With continued use of a PTSD Service Dog, the handler can find that their overall stress is reduced.
- In this new, less-stressed state, the handler is less sensitive to their triggers (both primary and secondary triggers).
- Also, the handler can get better sleep, which reduces overall stress and leads to a better ability to handle future stress.
These reductions in overall stress can lead to:
- Less hypersensitivity (to sounds and other triggers)
- Fewer flashbacks
- Better concentration
- Less insomnia
Residual effects also help with inappropriate emotional responses often associated with PTSD:
- Depression: The handler can no longer be tempted to stay in bed all morning (or worse, commit suicide), because the dog must be walked and fed and taken care of.
- Anger: The temptation to lose one's temper is inhibited when the handler realizes their not alone any more, and their actions will directly affect their Service Dog. For instance, if the handler feels like they are so angry that they might be arrested for their behavior, the fact that their dog would be impounded keeps the handler from giving in to their outbursts.
- Dissociation: It's easy to "check out" for long periods of time, but when the dog is fully bonded to the handler, the dog will often need, want, and request attention, thus bringing the handler back to the here and now.