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My needs were initially psych related, but here lately my treatment team and I have been exploring the nature of my symptoms and with my recent autism diagnosis more symptoms are being attributed to my ASD than to my psychiatric disabilities.

I have been in treatment, both medication and therapy for about a decade. I've tried a lot of medications and therapists. I don't even remember the names of most of them (I've had at least over a dozen therapists and I can't estimate the meds). I went through a year of intensive in home therapy which meant six hours of therapy a week for a year, on medication, with no improvement. I really thought I had no options and that my life was going to mean being incredibly anxious and severely depressed forever.

And then I made a series of lifestyle changes, and gained autonomy of myself. I made my own decisions and decided what to do.

I had been in cognitive behavioral therapy for the entirety of my treatment, and I was sick of it. Super sick. I didn't have access to varied therapies because of my location and ability to travel. I tried everything I had available including acupuncture and herbal medicine.

When I was hospitalized the most recent time I went in knowing exactly which practice I wanted to be referred to upon discharge, and I knew I wanted to do dialectical behavior therapy instead of CBT but I was unlikely to have that opportunity just calling to set up an appointment. Having the hospital set up my appointment really put a rush on the whole process.

I really enjoy my current therapist, and my prescribing doctor is awesome. I am on a mix of medications, some I've taken before but mostly new ones. I am rapidly regaining function and have been applying for jobs which is something I've never even been capable of doing. Ever.

If my only issues were psychiatric then I don't know that I'd have a service dog. I am still disabled by MI but there's not a lot a dog could do for my psych stuff. What I'm in need of now is mostly related to sensory processing. I'm still anxious but not nearly as anxious as I have been in the past. I get tired easily but I'm not depressed and getting out of the bed is not a struggle for me anymore.

Therapy and medication are treatment for your disability. They can possibly cure your disorder or greatly decrease the impact of your symptoms. A service dog can not cure anything. A service dog is there to mitigate the permanent symptoms of your disability that are "left over" from treatment.

I am of the opinion that treatment should be a priority and that a service dog should be a consideration after you and your team have determined that your symptoms likely will not improve beyond their current state.

Being freshly diagnosed - there are a lot of med combos and therapies and even therapists to try before it can be determined that you can't improve further.

You're still young and you have a lot of maturing to do physically. Your brain is still developing and by the time you are an adult your disability may not be very disabling or even noticeable anymore. Some people continue to have psychiatric disabilities as adults, obviously, but most teenagers with even severe mental health problems improve greatly when hormones cease to wreck their emotions and they learn to adapt to and work around their symptoms. I'm not dismissing you, I'm sharing that your current level of function probably won't be the same in two years when you'd get your dog, and certainly won't be the same when you're twenty or twenty five.

I'd take a crack at different meds, different therapies, or different therapists first but that's what I tell most people considering a PSD.
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Welcome!

You're young, and you have only recently been diagnosed.  We have some forum members who have been where you are, and I hope they will offer their experiences to you as a guide, but I can give you some information. First, my understanding is that many mental health conditions change rapidly as you go from a teenager to a young adult.  By the time a dog was trained for you, your needs will be different.

Second, I have no experience with mental illness personally, but from what forum members have written here, it seems to me that PSDs are not recommended until you have made progress in your recovery. When you are stable and know what you need to manage your condition, then you will be able to pinpoint tasks that a dog could do for you to bridge gaps.

If you poke around on the PSD board, I think you'll find helpful information.

Welcome!
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This thread was originally posted, and seemed to be resolved in, March of this year.
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I'm sure someone else can explain to you tasks vs emotional support but I wanted to chime in about treatment. Therapy tasks time. I didn't see measurable results for a year (and 3 therapists later). It's a process not a magic cure. So before you go looking for a PSD, make sure you have given treatment a fair try.
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Our breeder has a cool setup for her puppies.  Each litter has a large indoor room and free access their own large outdoor area.  They aren't inside, but she seems to have huge litters and I don't know how you could have so many puppies inside.

This summer she had two litters.  One was 11 puppies and one was 13.  I don't even want to think about 24 puppies living in a house. lol  The only other litter she's had that I know the number of was 11.  A 5 to 8 puppy litter I can see inside.

Their outdoor areas are very close to the outdoor area where her adult dogs live and the puppies are able to see them well.  They are right there where the breeder works with her adult dogs and the puppies get to see all that.  I would worry that in an enclosed garage they aren't hearing and seeing enough for proper mental stimulation.  With the outdoor areas they see people interacting with other dogs, birds, the sky, weather, trees, etc etc  They also learn super early to poop outside.  Solomon potty trained so easily, I couldn't believe it.  Their moms teach them to potty outside if they have access to indoors and outdoors, same as wolf moms do in their dens.
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A puppy reared in the home will be better socialized and habituated, better started on house training, familiar with house rules like begging, and have better early neurological stimulation.
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Hello!

I have been recently looking into service dogs and I'm wondering your opinions on it.

I am 16 (and in high school) and I have pretty severe anxiety and have been recently diagnosed with bipolar depression too. I was first diagnosed with anxiety about 2.5-3 years ago and have been trying (and switching around) medicines on and off since then. I was originally said to have social anxiety disorder, but it has turned into severe general anxiety (diagnosed by my doctor, not me).

I have an especially hard time in school and in crowded or loud public places, though I do feel acute anxiety almost constantly.  I get panic attacks a lot and find it hard to sit still (I am very jittery when I'm nervous and anxious, which is pretty much all the time).  My anxiety get a lot worse when I am stressed and I get stressed very easily, which obviously doesn't help! This is even with the medicines, though they do somewhat lessen my symptoms and make everything a little easier.

Here's the problem, though: so far, every medicine I've tried has given my really bad side effects.  Some have made me very nauseous, some made me dizzy to the point that I'm afraid I will pass out and I struggle to concentrate, and some just don't seem to help at all.  I've tried pretty much everything my doctor and psychiatrist have recommended and none seem to work well enough. 

Also, I have tried seeing a therapist and some of their methods do help (like breathing exercises, for example), but again, not to the point I think I could (and should) be at.  I think a PSD would help me recognize the onset of a panic attack because sometimes they happen quickly and randomly for me, and would be able to help snap me out of one, and could potentially be a buffer in crowded places.  I also think that just the presence of the dog will calm me (especially since I love animals and the presence of my pets at home do seem to help). 

So, my question is: does it seem like a psychiatric service dog would be right for me? Is it possible to use a service dog to help cope so I can get off of the medications? Any advice and/or thoughts are appreciated!
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I went and saw the set up. The current puppies are healthy and greeted us and wanted to explore there our hands with there teeth. They are in an attached garage to the house so they can still hear the noise in the house and have shaving and hay as bedding that the breeder slowly makes smaller to have them potty in smaller area. They have a heater and food and water and the place was very clean. They also had some toys to play with. I am guessing she would allow me to come and socialize with the litter every week so I could bring new toys and noises to help with habitation.

Sounds like a fine setup Felix. I don't think it's a problem if puppies aren't raised in the house.
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It is good for me to get this kind of feedback. I must assure everyone that Trooper wears his vest to almost all public accommodation venues. We often do not wear it in the local coffee shop down the block because we sometimes stop by on a whim during our undressed pee walks. The owners know us, the staff knows us, and most of the customers do as well. There are no complaints. That, of course, is a special case.

That said, I have encountered quite a bit of divergent opinion from service dog partners. Some insist on the letter of the law—no ID necessary—for their own particular reasons. I do agree they are making things tougher for business owners, but they believe they are making things easier for themselves as PWD. In some ways it's like the old and unnecessary war between the speaking deaf and the signing deaf . . . it's forgotten that every case of deafness is different and it's unwise to generalize about modes of communication.

An example: Trooper wears a patch on his vest, an ID from the State of Michigan Department of Civil Rights, and we carry an ID card from it. That department has a voluntary registration plan for service dog handlers who are Michigan residents (we are in the summer, though we live in the Chicago area). In order to get a card and a patch, the applicant must have a doctor fill out an affidavit that the person has a disability, with the doctor's state license number. (Michigan does check up on that.) The patch has been useful in persuading restaurateurs that Trooper (a little black schnoodle) is a legitimate service dog, not only in Michigan but in other states.

On the other hand, there is a prominent Michigan service dog trainer (and operator of a Web site devoted to them) who is very much against this scheme for a number of reasons. Among them: She feels that the registry, even if it is voluntary, flouts the spirit of the ADA and that the absence of the patch on a dog's vest may lead a Michigan public accommodation to believe the dog is not a real service dog. I have no idea if this indeed has happened.

I disagree with her but respect her opinions.
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I've had the same experience, ZF. Even though it clearly has the brand name on it, people still ask. Thankfully the harness it expensive without the handler discount so it drives people away. By far the most popular with the people who have undertrained or untrained service dogs are the padded vests with the reflective strap across the chest and handle on top with some sort of velcro patch on it. I get nervous around dogs with those on but I've rarely seen a dog misbehave with a vest. I've never seen a dog with a mobility harness in person.

I mark her because I don't want to give the impression she's there for emotional support or comfort even though she's tasking. I had someone ask how I could let my dog pull me around like that, even though she was responsive to directional and speed changes lol

Marking your dog doesn't stop people from being stupid or malicious, but I feel like it's the least you can do as a courtesy for the businesses you visit to keep the well intentioned public from trying to bring pets in there.
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