Thursday, June 16, 2022

Can Losing A Pet Cause Ptsd

Don't Miss

Causes Of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder In Dogs

How to get over the loss of a pet
  • Abuse – Severe or chronic abuse can lead to cases of PTSD
  • Accident – Accidents such as car accidents or hunting accidents may also trigger PTSD responses in canines
  • Attack – Attacks by other animals can trigger PTSD to develop.
  • Natural disasters – Natural disasters often leave many dogs stranded and separated from their human family members.
  • Military or police careers – Dogs that are returning from military or police service, sniffing out bombs and tracking down criminals, may develop PTSD humans in these career fields may also develop PTSD

Ptsd Grief And Bereavement: How It Can Be Caused By Trauma

Keywords: PTSD Grief.

Losing a loved one, especially when you are young, can leave a deep imprint. The PTSD grief and sadness that accompanies a sudden loss can be overwhelming and unfortunately, for some, it is a lifelong burden.

As a therapist working with Post-Traumatic Stress, I have heard my fair share of horrendous stories related to loss.

Many of them came from mothers about losing their child prematurely, often through accident, disease, or birth complications. The other major group is people who have lost one of their parents or a brother or sister while young.

Losing a loved one, especially when you are young, can leave a deep imprint. The PTSD grief and sadness that accompanies a sudden loss can be overwhelming and unfortunately, for some, it is a lifelong burden.

The latter has a tremendous impact on the delicate and developing nervous system and psyche of the person. Traumatic overflow related to loss and bereavement, which cannot be contained and processed at the moment of impact, will inevitably create deep and long-lasting coping mechanisms and reenactments.

Why Treatment Is Necessary For Both

Regardless of which you struggle with, professional treatment is necessary to begin to process of recovery. Even if you are unsure whether you have one or the other , reaching out for professional help is a step in the right direction. Through medical diagnostics and psychological testing, you have access to compassionate professionals who can determine the driving forces behind your struggles and help you overcome them through a personalized treatment plan.

Recommended Reading: Fear Conditioning Definition

Pet Loss Can Be Especially Hard For Kids

Leah Carson, now a young adult, remembers her first pet. It was a gentle Golden Retriever mix named Sandy.

We grew up together and she did everything with our family. I remember playing in the snow, hiking, and Sandy following me to my room when I came home from school, Carson says. When I was about 11-years old, Sandy got cancer and we had to put her to sleep. I cried a ton. I was so sad and confused. It was the first time Id ever lost someone I loved. Afterward, there was so much quiet in her absence.

Carsons memories of Sandy are both heartwarming and heartbreaking, especially for those whove personally experienced similar loss at a young age.

Roxanne Hawn, author of Heart Dog: Surviving the Loss of Your Canine Soul Mate, understands that children are especially vulnerable to misunderstanding and grief following the death of a pet. She points out there are a variety of ways parents and adults can help kids through the grieving process.

I suggest taking on memorial projects to focus your grief, and your kids grief, in productive ways, Hawn says. Its better to embrace grief through action rather than ignore it.

Hawn says grieving as a family can help children better process the loss, and she suggests activities in which each family member can participate as they feel the need.

What To Write To Someone Who Has Lost A Loved One To Addiction

Can Dogs Have PTSD?

Saying “I’m sorry you’re going through this,” may be more supportive than comments like, “I understand how you feel.” Even if you have lost someone to a death from drugs, the experiences and relationships are likely to have been quite different, so expressing understanding you don’t have may be alienating to the …

You May Like: Afraid Of Long Words

Tips For Seniors Grieving The Death Of A Pet

As we age, we experience an increasing number of major life changes, including the loss of beloved friends, family members, and pets. The death of a pet can hit retired seniors even harder than younger adults who may be able to draw on the comfort of a close family, or distract themselves with the routine of work. If youre an older adult living alone, your pet was probably your sole companion, and taking care of the animal provided you with a sense of purpose and self-worth.

Stay connected with friends. Pets, dogs especially, can help seniors meet new people or regularly connect with friends and neighbors while out on a walk or in the dog park. Having lost your pet, its important that you dont now spend day after day alone. Try to spend time with at least one person every day. Regular face-to-face contact can help you ward off depression and stay positive. Call up an old friend or neighbor for a lunch date or join a club.

Boost your vitality with exercise. Pets help many older adults stay active and playful, which can boost your immune system and increase your energy. Its important to keep up your activity levels after the loss of your pet. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program and then find an activity that you enjoy. Exercising in a groupby playing a sport such as tennis or golf, or taking an exercise or swimming classcan also help you connect with others.

Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing

EMDR helps people process trauma on an emotional level. It has been shown to help PTSD sufferers heal faster than through traditional therapy. In fact, a study funded by the Kaiser Permanente HMO found that 100% of single-trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims were no longer diagnosed with PTSD after just six 50-minute sessions.

In PTSD, traumatic thoughts and memories work against the brains healing process. Flashbacks, nightmares, and disturbing emotions cycle through the brain, keeping the ordeal in the forefront of the persons mind. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy can break that cycle.

EMDR uses bilateral stimuli to tap into the biological mechanisms the brain uses during Rapid Eye Movement sleep. The theory is that using REM while recalling the disturbing thoughts or memories of the trauma helps the brain process it naturally, allowing the mind to heal.

The bilateral stimulation a therapist might use can include:

  • Hand tapping or toe tapping
  • Eye movements
  • Musical tones

Recommended Reading: What Is The Fear Of Vomiting Called

Loss Of A Pet Can Potentially Trigger Mental Health Issues In Children

Date:
Massachusetts General Hospital
Summary:
The death of a family pet can trigger a sense of grief in children that is profound and prolonged, and can potentially lead to subsequent mental health issues.

The death of a family pet can trigger a sense of grief in children that is profound and prolonged, and can potentially lead to subsequent mental health issues, according to a new study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital . In a paper appearing in European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the team found that the strong emotional attachment of youngsters to pets might result in measurable psychological distress that can serve as an indicator of depression in children and adolescents for as long as three years or more after the loss of a beloved pet.

“One of the first major losses a child will encounter is likely to be the death of a pet, and the impact can be traumatic, especially when that pet feels like a member of the family,” says Katherine Crawford, CGC, previously with the Center for Genomic Medicine at MGH, and lead author of the study. “We found this experience of pet death is often associated with elevated mental health symptoms in children, and that parents and physicians need to recognize and take those symptoms seriously, not simply brush them off.”

Story Source:

Psychotherapy And Traumatic Pet Loss

How pets are healing veterans suffering from PTSD

Pet loss treatment research is in its early stages and little research on intervention effectiveness for traumatic pet loss has been conducted . However, psychotherapy recommendations for traumatic pet loss include complicated grief therapy and a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. Complicated grief therapy, while not evidence based for traumatic pet loss, may be a viable option for treatment. This approach integrates attachment theory and has roots in both cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy . The combination of IPT and CBT allows for CBT to manage the maladaptive cognitions and for IPT to pay attention to the grief as it is one of the four interpersonal areas of focus. There is a need for further research on traumatic pet loss and therapeutic intervention. In addition to therapeutic interventions, positive social support can aid in facilitating positive outcomes after grief, including posttraumatic growth. By providing an outlet for disclosure of trauma related memories, thoughts, and emotions the interactions open the door for support and feedback from others and stimulates dialectical thinking about the meaning of ones experiences .

Also Check: What Is The Definition Of Phobia

Can You Get Ptsd From A Dog

An overview of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD According to the American Psychiatric Association, a person suffering from PTSD may suffer from this psychiatric disorder following an event that had traumatic consequences. Pets can trigger the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in those who are bitten or attacked by a dog.

Why Losing Your Dog Can Be As Traumatic As Losing A Relative

Losing a pet can be just as traumatic and difficult to process as with a human family member. And anyone who has had pets know that theyre much more than animals they are indeed family members. And it always is difficult and frustrating to hear people tell dog owners going through a loss of their pet that they shouldnt bee feeling too sad because its just a dog.

Because for any dog owner, it never is just a dog. Its the loss of family.

Unfortunately, there is still the idea that the loss of pets doesnt matter as much as other losses. And as a result, that can be quite devastating for pet owners dealing with loss, as they then have too many times process their grief in secret. But that shouldnt be the case, since there is plenty of research to back the fact that for many dog owners, the loss of their pet is, in many ways, comparable to the hurt felt by the loss of a human family member. Sadly, in our society, there still isnt the support and grief outlets to deal with the sadness we dont hold services for our pets the way we would if a human passed away, and all too often, we feel stigmatized to show emotion in public over the loss of a pet.

However, what most people those without pets dont realize, is that the bond that forms between a person and their dog is one that is quite intense and unique. In fact, if society were more accepting of it, it would greatly benefit dog owners and help them process their grief and move forward.

You May Like: Which Organization Sets The Standards For Diagnosing Eating Disorders

When Will Hot Housing Market Finally Start To Cool

The death of a family pet can trigger a sense of grief in children that is profound and prolonged, and can potentially lead to subsequent mental health issues, according to a new study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital .

In a paper appearing in European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the team found that the strong emotional attachment of youngsters to pets might result in measurable psychological distress that can serve as an indicator of depression in children and adolescents for as long as three years or more after the loss of a beloved pet.

One of the first major losses a child will encounter is likely to be the death of a pet, and the impact can be traumatic, especially when that pet feels like a member of the family, said Katherine Crawford, previously with the Center for Genomic Medicine at MGH, and lead author of the study. We found this experience of pet death is often associated with elevated mental health symptoms in children, and that parents and physicians need to recognize and take those symptoms seriously, not simply brush them off.

Lead author Crawford is a genetic counselor previously with the Center for Genomic Medicine, MGH, now at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. Senior author Dunn is assistant professor with the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit, in the Center for Genomics Medicine, and the Department of Psychiatry. Co-author Yiwen Zhu is a data analyst in the Center for Genomic Medicine.

A Lost Or Missing Pet

Service Dog Training Helps Owners Cope with PTSD

Clients who experience a lost or missing pet can experience guilt, depression, and anxiety. They often feel a missed opportunity to protect or prevent the loss of their pet. Lost or missing pet grief is known as an ambiguous loss because the client doesnt know if the animal is alive or not, leaving them with no closure.

Also Check: Pristiq For Ptsd

Ptsd Risk Following Unexpected Death Of A Loved One May Be Predictable

    Certain risk factors can strongly predict the risk of a person developing post-traumatic stress disorder after the unexpected death of a loved one, suggests a new study in Depression and Anxiety.

    Preliminary evidence suggests that unexpected death of a loved one-related PTSD could be predicted with good accuracy from data available shortly after the death, although this evidence is based on retrospective data and needs to be confirmed prospectively, reported Lukoye Atwoli, PhD, MMed, MBChB, of Moi University School of Medicine in Eldoret, Kenya, and the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and colleagues.

    The 5% of respondents with highest predicted risk included 30.6% of all cases of unexpected death of a loved one-related PTSD. This is 6 times the proportion expected by chance, they reported. These findings emphasize that is a major public health issue and suggest that screening assessments might be useful in identifying high-risk individuals for early interventions.

    The researchers analyzed data from 19 World Health Organization World Mental Health surveys that involved 78,023 participants, representing a 70% response rate. The surveys came from the United States, Japan, and 7 Western European countries among the high-income countries. Middle-income countries represented included Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Lebanon, Peru, Romania, South Africa, and Ukraine.

    Healing Tasks For The Grieving Person Or Family

    As Ive said before, everyones grief is different, but the Jeffries book that I mentioned before lists five things that you might do as you mourn your dogs death or loss. I wanted to share this with you because you may be more familiar with the outdated idea that there are stages. Instead, we simply encounter grief in waves and eventually work our way through these five tasks in our own personal order.

  • Sharing Acknowledgment of Death or Loss. Really, truly understand the finality of the loss. This is where having a shrine and memorial ceremony come in. Work on open communication about the death in your family, including children, in an age-appropriate way. Doing something together as a family to celebrate the life of the dog and mourn the loss can help heal, as can involving friends.Pre-Loss Tip: If your dog hasn’t yet passed, please read this.One way to give your brain time to feel the finality of the loss is to keep your dog’s body at home for a few days, and to take part in the cremation or burial instead of just leaving your dog’s body at the vet. Before rigor mortis sets in, curl your dog into a sleeping position with the chin tilted slightly up . Place an absorbent cloth under your dog in case there is any leakage from the other end. Stay home, don’t work, don’t talk about anything you don’t want to talk about. You can keep your dog home for up to 1-2 days: when rigor mortis fades and the body starts to soften again it’s truly time to do the funeral.
  • Recommended Reading: What Is The Fear Of Puke Called

    Seven Principles Of Grief

    The idea that every loss is a multiple loss is one of the Seven Principles of Grief by J. Shep Jeffries . If you want a giant overview of the grief process, I recommend you read that book. Here is his full list of grief principles:

    • Principle One: You cannot fix or cure grief.
    • Principle Two: There is no one right way to grieve.
    • Principle Three: There is no universal timetable for the grief journey.
    • Principle Four: Every loss is a multiple loss.
    • Principle Five: Change=Loss=Grief.
    • Principle Six: We grieve old loss while grieving new loss.
    • Principle Seven: We grieve when a loss has occurred or is threatened.

    What Is Traumatic Pet Loss

    Pet-PTSD | Ridiculousness

    Traumatic pet loss, like trauma itself, does not have a widely-agreed upon meaning and can be interpreted differently by each person. Traumatic pet loss examples include unexpected death of a pet, forced abandonment of a pet, loss of a long-term companion pet. The examples of traumatic pet loss are not limited to the ones described, and vary based on the perception of the pet loss by each individual. While people respond to loss differently, the level of grief an individual experiences will depend on characteristics such as age and personality, the age of the pet, and the circumstances of their death.

    A well-known type of traumatic pet loss is the loss of a pet during a natural disaster, such as a hurricane. During natural disasters, many pet owners are forced to abandon their pets in order to escape the oncoming catastrophe or lose their pets in the evacuation process. Research has shown that pet loss during Hurricane Katrina was associated with an increase in psychopathology, even when the trauma of being displaced from their homes was considered . Another factor considered in traumatic pet loss during Hurricane Katrine was forced abandonment. One study showed that forced abandonment of a pet during evacuation intensifies the existing trauma, which increases the risk of posttraumatic stress disorder . Throughout the grief process, especially when associated with having to make an unexpected decision , grieving pet owners place massive amounts of guilt upon themselves.

    Also Check: What Is The Fear Of Spoons Called

    More articles

    Popular Articles