My Q Health | Pets for Depression and Health
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Pets for Depression and Health

Pets for Depression and Health

Can your depression problems improve when you interact with your pet?
By
WebMD Feature

Could a kitten’s purr or a dog’s wagging tail help with your depression? It might.

“Pets offer an unconditional love that can be very helpful to people with depression,” says Ian Cook, MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA.

Studies show that animals can reduce tension and improve mood. Along with treatment, pets can help some people with mild to moderate depression feel better. If you’re depressed, here’s a rundown of how pets could help.

  • Uncomplicated love. Are your relationships with family and loved ones complicated and frayed? A pet can be a great antidote. “With a pet, you can just feel,” says Teri Wright, PhD, a psychologist in private practice in Santa Ana, Calif. “You don’t have to worry about hurting your pet’s feelings or getting advice you don’t want.”
  • Responsibility. You might not think you can take care of a pet right now. Taking care of yourself may seem hard enough. But experts say that adding a little responsibility can help. It adds a new and positive focus to your life. “Taking care of a pet can help give you a sense of your own value and importance,” Cook says. It will remind you that you are capable — that you can do more than you might think.
  • Activity. Are you barely getting off the couch these days? You need to get more physical activity. Pets can help. “If you have a dog, that dog needs to be walked,” Cook says. A little extra physical activity is good for your physical and mental health.

To read full article, visit WebMD.

 

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