The female chess champ suing ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ for being ‘grossly sexist and belittling’
The female chess champ suing ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ for being ‘grossly sexist and belittling’

Sarah Finnan

3 for Tuesday: Facial sprays to keep at your desk (and why you shouldn’t overuse them)
3 for Tuesday: Facial sprays to keep at your desk (and why you shouldn’t overuse...

Aisling Keenan

Chrissy Teigen has shared a post about how her body feels ‘frozen in time’ after her pregnancy loss
Chrissy Teigen has shared a post about how her body feels ‘frozen in time’ after...

Megan Burns

What’s on this September: What to watch, stream, read and listen to this month
What’s on this September: What to watch, stream, read and listen to this month

Lauren Heskin

It’s a beautiful day to tell the truth: Why Katherine Heigl was demonised but Patrick Dempsey was idolised for their ‘Grey’s’ exits
It’s a beautiful day to tell the truth: Why Katherine Heigl was demonised but Patrick...

Sarah Finnan

Emmys 2021: the best red-carpet looks
Emmys 2021: the best red-carpet looks

Holly O'Neill

Hillary Clinton will be in Belfast this week for her inauguration as Queen’s University chancellor
Hillary Clinton will be in Belfast this week for her inauguration as Queen’s University chancellor

Megan Burns

7 helpful steps to making your foundation look its best
7 helpful steps to making your foundation look its best

Melanie Morris

The teaser trailer for the new Sex and The City Reboot is here!
The teaser trailer for the new Sex and The City Reboot is here!

Jennifer McShane

Girlfriend Collective: The ethical sportswear brand that TikTok is loving
Girlfriend Collective: The ethical sportswear brand that TikTok is loving

Sarah Finnan

Image / Editorial

Animals Can Suffer Mental Health Issues Too, Says Science


by Jennifer McShane
19th Sep 2015
blank

We’ve reported on the many ways in which mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can affect our lives. Now a group of scientists are beginning to investigate the inner lives of animals (as opposed to humans) for this, including potential signs of mental illness. Maybe your pet has been acting strangely following the death of another pet or is displaying tendencies that are unusual – overly licking its paws or nose, for example. While these simply might be ‘quirks’ displayed by our beloved pets, researchers argue that these are signs of something bigger going on.

According to the BBC, some researchers have argued that there are observable behaviours in animals that look a lot like the behaviours in humans with certain mental health issues: There are pet birds that pluck out their own feathers, dogs that won’t quit licking their tails or paws, and bonobos that pull out their hair. Some military dogs that have been in combat may even show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as a dramatic change in temperament.

But even more recently, some scientists have started to investigate the idea on a genetic level, and their results suggest that in some animals, much like in humans, the effects of isolation can be serious. Writer Shreya Dasgupta explained: “It seems that animal mental health issues?can be triggered by many of the same factors that unleash mental illness in humans. That includes the loss of family or companions, loss of freedom, stress, trauma and abuse. This is most easily seen in animals that are held in captivity.”

In a 2011 study, scientists found signs of depression and PTSD in chimpanzees that had been used in laboratory research, orphaned, trapped by snares, or been part of an illegal trade. Also, in 2014, researchers found that African Grey parrots that were housed alone suffered more genetic damage than parrots that were housed in pairs.

Researchers acknowledged that more research had to be done as they confirmed that it was still “difficult to tell if a seemingly abnormal behaviour is a sign of illness, or just out of the ordinary. In many cases, we don’t know enough about what constitutes ‘normal behaviour’ to decide.” Arguably, most pet owners can tell when their furry friends are out of sorts, but what scientists are questioning is how deep this goes. Is your animal just having an off day? This particular set of researchers would argue the contrary; that many animals can truly suffer from mental health issues, as humans can. They might not display these tendencies the same way (obviously), but they still very much exist.

“Far from being something limited to pampered modern humans, mental illness can strike many kinds of animals and seems to have been around for hundreds of millions of years. Just like seemingly more physical disorders like cancer, it can be traced back to mechanical things such as genes and proteins within our cells,” the researchers added.

Though this research is at an early stage, it’s going to be interesting to see how it develops.

What are your thoughts on this fellow pet owners?

Via BBC

Also Read

toxic
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

blank
premium EDITORIAL
Join The Club to Avail of Your Complimentary Tickets to The IMAGE Business Summit 2021

Don’t miss this year’s IMAGE Business Summit, with an expert line-up, skills masterclasses, keynote addresses and more.Back by popular demand,...

By Shayna Sappington

blank
premium EDITORIAL
EVENT: How To Master the Art of Negotiation

We sit down with Negotiation Strategist Natalie Reynolds, discussing key tactics and strategies used to master the art of negotiation...

By Shayna Sappington

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
No, the Olympics haven’t given athletes ‘anti-sex’ cardboard beds

Despite some media coverage, the beds are actually focused on sustainability as opposed to intimacy restrictions. Recently, distance runner Paul...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
AGENDA, EDITORIAL
When speaking about ageing, we should follow Julianne Moore’s lead

Actress Julianne Moore is tired of all the cliched tropes about female ageing. The way we speak about it; the...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Quite interesting’: Princess Anne comments on The Crown

We’ve all heard that the royal family don’t exactly gather round to watch The Crown, but one member has shared...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
This is what happens when you hypersexualise young girls growing up

Who is demanding the fetishization of young girls anyway?”When I was working in my early twenties, and even my late...

By Amanda Cassidy