Mental health has become one of the more significant aspects of American well-being with the increase of social, emotional, and psychological disorders amongst adults. Of the several types of mental health issues, anxiety disorders top the list, with over 40 million people identifying with the conditions, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Depression also resonates with many Americans, with over 16 million adults experience at least one major depression episode a year. With so many people dealing with these issues, it’s imperative to find a common solution: enter the animals!
Pets have always played an integral role in the lives of their owners, which makes their remedy-like impact expected. Teri Wright, Ph.D., a psychologist in Santa Ana, California mentions that pets give people a legitimate unconditional love, without any ulterior motives or unwanted advice. Pets’ happiness differs from their owners simply because it has more of a short-sighted focus, which naturally rubs onto their human counterparts.
Along with the everlasting love, an aspect that goes unnoticed in mental health would be the daily routine of pet ownership. The responsibility alone creates a sense of purpose, no matter how many problems someone is enduring; some of the smaller daily tasks, such as feeding your pet or cleaning up after them creates a series of small wins that can make anyone feel accomplished, even if only temporarily, states Ian Cook, M.D., a psychiatrist and director of Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA. For those who suffer from crippling anxiety, a routine dog walk or feeding pattern can prevent those from falling into their depressive cycles.
With the amount of people who are suffering from mental health disorders, it only seems right to find the easiest solution to offset these issues, and what better way to do so then adopting a pet? A symbiotic, win-win situation in which the owner with anxiety uses the company and resounding love from the pet, and in turn, the pet gets a home, a loving owner, and ultimately a life away from the shelter. Two lives saved with one adoption.