Suffering from an eating disorder is just as harrowing and hazardous as suffering from substance abuse. And the road to recovery is just as daunting. That is why many patients seek professional help at anorexia treatment centers and the like. Sometimes, support from family and friends is just not enough to turn the tide.
But there is actually someone else capable of helping patients recover from an eating disorder. Popularly known as a man’s best friend, dogs help prevent recovering anorexics from going into a relapse so that they can fully rise above their sickness.
Dogs in service
Experts in treating anorexia have expanded their tools in helping people with eating disorders throughout the years. Back then, treatment centers were the sole tools of doctors to treat patients. Once patients have gone through the usual process of treatment, they are released from the facility. Then, a psychiatrist will get in touch with them on a regular basis to check up on their situation and see if they are in danger of relapsing.
These days, doctors are employing more unorthodox methods to help these patients hold their reserve and stay on the right path. One particular method they have discovered to be effective is using dogs as an emotional support system.
It has long been discovered that having a pet, especially a dog, lowers blood pressure, increases the amount of endorphins (the hormone that gives people that happy sensation), and even lengthens the lifespan of a human. So, the doctors and psychiatrists who are focused on helping people with eating disorders decided to use canines in their therapy sessions.
This is because they believe that having a pet dog will make an anorexic person much happier and therefore, convince them to stay on the right path, seeing that most anorexic people are afflicted with this illness because of their depression.
Preventing a relapse
Psychiatrists say that patients recovering from an eating disorder are always prone to relapsing just like a drug addict. People with an addiction to chemical substances and who have undergone rehabilitation are still prone to relapsing. This is why they often join support groups and ask help from counselors if they feel that it is harder to avoid drugs today than yesterday.
People with eating disorders go through the same pain and suffering. They also need a support group to help them overcome trials. Scientists discovered that patients who spend more time with pets are more successful in avoiding any relapse because they feel happy and content with their pets.
Also, dogs are able to notice if something’s wrong with their owners. They can identify is their owner is having a nightmare, for instance. This led to psychiatrists using canines to help American veterans manage anxiety attacks caused by their post-traumatic stress disorder.
This, in turn, led to using dogs as a support system for patients recovering from an eating disorder. When a person with an eating disorder feels an anxiety attack coming, a dog can help by snuggling to the patient and calming them down.