Service Dogs for Anxiety - Brigadoon Service Dogs News (2016)
At Brigadoon, we know what a dog can do for anxiety – they encourage healthy habits such as daily exercise and social interactions, they lower your blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels, and they provide comfort and love. So the short answer is that dogs can be wonderful emotional support animals for people with anxiety. Countless anecdotes, studies, and experiments show this.
But service dogs are dogs that, although definitely are comforting and loving, have a specific job to play in practically mitigating a person’s disability. So a service dog can really only help anxiety if the anxiety is debilitating to the point that impedes daily functioning and those impediments can be mitigated by a dog.
What would a service dog for anxiety do? Firstly, let’s look at what the anxiety the service dog would be addressing might look like.
Anxiety as it’s experienced by people with diagnosed anxiety disorders is not just general stress and nervousness. Anxiety is a distressing psychological, emotional, and physical state of excess and irrational arousal that impairs everyday functioning. It can prevent one from leaving the house, interacting with people, and taking care of oneself. Someone with anxiety can suffer from panic attacks, insomnia, gastrointestinal distress, hot flashes, depersonalization and dissociation, agitation, po