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Hello!

My name is Hannah, and I am wondering if a service dog would be a good fit for me. I struggle with OCD, hallucinations, delusions, and panic attacks. I will try my best to explain my difficulties to the best of my ability. With my OCD, I am constantly checking and hand washing to the point where it keeps me from staying on task and staying focused on what I need to do. There was even a point in time where I would sleep in the floor of my room instead of my bed out of fear that there were food stains on my bed even when there clearly were none. While I slept on the floor, I'd use a bookshelf as a pillow and use to jackets as blankets. This went on for about 6 months. The hallucinations range anywhere from dead bodies, to noises, to a woman with black hair and white dress, and more. I have often heard doors being moved of closed, or loud banging that has no explanation or reasonable source. I have also heard two incoherent voices having a conversation in a different room, but upon entering, there was nobody there. I have also experienced hallucinations of someone breaking into my house on many occasions, and it would lead to me hiding in my closet for long periods of time. With the delusions, I constantly believe that someone is trying to harm me. I often feel as if I'm being watched or followed, fear someone hiding in the back seat of my car waiting to harm me, fear that someone is hiding somewhere around my car waiting to get me, fear that someone is constantly standing in the alley next to my house waiting to harm me, etc. When I have panic attacks, I will shake almost uncontrollably and will not realize that I'm picking at my nails to the point of them bleeding. I am constantly checking behind me and cannot focus even a tiny bit when having a panic attack. My panic attacks are often sudden and seem to have no solid trigger. I was wondering if a psychiatric service dog would work well for me. I have been hoping that I could obtain one that can help during panic attacks, search my house or around my car if I'm feeling fearful, help me to realize when I'm hallucinating or not, and help interrupt OCD behaviors so that I can focus more on the task at hand.
 

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The short answer is I don't know if a dog would help you or not. I did come across an interesting article the other day about whether service dogs may or may not help, which I will link for you. But - are you getting other help? Have you seen a doctor?

I have seen both a psychiatrist and a therapist. I still see both, and I've mentioned these things to them before. However, it never went very far due to the cost of training a service dog. I have mentioned getting a service dog to my mother, and she agreed that it would be beneficial to me. My therapist also agreed that it may be beneficial. We've done so much to help my mental issues, and it seems like animals have always been a great tool for me to use in times of distress. I've worked with therapy dogs in the past, and all of them were able to get me to relax and be more open about my emotional distress.
 

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I would think that a psychiatric service dog might help with some of what you are experiencing. I know that PTSD dogs, that some service men use, are taught to watch the man or woman's 6, or keep an eye on their back, if one of the problems the person is experiencing is paranoia about someone coming up behind them. I also know that some psychiatric service dogs are taught to interrupt repetitive behavior, and others are taught to do deep pressure in order to alleviate panic attacks.

What the service dog is not going to help with is your hallucinations and a lot of your paranoia. If you are not already please get some professional help for that. You more then deserve to live your life without so many mental issues and I have a couple of friends who have to stay on psychiatric drugs in order to combat hallucinations and paranoia. There is help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would think that a psychiatric service dog might help with some of what you are experiencing. I know that PTSD dogs, that some service men use, are taught to watch the man or woman's 6, or keep an eye on their back, if one of the problems the person is experiencing is paranoia about someone coming up behind them. I also know that some psychiatric service dogs are taught to interrupt repetitive behavior, and others are taught to do deep pressure in order to alleviate panic attacks.

What the service dog is not going to help with is your hallucinations and a lot of your paranoia. If you are not already please get some professional help for that. You more then deserve to live your life without so many mental issues and I have a couple of friends who have to stay on psychiatric drugs in order to combat hallucinations and paranoia. There is help!
Thank you so much! I've been doing a lot of heavy researching beforehand in order to get as much information about it as possible. I don't want to get a service dog if it's not the right fit. I have wondered if there was a way to train a dog to search my home in case I felt there was an intruder and to come back and do some kind of act to communicate that there is no one else in the home. I've also wondered if it would be helpful to train a service dog to bring me anxiety medication in these times that I feel as if there is an intruder and/or whenever I have panic attacks. It's a very complex situation, which is why I'm trying to get as much information as I possibly can in order to determine if I would be suitable for a service animal or not.
 

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You'd need a search dog, like the ones used in 9/11 to find people trapped in the rubble, if you wanted one to do searches of your home for intruders. In order for the training to stick you'd likely need a random friend, or family member to come over every now and then to hide so that your dog could find them (sort of like hide and seek). That way you could reward him for a job well done, ad have the training reinforced. What you really need to keep in mind is that just about any dog will alert you if someone breaks into your home. I know that every dog I have owned, and all the ones I know, will let me know if someone is making noise at the windows or doors. They know before I do if someone is around.

If you kept your medicine in a certain place you could train your dog to go fetch it on cue. I know that the service dogs that help the mobility impaired are trained to fetch all sorts of things for their handlers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You'd need a search dog, like the ones used in 9/11 to find people trapped in the rubble, if you wanted one to do searches of your home for intruders. In order for the training to stick you'd likely need a random friend, or family member to come over every now and then to hide so that your dog could find them (sort of like hide and seek). That way you could reward him for a job well done, ad have the training reinforced. What you really need to keep in mind is that just about any dog will alert you if someone breaks into your home. I know that every dog I have owned, and all the ones I know, will let me know if someone is making noise at the windows or doors. They know before I do if someone is around.

If you kept your medicine in a certain place you could train your dog to go fetch it on cue. I know that the service dogs that help the mobility impaired are trained to fetch all sorts of things for their handlers.
That is true. This is something I'd have to discuss more in depth with my health care professional to get more advice since they understand my mental illness on a deeper scale. I think the biggest thing would be to have search training, panic attack training, and training to interrupt OCD behaviors.
 

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Are there any sevice dog providers in your area? They would most likely know more about the type of people and problems they have placed dogs with in the past and maybe they would allow you to visit and get an idea of what a dog could mean for you.
As Rain has mentioned there are limitations to what a dog can do but a service dog provider or training center would have a much better idea of what is possible..
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Are there any sevice dog providers in your area? They would most likely know more about the type of people and problems they have placed dogs with in the past and maybe they would allow you to visit and get an idea of what a dog could mean for you.
As Rain has mentioned there are limitations to what a dog can do but a service dog provider or training center would have a much better idea of what is possible..
I think the closest one is about 2 hours away from me, which is a stretch. However, if it's something that can help, then I'm more than willing to make the drive.
 

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I think the closest one is about 2 hours away from me, which is a stretch. However, if it's something that can help, then I'm more than willing to make the drive.
If I were in your place I would email them , explain the situation and ask them for any advice then if you think its still an option ask about a vist ... Its better to get advice from the people who actually deal with placing service dogs as they will know just what the dogs are capable of and what chance you would have of getting a dog.
 
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