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Meta-analysis (9 articles) revealed that partnership with an assistance dog had a clinically meaningful, significant, and large effect on PTSD severity scores. Increasingly prevalent research on assistance dogs for veterans with PTSD provides support for the impact of this complementary and integrative health intervention on PTSD symptom severity, and signs of meaningful improvements in adjacent domains including mental and social health.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. If you are military-connected then you know the 22-veterans-a-day average. You’ve seen the blue ribbons plastered everywhere on base/post. If you are a veteran or caregiver, you’ve seen similar posters at the VA. You’ve probably gone to an annual suicide prevention training or two. You know the signs, you know what to look for and what to do if you are worried about someone’s safety. But nothing can truly prepare you for when it happens.
Trauma can be a strange and often insidious beast. We can be traumatized by directly being impacted by an event like a violent physical attack, a rape, a natural disaster, or an experience in combat, but we can also be traumatized indirectly by caring for, hearing about, or witnessing the intense suffering of others. Both the direct and indirect impact of traumatic events can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Over the last 10 years ago, since my sons, Aaron and Steven, were involved in a fatal car accident, in which Aaron did not survive and Steven sustained a severe TBI, my life has resembled a lost-and-found bin, filled to the top, running over with more emotions than I could ever imagine sorting through.
Last month, Sarah and I took a trip to rural Maine for another first-time life experience. I was more excited than fearful when I jumped out of a plane at 14,000 feet and I can now add skydiver to my life résumé! Had I listened to the advice I received from doctors a decade earlier, the thought of jumping out of a plane would have seemed preposterous.
Many people with disabilities use a service animal in order to fully participate in everyday life. Dogs can be trained to perform many important tasks to assist people with disabilities, such as providing stability for a person who has difficulty walking, picking up items for a person who uses a wheelchair, preventing a child with autism from wandering away, or alerting a person who has hearing loss when someone is approaching from behind.
The more I start to recognize what I am feeling — both physically and emotionally — the more I can speak up for myself, and advocate for what I need. It is not easy, and not something that everyone wants to hear, but I need to care for myself, too.
The serotonin hypothesis of depression is still influential. Our comprehensive review of the major strands of research on serotonin shows there is no convincing evidence that depression is associated with, or caused by, lower serotonin concentrations or activity.