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Dogs Really Do Relieve PTSD Symptoms

More and more evidence indicates that increased levels of Oxytocin in PTSD patients can be instrumental in relieving symptoms associated with PTSD.  Well trained dogs used in the treatment of PTSD help release natural Oxytocin in dog therapy owners without the used of drugs.  The abstract below explains how the release of Oxytocin works and how augmenting Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Oxytocin can have be very beneficial in PTSD patients.

Although cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many patients fail to attain remission with CBT.  The authors propose augmentation of CBT with oxytocin in the treatment of PTSD. Oxytocin has a combination of pharmacologic effects that result in a “sense of safety” for the patient, which is a prerequisite to successful treatment of PTSD. They also suggest a dual explanatory mechanism as to why oxytocin may be effective: through a reduction of fear response (decreasing amygdala activation, inhibiting fear response, and enhancing extinction learning) and through an increase of social interaction (activating social reward-related brain regions increasing engagement in the therapeutic alliance). 

Happy Dog OwnerGiven that PTSD is marked by deficits in anxiety/stress regulation and in social functioning, and that oxytocin is implicated in both of these areas, oxytocin seems a likely candidate for treatment of patients with PTSD. Further clinical studies of the therapeutic value of oxytocin are indicated.

One look on Google for people with dogs will show you just how happy dog owners are.  Read entire article here and let us know your thoughts on how a dog has helped you with PTSD.

 

 

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