As reported by HuffPost and MSN Lifestyle, and also published in the journal Veterinary Record, the recent study, “Your Mental Health Suffers When Your Pet Gets Sick” shows that animal owners experience increased anxiety, general stress, and sometimes depression when their furry friends are not in good health.
The authors of the study carefully examined self-reported questionnaires answered by 119 people with a sick pet and 119 others whose pets were healthy in order to measure the psychological state of the owners.
The owners of sick pets had higher mental health issues scores than owners with pets that were in good health. Even the quality of the owners’ lives was impacted with less satisfaction at work and in their relationships, and their own health and moods were of a poorer grade.
Researchers call this situation a “caregivers’ burden.” Those who look after sick loved ones, whether they be humans or animals, have excess psychological distress. Even more debilitating is the grief during and after the terminal illness and loss of a beloved human or a loved pet.
Some of the suggestions from grief expert Dan Reidenberg, chair of the American Psychotherapy Association and executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, to cope with a grief experience were these:
There is no time frame for how long it will take to move on with one’s life and emotions, so take as much time as you find necessary.
Force yourself to use mood boosters such as spending time with friends, taking walks, or reading a good book to attempt to lift your spirits that are hampered by the toll on your emotions.
Seek support from a mental health professional or a pet loss group if you experience excess anxiety or depression and it interferes with your daily life.