Effectively preventing PTSD (with dogs)

It is estimated that the number of people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is greater than the number of people who live in Texas, costing the government (the taxpayer) literally billions.

Many solutions have been proposed, mostly looking how to cure an individual of it once an individual has it. Far less frequent are solutions that look at keeping individuals from developing PTSD in the first place. This is where we are going to focus.

One way to avoid PTSD is to avoid getting into wars, but this seems unfeasible for our government. :p Another way is to lower the number of instances of individuals who develop PTSD after experiencing the horrors of war. For instance, research is beginning to examine the efficacy of distracting trauma victims, which keeps them from remembering the events and developing PTSD. But the President’s Council on Bioethics decided that changing people’s memories is ethically unsound and other solutions need to be found.

And this is where dogs come in. Kind, loving, sweet dogs. All one needs to do is a simple youtube or google search for ‘dog soldier reunite’ for evidence of this special bond. If we can better incorporate dogs into the armed forces, they can provide the distraction and positive affect needed to keep soldiers from consolidating those traumatic memories without the need of medications.

Now, dogs are already used for a variety of tasks, for instance to sniff out landmines and find people, but these dogs can also provide an important source of strength and love for soldiers as they are far from home, especially after they have witnessed something traumatic.

It is actually relatively simple. Dogs, especially shelter dogs, can be transported, raised, and maintained on base, part of whose job it is to play with soldiers and cheer them up (like the children in the hospitals). To distract them and make them smile, especially just after returning from traumatic situations.

In this way, soldiers are prevented from forming memories about the terrible things that happen in war (again, let’s not get into wars in the first place! 😀 ). This solution  can stem the tide of PTSD while avoiding the ethically unsound of biologically changing the way an individual’s brain works AND helping shelter dogs not be put down (just ship them off to war instead!).

But really, it seems to be good on both ends. Also, as soldiers develop relationships with these dogs, the dogs are likely to find good homes after they have served their tour of duty (perhaps soldiers will even help pay for the dogs?).

Obviously, research would have to be done concerning how effective the program is, but if it could prevent even 10% of soldiers from contracting PTSD it would save the government and taxpayers millions, as PTSD is currently estimated to cost society 42.3 Billion each year


What do you think? is it feasible? I need some business people to go over it. 



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How to have relationships that work.

What makes for good relationships?

Eternal love, enjoying relationships, love.

Look at their faces in 1963, they both feel they are getting the better end of the deal. This is is what makes for successful marriages.

What will allow me to have such a successful marriage as these two individuals or to have many friendships?

Economic and Psychological theorizing suggests that the key to good relationships is a positive utility account on both sides of the relationship. 

Specifically, it is when both people feel like they are getting the ‘better end’ of the deal that they are happy in the relationship.

One thing that is commonly asked when at this stage is how the other comes to think of themselves as getting the better end of the deal, and here we get to utility. If you want to read more about how to bring utility to others, you should check out this other blog post, but essentially, it is finding what the other individual values, and then providing that thing (thereby bringing them value).

Think about your own relationships with others, if they are only a cost to you, if they do not bring anything of value to you (e.g., good feeling) you don’t keep them around for long.

Especially if an individual in your life is of negative value (you have to do something for them each time they come around), you will quickly come to sense an imbalance in the relationship, which will motivate you to change things or rid that individual from your life.

How can I become better at providing value to others?

While we could change ourselves to gain the value, the best way would probably to find people for whom you already provide value. This is classic advice, but for instance, if you like going to the movies, why not go to places where you are likely to find others that also like movies? Certainly it would not be a good idea to find someone for whom watching movies actively causes disutility.

When we find people who we really like, and who really like us, it is much easier to provide value to eachother.

Another excellent way to (try to) raise the percieved utility of the relationship for your partner is to do things for them that they particularly enjoy. If you know that your partner really likes a certain dish for dinner, perhaps you could make that (or pick it up) for them one day when they are under a lot of pressure at work. It is the little things that remind them that you care. Alternetively, avoiding causing disutility is also effective.

Ultimately, this is the key, ‘does your partner feel that they are getting the better (or at least a good) end of the stick?’

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