The 8 Best Pets For Your Mental Health, According to a Psychiatrist
For those with depression, Dr. Joseph recommends a dog. “They read humans well, they’re empathetic, and force you to go outside,” she says in the video.
For autism, she recommends cats, noting that they don’t make intense eye contact and understand physical boundaries as necessary. Cats have also been shown to ease feelings of stress is children with autism.
If you’ve dealt with trauma, she recommends a horse. “They allow trust-building and overcoming fears by encouraging bonding and a sense of safety,” she says.
For anxiety, she suggests fish. “Watching them swim through water calms brain waves and lowers blood pressure.
Due to the popularity of the initial video, she added a part two, addressing bipolar disorder, ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder, and dementia.
She recommends a snake for bipolar disorder, noting that their rhythmic movements on your arm could help stabilize your moods.
Lizards are recommended for ADHD since they’re independent and relatively low maintenance, says Dr. Joseph. “[Lizards] won’t overwhelm those with organization and attention issues.”
For OCD, she encourages birds. “They’re contained in their environment, rarely contaminate the home ad provide soothing music,” she says.
For the older crowd dealing with dementia, Dr. Joseph suggests a turtle, a popular pet in the 60s. They’re slower-paced and “could help trigger memories.” While there are no studies on the effects of turtles on dementia, pet ownership in general has been linked to improvement of symptoms related to dementia.
Happy pet hunting!
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