According to the World Health Organization, approximately 280 million people throughout the world have depression.
While there are several treatments available, many people who suffer from depression find that owning pets can help in multiple ways.
Healthcare professionals recognize just how much pets can help people with mental health issues like depression.
That is why sufferers of conditions like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder can be prescribed emotional support animals (ESAs) by licensed mental health professionals as part of their treatment plans.
Also, owners of ESAs gain certain rights, such as being able to live in accommodations that would ordinarily be off-limits to people with pets.
The process of getting a legitimate emotional support animal cost a bit of money, but it is often worth it as you would have trained professionals advising you on what rights you have when travelling or living with an ESA. This saves you from a lot of confusion and stress in the future, and know if you are being discriminated against.
Whether you are prescribed an emotional support animal or not, as a sufferer of depression, any kind of pet can provide you with companionship. Simply having another being by your side can make a huge difference in how you feel and cope.
Any kind of pet can provide companionship and therefore help to reduce the symptoms of depression, but many sufferers of depression choose animals like dogs, cats, and rabbits.
Pets you can interact with can make you feel less lonely. They also provide you with unconditional love. Having a pet with fur that you can stroke can also be very comforting.
Simple things like companionship, comfort, and love can go a long way in helping people who have depression and other mental health conditions.
Pets do not have to have fur to help bring comfort to sufferers of depression. Petting, stroking, or interacting in any way with any kind of pet can help to improve your mood.
When you touch a pet, your levels of oxytocin are increased and the stress-related hormone cortisol is decreased.
Simply being around pets can ease feelings of anxiety and stress. When you spend time with a pet, you can become calmer and more relaxed.
People with depression can handle their situations better when they maintain a routine and feel a sense of purpose. Owning a pet allows them to do just that.
When you have a pet that you need to take care of, you have to become responsible. In turn, that will give you a sense of purpose. You will need to stick to a routine, as well.
For instance, you will have to feed your pet regularly. If you have a dog, you will have to walk your dog each day.
Sufferers of depression can sometimes find it difficult to get out of bed. When they have pets to look after, that can be avoided.
People with depression can also find themselves not wanting to leave the house. When you have a dog that you need to walk, you will have to go outside. That not only brings you purpose. It also helps to motivate you and gets you outside in the fresh air. And when you exercise, by walking your dog, your serotonin levels will be improved; which brings feelings of happiness.
Having a dog not only ensures you get outside each day, bringing you much-needed physical activity and fresh air. It also helps you to meet new people.
When walking a dog in the park, for instance, it becomes easy to talk to other dog owners. Interacting with other people is beneficial for people with depression, so a dog could be a wise choice of pet to get if you suffer from depression.