An animal to cure invisible diseases - The360 PlayBuzz

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  • Friday, November 29, 2019

    An animal to cure invisible diseases

    An animal to cure invisible diseases

    Rather than prescribing a pill, a health professional might offer a different remedy for anxiety or panic attacks: an emotional support animal. Well known to help people with motor disabilities, dogs can also assist individuals with psychiatric, mental, psychic or sensory disabilities. 

    The recognition of the benefits of using animals in the treatment of certain mental health disorders is not new. Sigmund Freud was one of the first to look at therapy with animals. He quickly found that his chow-chow, Jofi, soothed his patients by his mere presence and that it allowed children to open more easily. Then, in the 1960s, pediatric psychiatrist Boris M. Levinson, a pioneer in pet therapy, used the dog as a "therapist" for a child with psychiatric disorders and achieved more than encouraging results.

    And it is not uncommon nowadays to cross support animals or assistance in the cabin of an airplane, bib on the back, at the feet of their masters. They often pique curiosity: neither blind nor physically disabled, why do they need their companion to fly by their side?

    First, you need to make an important distinction between an emotional support animal and a service dog. By its very presence, the first one can reassure and calm people suffering from anxiety, depression, panic disorder, etc. It thus has the same utility as pet therapy.

    "The emotional support dog did not have any training. It is his presence that will make the difference. A service dog is trained to perform certain tasks and must read the needs of the beneficiary.

    "If a person has a specific OCD, or night terrors, we will make a link between the behavior of the person and the reward of the dog to reinforce a certain action. For veterans, we will, for example, act at the level of hypervigilance and ask the dog to walk behind his master, not in front of ", says John Agionicolaitis, spokesperson for Asista, a non-profit organization charity that was created in 2011 and trains support dogs for mental health.

    While diabetic assistance dogs are able to detect low blood glucose levels, others are also used to help people with agoraphobia, autism or post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Beware of drifting

    Service dogs and emotional support animals travel free in the cabin when airlines permit. Supporting documents must be submitted for emotional support animals or psychiatric assistance before boarding. These are delivered by a mental health professional who certifies that the patient has a mental or emotional disability. And that the animal helps him overcome this incapacity.

    "Asista will give a laminated card with a hologram and registration number for each service dog who must also wear a harness. But there is no particular accreditation or professional order for the foundations that form animals, "says the spokesman of the Asista Foundation.

    "Currently, it is a non-profit American organization that sets standards. It is recommended that a minimum be done by the government to regulate all this. "

    In the United States, more than 750,000 requests for accommodation concerning emotional support animals (dogs, cats, but also peacocks, pigs, monkeys, miniature horses, etc.) were presented to the airlines in 2017, an increase of 74% compared to 2016, according to the Business Insider website. On the internet, some unscrupulous psychotherapists even offer for a hundred dollars a video consultation to certify that their patient suffers from a disorder that requires a support animal.

    "Ideally, emotional support dogs should receive training. It is clear that anyone can claim to need an emotional support dog. Because of these drifts, Walmart does not want any more that the dogs of this type enter its stores. It hurts the service dog cause because people do not always understand the difference, "says Agionicolaitis.

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