How do animals improve people’s mental health?

The company of animals is one of the methods of treatment for patients with mental disorders, and its benefits have been proven. For this reason, Laura Villamil, a psychiatrist, explained which of them are the most important.

He pointed out that a pet “is a source of energy” that can boost patients’ self-esteem by feeling useful in taking care of another living being and receiving unconditional love from them.

β€œThis special relationship between patient and animal also causes the release of the love hormone. (oxytocin), while lowering levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Thus, interacting with a pet generates a sense of calm and emotional well-being,” he said.

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Pets promote social relationships as patients can form new bonds with other pet owners while walking or visiting parks. This social interaction has a positive effect on mood and feelings of loneliness.

Another benefit is the development of responsibility in patients, since pet care includes daily tasks such as feeding, changing litter or walking, which promotes discipline.

This can help patients overcome fears or phobias.for its reassuring presence can provide a safe environment to face frightening situations.

On the other side, This connection may improve the physical condition of patients as they have to walk or play with the dog, which involves more physical activity.

See also: Why you can not hug a dog?

β€œIn terms of emotional and mental well-being, pet pampering releases endorphins and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals have been linked to mood and a reduction in emotional pain, which may help alleviate depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

Laura Villamil emphasized that dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and dolphins are most often used in therapy. But preference is given to pets that can live with people and can form easier affective bonds with them.

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