Not only do our dogs provide a basic foundation for promoting healthy routines and living, they help their Veterans:
- With re-integration and socialisation
- To recognise early symptoms of anxiety or emotional distress
- Interrupt nightmares
- Increase confidence and a sense of belonging to civilian society
- Re-engage with responsibilities
- Increase self-esteem and self-worth
All of us will experience some form of trauma during our lives, and most of us
will recover without long-term difficulty. Some people who are repeatedly exposed to
traumatic events, or experience a particularly traumatic incident, may go on to
develop PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Our bodies instinctively respond to threat to help us survive - either to get away,
fight the threat, or slow down to let the threat pass.
This is known as the Flight/Flight/Freeze response. Intense or repeated trauma
can lead to this response becoming extremely sensitive.
When this happens almost any environment becomes threatening,
and anything relating to the traumatic incident provokes an activation
of the Flight/Flight/Freeze response.
This contributes to many of the symptoms we associate with PTSD:
- Re-experiencing trauma when reminded of it
- Avoiding reminders of trauma
- Low mood or depression
- Severe anxiety
- Reactivity, irritability, and agitation
- Disturbed sleep and nightmares
- Dissociation, (to name but a few)
Significant psychological, social, and functional difficulties may come out of this. PTSD is particularly prevalent in former military personal who often endure exposure to traumatic incidents in the course of their duties. Up to 25% of British Military personnel who have transitioned out of active duty would meet criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD.