PTSD & Trauma | HABRI

PTSD & Trauma

Research

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by symptoms related to intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognition and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD affects more than 250,000 (30 percent) of post 9-11 war veterans, with an alarming 22 suicides per day.[1][2]

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Trauma

Animal-assisted therapy has been widely studied for individuals who have experienced trauma, including physical abuse, sexual abuse and unspecified trauma.

  • Animals provide emotional security, psychophysiological and affect regulation, neurological and other behavioral responses of humans to our social environment[3]

Equine-facilitated psychotherapy has been found to:

  • Address self-esteem, depression and other emotional or psychological problems
  • The equine-human bonds described by participants in studies have parallels both with important elements of therapeutic alliances between professionals and clients and with the positive impact of relationship factors on client outcome[4]
  • Animals provide emotional security, psychophysiological and affect regulation, neurological and other behavioral responses of humans to our social environment[5]
  • Animal-Assisted Therapy has also been found to help at-risk youth overcome trauma and substance abuse.[6]

Service animals and therapy animals have been trained to support those with PTSD.Photo: Loving Thunder

In a study of 153 sexually abused children, ages 7-17, results indicated that:

  • Children in the groups that included therapy dogs showed significant decreases in trauma symptoms including anxiety, depression, anger, post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociation, and sexual concerns[7]

For more information about trauma:

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