Bipolar disorders affect around 45 million people worldwide, which is an astonishing number. Many people also go undiagnosed, so that number is most likely much higher. There are numerous ways to treat this disorder, Psychiatric Service Dogs being one.
Many people associate Service Dogs with blindness and mobility issues, but they can help with so much more than that. Here we are going to tell you what these Service Dogs can do for you or a loved one suffering from Bipolar Disorder, and other things you need to know.
What is a Psychiatric Service Dog?
A Psychiatric Service Dog is a type of service dog trained to help its owner with mental issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, or bipolar disorder. They can assist their handler in many ways.
How to Train a Psychiatric Service Dog to Help Someone With Bipolar Disorder?
Psychiatric service dogs are extensively trained to perform specific tasks to meet the individualized needs of their handler and are permitted access to public places in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The job of a psychiatric dog assisting its owner with bipolar disorder is to eliminate or alleviate the negative effects of their disorder.
There are many ways for them to do so.
• They can retrieve medication when needed. They can even be trained to take the medication to you at a specific time so you don't forget.
• They can keep you on a good sleep schedule by reminding you to go to sleep at a certain time. They can also be trained to wake you up at a fixed time so you don’t oversleep.
• If the owner is showing manic or hypomanic behaviors, the service dog can calm them down or distract them by doing a trained skill such as leaning their head on the owner’s lap or nudging them with their nose.
• They can bring a phone to their handler or even dial 911 if their owner is showing signs of dangerous behavior, or they can call for help from another family member.
Look at our courses for more information.
Emotional Support Dog Vs Service Dog
Many people get Service Dogs and Emotional Support Dogs mixed up, or think they are the same thing, but this is not the case. Emotional Support Dogs are not considered Service Dogs by the ADA. They are trained for their specific owner to provide comfort for example, but they are not trained for specific tasks.
Service Dogs, however, come in many different types that help different people with different disabilities, whether that be mental or physical. The definition of a service dog is a dog that has been trained to assist a person who has a disability.’ The definition of an emotional support dog is a type of animal that provides comfort to help relieve a symptom or effect of a person's disability.’
Best Psychiatric Service Dog Breeds
• Labrador Retriever
• German Shepherd
• Miniature Schnauzer
• Doberman Pinscher
• Border Collie
• Lhasa Apso
• Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
If your dog isn't one of these breeds and you want them to be your psychiatric service dog, you can still accomplish that with the right time and training!
How can you get a Psychiatric Service Dog For Bipolar Disorder?
To qualify for a psychiatric service dog for bipolar disorder, you must get a letter from your licensed mental health professional, such as a therapist, psychologist, social worker, or psychiatrist, stating your disorder prevents you from completing at least one important life task without assistance on a daily basis. You also must be able to independently command the dog, participate in the dog's training and be able to provide veterinary care for your dog.
How Much Does a Psychiatric Service Dog Cost?
The average price to adopt a trained Psychiatric Service Dog is around $20,000 to $30,000, which is very expensive. The reason they cost so much is due to the time, effort, resources, and the training, in general, that is put in to make these amazing Service Dogs.
If you do not have that much money to spend on a Service Dog, you can train your own for less than half the price. Here at Service Dog Training School, we provide courses where you can learn how to train your own Service Dog at home. We even have a course specifically for training a Psychiatric Service Dog here.