Pets are not only adorable but could benefit people with severe mental health problems, according to a new study.
The findings of the study, published in the journal BMC Psychiatry, indicated that pets could provide broad support for people with severe mental illnesses. Dr. Helen Louise Brooks from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom and other colleagues led the research.
A pet is also referred to as a companion animal. It usually accompanies a person as well as protects or gives delight and cheer to an individual. Most pets are attractive in appearances and relatable such as the most popular pets like dogs and cats. Other pets include hamsters, goldfish, rats, parrots, fowl, turtles, lizard, fish, guinea pigs, and gerbils, among others.
In the study, the researchers examined and reviewed nine medical databases and over 8,000 articles. Then, it narrowed down their evaluation to 17 papers. The team studied the effect of pets such as dogs, cats, hamsters, goldfish, and finches on people with severe mental illnesses or a mental health condition associated with a physical health problem or developmental disorder, according to Medical News Today.
The results showed that pets helped the patients manage and control their emotions. Also, they helped reduce the symptoms of their mental health condition.
Dr. Brooks said that pets offered unconditional support and acceptance without judgment, in which the participants were often not receiving from other social relationships and family. Also, pet owners said that their pets forced them to stay connected with the outside world and engage in physical activity.
Pets could soothe the feeling of loneliness, worry, and distress. They could provide stability, continuity and a strong sense of “identity, self-worth and existential meaning.”
According to National Day Calendar, February 20 commemorates the National Love Your Pet Day. This particular day raises awareness for the pet owners to show their love and affection to their pets. Pamper your pets and show your appreciation to your loving pets.
In the United States, most households have at least one pet, probably a dog or a cat. Whatever your pet is, show your affection to it on this day, the rewards are indeed priceless.
You could give more attention to your pet or bring a special treat or take it to an enjoyable and extra walk on this particular day. You may also post photos of your pet on social media remembering your pet on this day.