Can the Death of Your Pet Push You Into Depression?

Can the Death of Your Pet Push You Into Depression?
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A pet is a source of happiness, joy, and companionship for many children. But in case of its death, all the love triggers a sense of grief and emptiness. This complicated feeling of sorrow leads to depression among other mental disorders. 

Cut Your Wish-lists Short By Adopting a Pet

A pet provides a feeling of joy and makes you self-confident. Pets give children unconditional love, attention, and a sense of belonging; something that a depression-hit person needs desperately. Having a pet affects the personality of the child. A child during the growing age needs someone to talk, play, and also learn some good qualities every day. Having a pet for children at home makes them responsible and attentive. 

Moreover, the child becomes responsible for having a pet. As the owner of the pet will be the one responsible for taking care of the meals and well-being of the pet. Children around the day spending time with their pets learn a different thing. It includes how to take care of others, be affectionate, kind, and provide protection.  

ALSO READ: Wellness advantages of possessing family pets

You can have a pet you want for yourself or your child. But first, you need to define the place you will allow the pet to move around. 

Before having a pet, an estimation of the cost of looking after the pet. The time you can spend with your pet also determines which pet you can choose to have. You can have a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, and any other small mammal. A pet is not our whole life, but it also makes our lives whole.  

Pets Can Pull You Out Of Depression And Other Psychological Problems

All the positive feelings of a pet lover convert into grief and sadness upon its death. Particularly in children, the fatality of their pets triggers signs of mental health issues. It is credited to the prolonging and complicating grief the child experiences upon the death of a beloved pet. 

According to research by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), children experience psychological distress that can lead to depression. This depression can last for three or more years after the death of a precious pet. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published this study.

Another lead author of the study, Katherine Crawford, says that when a pet is as close as a family member, then upon its death, mental health symptoms appear in the child. Symptoms which point towards the patient being pushed into depression.

The physician or psychiatrist needs to recognize these symptoms on time to avoid problematic complications. Children, particularly those under seven years old, experience traumatic psychological symptoms upon the loss of their pet.  

Losing A Pet Can Be Devastating 

Previous research has conducted on the emotional attachment of adults to pets and the after-effects of pet loss. The MGH team is the first to analyze the affection of children to their pets. Thus, determining the effects of the death of a pet on them.

For this research, mothers and children directly provide data. The 6260 children share their feelings for their pets. And also about their experience on the loss of their dearest pet. These children belong to the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, in Bristol, England.

ALSO READ: Blood Tests May Enable Easy Diagnosis Of Psychotic Disorders

 Erin Dunn, SCD, MPH with the MGH Center for Genomic Medicine and Department of Psychiatry and senior author of the study. The study shows that feelings and psychotropic changes the experience of a child. These include but are not limited to PTSD, stress, anxiety, and depression. It is due to the loss of the pet and is not related to the child’s socioeconomic status. 

The occurrence of a psychological disorder is not associated with the age of the child or time of death. It is also independent of the hardships which the child may have endured. According to researchers, males experience more psychopathic symptoms than females. Their propensity to fall into depression is much higher than that of the females.

Researchers believe adults and pediatricians shall try to monitor the child specifically after the death of pets. Recognizing disturbing psychological symptoms is essential to avoid critical mental disorders. According to Crawford, it’s vital to talk with the grieving child to decrease the risk of developing depression.

About the author


Adeena Tariq Lari

The author is a graduate of dental surgery from the Dow University Health Sciences, Karachi. She has an academic background in content writing as well as English literature, giving her an edge in the field. Adeena is always curious about physical and mental health. She is always passionate about research and delivering high-quality reliable content to users.

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