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How to Treat PTSD with an Emotional Support Dog

Most of us have experienced a shocking event that left us feeling shaken and afraid. However, if you cannot move on from such an event, you will relive it every day of your life and this will prevent you from moving forward. Reliving a traumatic event repeatedly is known as PTSD.

What is PTSD?

When in danger or fear, it is natural for the body to trigger a fight or flight response. However, people suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder experience nightmares and negative flashbacks that come out of nowhere. If you suffer from PTSD, you will go to any length to avoid situations that trigger your flashbacks and this will affect your quality of life.

Causes of PTSD

Any number of serious life events can cause this disorder: death of a loved one, military and first responder’s jobs, and being in an abusive relationship. Some people have the ability to overcome trauma while others end up suffering from PTSD. Scientists believe that the duration that a traumatic event lasts and the number of disturbing experiences in your life determine whether you will develop PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD

The symptoms of PTSD usually vary from one person to the next depending on the severity of the trauma suffered. The symptoms of PTSD are categorized into four parts: avoidance, mood, re-experiencing, and reactivity.


Flashbacks – reliving of trauma and usually includes physical symptoms such as sweating and a racing heart.

Bad dreams/frightening thoughts – PTSD symptoms can be caused by your own thoughts or be caused by outside influences.


Avoiding – this refers to avoiding certain thoughts and feelings that relate to the trauma.

Staying away from places – you might try to avoid people, places, and situations that remind you of the trauma.


  • Being startled easily
  • Insomnia
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Feeling on edge or tense

Reactivity symptoms are constant and they usually interfere with every aspect of your life.


Negativity – you might start being negative towards yourself or the world.

Loss of interest – you might lose interest in things that you once found pleasurable.

Trouble remembering – you might have a hard time remembering the key aspects of trauma.

Distorted feelings – you might start feeling guilty or start blaming others.

If you have any of the following symptoms for at least one month, the doctor might diagnose you with PTSD:

  • Not less than one symptom related re-experiencing
  • At least two cognitive mood symptoms
  • At least one avoidance symptom
  • At least two reactive symptoms

How an ESA (emotional support animal) can Help with PTSD

An emotional support animal might help lessen some PTSD symptoms. Although you can choose any animal as your ESA, most people opt for canine companions. An ESA dog is very intuitive and can sense when its owner is troubled. Here are other reasons why dogs are a good choice:

  • These furry friends can help you release some feel-good hormones known as endorphins
  • They provide good companionship and will not judge you
  • They give you a reason to get out of the house and meet people
  • They allow you to feel love and keep you from feeling detachment

How to Get an ESA dog

If you are wondering how to get an emotional support animal | ESA Co., talk to a doctor first. Just make sure that you choose an animal that does not add more stress to your life. Having a good emotional support animal can mean the difference between changing your outlook on life and just going through life with PTSD.