing, a panic attack brings with it a number of different physical symptoms. These can be difficult to deal with on your own, but a pet can help you with all of these.
Research shows that having any sort of physical contact with your pet can quickly slow down your heart rate, bringing it back to normal. The comfort and love that a pet provides helps with the dizziness and uncontrollable shaking that many experience during an attack, and the sense of security provided by a pet can help a person to breathe easier again.
A pet can make a massive difference to those who suffer from anxiety attacks. Not only can they help to calm an attack itself by reducing the symptoms experienced, but they can also help to prevent future attacks from occurring in the first place. Learn more about how a pet might help you by checking out CertaPet’s blog!
(This is a collaborative post contributed by CertaPet to celebrate National Pet Day)