How Pets Help Kids With ADHD
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental health issues affecting children in the United States. The condition that generally onsets during childhood often persists even in adulthood, causing symptoms such as difficulty in maintaining focus, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 10.2 percent of children aged between 5 and 17 years were diagnosed with ADHD between 2012–2014.
Seeking out a psychiatrist or a psychologist specializing in ADHD is important, since a primary care physician may not have the extensive experience required to accurately diagnose and treat the mental health condition. Although ADHD can be effectively cured using a wide range of therapies, medication, as well as counseling, there are certain unconventional ways that can help a child deal with the debilitating symptoms.
Interestingly, one of the best remedies to curb impulsiveness in a child is to bring a pet into the family. Pets are a simple yet great way to help kids create healthy habits and burn off excess energy while providing them with a non-judgmental companionship.
Here are some interesting ways in which pets can help kids with ADHD deal with their condition:
1. Maintaining a schedule: Having a pet requires a child to keep his or her day well planned and structured. Whether it is a cat or a dog, every pet is schedule-intensive. In fact, a number of pets, such as dogs, need to be fed, taken for a walk or bathed at a particular time. Taking care of all these needs helps the child learn how to plan ahead. This habit of planning a routine helps kids maintain a balance between their responsibilities and having fun.
2. Making them feel demanded: Pets offer unconditional love to humans. Thus, no matter how a child behaves with the pet, he or she will always receive only love in return. This makes the child feel wanted and happy about the fact that they are accepted and loved no matter what.
3. Reducing stress: ADHD can make a child highly anxious and stressed. Therefore, having a pet at home can help the child calm down and relax. It has also been found that watching a fish swimming has a therapeutic or calming effect on a person’s mind.
4. Promoting social interactions: Avoiding social interactions is one of the common symptom noticed in kids with ADHD. Having a pet is a great way to overcome shyness and deal with one’s social anxiety. Taking the pet for a walk or playing with it gives the child a chance to interact with new people and talk about things he or she would not otherwise. This is also a great way to boost a child’s confidence and make them believe in themselves.
5. Building self-esteem: ADHD tends to lower a person’s self-esteem. Thus, having a pet can actually help boost self-confidence. Children get excited and feel happy about the special relationship that they share with their pets. In fact, when children are engrossed in taking good care of them, their self-esteem and confidence levels rise considerably.
However, taking on a pet is not an easy decision and requires a lot of deliberation. It is like taking care of a child completely dependent on the family for its needs as long as it is alive. Therefore, one should take into account several factors such as financial burden, allergies or any other medical concerns before bringing a pet home. One should not restrict oneself to a particular kind of pet, such as a dog or a cat but can also think about other animals such as a fish or a turtle. It is also important to keep in mind that a pet requires commitment, and therefore, one may need to make certain long-term lifestyle changes.
Seek professional help for ADHD
Excessive anxiety that interferes with the functioning of an individual needs medical attention. ADHD if treated on time can ensure a healthy and normal future for a child.
Therefore, if your child is showing signs of ADHD, or if you or your loved one is experiencing unusual bouts of anxiety, the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California can help in locating the best anxiety treatment centers in California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855–972–9459 to connect with one of the best anxiety clinics in California.