Group to Study How Dogs Help People Deal with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries

dog_ptsd_tbi_therapyObviously, the United States is a culture where dogs are a central component of the family and of millions of people’s lives.  There are more than 50 million dogs living with companions around the country, and it’s difficult to walk down any street in any town without seeing someone walking a dog.  As part of the proverbial family, they have become more involved with several different aspects of life that include medical treatments.  For years now, dogs have been wearing special vests that indicate that they are companions for people who need support, and they have been visiting hospitals and nursing homes to provide an emotional boost to the people staying there.

While most people simply take a step back and smile when they see a sick child hugging a loving dog and experiencing joy, few people to date have taken a lot of time to truly consider the potential medical benefits of having dogs around.  There have been studies done in the past that have suggested that people live healthier and happier lives when they have dogs, and now one group in particular is going to take a close look at the potential effects that dogs may have on people who are struggling with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. 

The Warrior Canine Connection, a non-profit group that works with current and former members of the military, has recently received a $750,000 grant from the Department of Defense that will be used to fund a study of how dogs can help people struggling with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD get better.  A link to an article providing a lengthy description of this development can be found here.  The goal is to tangibly define the benefits of dog-based therapy.

The study will be managed by the WCC in conjunction with researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the military medical school in Bethesda, Maryland.  The study will involve 40 service members, 20 of whom will undergo dog therapy and 20 of whom will serve as a control group.  Several different measures will be taken of the subjects that will help define medical improvements.  The researchers also hope to be able to define a specific training regimen that will provide patients with dogs that are properly and particularly trained to provide the most amount of help.

Billions of dollars have been spent on research regarding the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injuries and PTSD, and while these are all worthwhile efforts it’s also good to see more effort being dedicated to the management of these conditions.  People struggle mightily with injuries that others cannot see, and unfortunately too many people wind up encountering additional problems simply because their situations are not properly understood.

We have been representing clients as traumatic brain injury lawyers for 25 years, and we have seen the damage that can be done when someone suffers this type of harm.  The staff at the Scarlett Law Group hopes that this study will provide some much-needed answers for people who need help.

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