Ashley Judd Has a Bad Case of Puppy Love

Stacy Matson | Celebrity Health
Ashley Judd Has a Bad Case of Puppy Love

image by: Mingle MediaTV

Depression has a new form of treatment that is safe and has no side effects. Well, maybe the occasional wet face. Around the world, dogs are being used to help people cope with mental illness

We live in a time when there is a pill to treat or “cure” almost any illness, especially mental illness. The use of antidepressants has doubled in the last decade. But at what cost?

Many of these medicines have horrible side effects that may make your depression worse.  Not to mention that they are addictive, may cause suicidal thoughts, or numb you into a zombie-like state. But, what if I told you that there is a new form of treatment that is completely safe and has no side effects?  Well, maybe the occasional wet face. 

Around the world, dogs are being used to help people cope with mental illness. These dogs are called therapy dogs and they’re a subcategory of service dogs.  Therapy dogs undergo months of extensive training to help people cope with depression.  Therapy dogs live and act as everyday household pets however; they’re trained to respond to the different moods of the owner. For instance, if the owner is sad or crying, the dog knows to cuddle, lick away tears, or bring tissues.  If the owner is sleeping too much the dog knows to wake them up. Therapy dogs are also trained to initiate play, retrieve medications, and find keys or other items lost, as depression and some medications can cause memory lapses.

Service dogs, for the blind and disabled, are fairly common, however, therapy dogs are a new phenomenon.  But it makes so much sense.  It’s hard to be depressed when a dog is around.  Just ask actress Ashley Judd who has a long history of depression that she says stems from her chaotic and abusive childhood.  Recently, Judd got a “psychological support” dog named Shug to help her cope with her depression. 

In the 1990’s Judd was one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood.  She was beautiful, intelligent, and had her pick of roles.  However, all that changed in 2006 after a visit with her sister, Wynona Judd, who was in a residential treatment center for addiction.  During a family therapy session, the doctor suggested that Ashley would benefit from therapy as well.  So she checked herself in for treatment and out of Hollywood. 

After 42 days of in-patient therapy, Judd decided that she needed to make some serious changes in her life.  She retired from acting, went back to college, and threw herself into charity work where she found meaning in her life by volunteering at refugee camps and orphanages around the world.  In 2010, she graduated from Harvard with a degree in public administration. 

Feeling healthy and content for the first time Judd recently returned to Hollywood and is currently starring in the TV show “Missing.” Judd says her depression still exists but she has Shug, her four-legged companion by her side.  Judd says Shug has helped her cope with her depressive episodes and brings stability and “quality to my life.”  Quality indeed.

Dogs are amazing beings; they offer absolute, unconditional love and a level of patience that no human could ever possibly give. Dogs are aware of illness and sadness and genuinely want to provide companionship and comfort.  Any dog owner will agree with me when I say that there are very few moments better than when your dog detects your sadness and curls up next to you.  What better form of therapy could there be? For more information about Depression visit HealthWorldNet. 

Stacy Matson, a health enthusiast from Southern California, regularly blogs on Celebrity Health for A Healthier World, as well as contributing to the Best of the Best.

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