When my husband returned from his 18-month deployment to Iraq in 2005, he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. It was very clear early on that the primary treatment goal would be medication. One VA psychiatrist was adamant that he needed medicated, stating, “we have very good drugs these days.” “They just help cool the brain down.” “These drugs will change your life.” My husband’s response was, “No way, I don’t need your drugs.”
That was in 2006. His diagnosis did not change, but how he learned to cope did. He discovered that just hanging with his dogs, whether it was with his little buddy in the garage, or laying on the floor surrounding by four legged love, it helped ease the tension, anxiety, anger, and some of the other emotions that are present with these conditions. I am not minimizing the use of drugs, but for him, that just wasn’t an answer he could live with. His dogs have become his treatment. It’s non-invasive, cost effective, and the side-effects of this treatment plan will not cause other negative health conditions.