Like many health conditions, physical and mental, how they manifest themselves can often be different with each individual. The signs, symptoms, severity and timing of occurrence can all vary from person to person.
Likewise, the best course of treatment may vary, as well. Treatments for PTSD may include medications, cognitive behavioral therapy, immersion therapy or combinations of those and others. It is often a case of trial and error to determine which therapy or therapies will work best with each individual.
One therapy, however, has just been identified as having scientific proof of its effectiveness, especially as it pertains to military veterans – the use of service dogs.
A recent study, the second to come from a partnership among the National Institutes of Health, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and K9s for Warriors demonstrated measurable benefits for veterans with PTSD.
The study compared cortisol levels in veterans who had service dogs and those who did not. Most people, who don’t have PTSD, have a slow increase of cortisol in the morning. The study showed veterans, who had service dogs for at least six months, were recording near-normal morning cortisol levels, as well.
While the subjective measures of improved quality of life and social behaviors have been reported by friends, family and the veterans themselves, this appears to be the first time a quantifiable difference within the individual has been detected.
Here is the link to the story as broadcast on First Coast News, NBC, WTLV, Jacksonville, Florida:
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For more information on PTSD check out these resources:
- National Institute of Mental Health - https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml
- National Center for PTSD - https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/ptsd-overview/basics/what-is-ptsd.asp
- American Psychiatric Association - https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd