Pets and their role in the recovery of the bipolar patient
When people are in constant and close physical proximity to their pets, in addition to motivating them to be physically active, they have a significant source of calm.
I am an animal lover in general, but my favorite are dogs. My dogs have always brought me peace whenever I feel depressed, anxious, or overly happy. Even just rubbing their bellies has helped me manage the symptoms of my bipolar disorder.
The anxiety that accompanies or coexists with bipolar disorder is a common challenge, with symptoms such as constant worry, panic attacks, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping.
Bipolar depression can make it difficult to get out of bed and cause sleep disturbances, appetite changes, feelings of hopelessness, physical aches and pains, and despair.
And this doesn’t just apply to bipolar disorder. When it comes to our mental and emotional well-being, dogs are beneficial, or rather “man’s best friend.”
When people are in constant and close physical proximity to their pets and motivating them to be physically active, they have a significant source of calm. Experts say this is an invaluable therapeutic benefit for pet owners struggling with brain disorders. In addition, scientific research shows that the presence of a dog has a relaxing and calming effect on people in an emotional state.
A 2016 study explored the role of pets in people managing long-term mental health problems. The results found that, over time, pets contributed to people developing structures and routines that provided social and emotional support.
Making a commitment
When depression sets in, it’s very easy to forget any schedule, and it can be extremely difficult to even get out of bed. However, when you know you are responsible for a pet, you need to have that structure and commitment to force you to take action to care for it.
Those with a pet dog, cat, or other pet (or several) have a constant daily invitation to be in the present through their care. Care that benefits its owner, such as a sense of security, reduced loneliness, exercise, and a regular routine.