Mental Health Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

Have you ever noticed that cats and dogs are able to improve our mood and keep our psychological state normal? Of course, there has been a lot of talk about the benefits of service animals. However, ESAs are no less beneficial to their owners. Our four-legged friends are able to reduce stress and tension, help fight depression and anxiety, and are simply a source of happiness and joy.

You do not even have to see a doctor to become a "patient" of your pet. Animals feel any disturbances in the condition of their owners and are always ready to come to the rescue. If you notice that your cat or dog is constantly trying to be near you, it may not be the animal that needs attention, but you. And if you already have certain mental maladies, we suggest considering ESA as one of the additional therapies that can speed up the healing process.

What is the origin of ESAs?

Scientists have repeatedly studied the impact of animals on the health of their owners. The positive effect of pets on the psycho-emotional state of man is difficult to overestimate. Animals give us unconditional love and devotion, bring positive emotions, and relieve tension and stress.

Pet therapy has long been popular. Today, psychologists and psychiatrists are actively using emotional support animals to further treat human mental disorders. The animal is an effective distraction for people who suffer from mental disorders, depression, or those who just feel lonely. In addition, animals can be useful for learning and increase the life motivation of their handlers.

Tell me the best way to get an emotional support animal?

If you feel lonely, have a bad mood, sleep disturbance, and other possible symptoms of mental malady, we recommend that you contact mental health professionals as soon as possible. Only a specialist will be able to give a thorough and appropriate assessment of the state of your mental system, to diagnose and prescribe relevant and effective therapy. One such therapy may be the use of an emotional support animal, usually a dog or cat. If you already have a pet, a psychiatrist has to determine whether such treatment will be effective.

If in the opinion of the therapist the animal can become an effective adjunctive therapy and help to get rid of the mental disorder faster, you will receive an ESA letter. This is a special document that confirms your need for the emotional support animal and defines the rights of the ESA. You can get an emotional support animal wherever animals are bred. Contrary to the service animal, ESAs are not required for special care or training. Therefore, you can adopt an animal from a shelter or purchase it through breeders or pet stores.

After getting an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional and purchasing an animal, you may need to have an animal registered. Actually, registration is not mandatory for ESAs. However, we recommend registering your animal to avoid any possible problems or misunderstandings. Especially since you can register emotional support animal.

How do emotional support animals help with mental health?

Animal-assisted therapy is widely used in the United States. In the early stages of depression or anxiety disorder, doctors prescribe ESA to their patients. Animals help to get rid of stress, improve mood and change the normal way of life, which has a positive effect on the psychological state.

Emotional or psychiatric disability is usually caused by constant tension, uncertainty, or traumatic life events. The animal is forced to focus on what is happening now, stop living in the past, stop analyzing or thinking too much about past actions, and get rid of suicidal tendencies and thoughts.

Cases when a mental health professional can recommend getting an ESA

Emotional support animals can be useful for many mental health conditions. Among the most common diseases are post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, and other disorders, including mental retardation in children. Note that ESAs can be of the greatest benefit only in the early stages of psychical frustrations. For the treatment of complex mental states used psychiatric service animals.

It is a very popular reason people like animal comfort. This organization supports people in distress with their mental health or emotional problems. When psychiatrists prescribe medication aimed at treating symptoms, psychologists suggest that animals be in their care to help them with psychological endorsement.

Who can benefit the most from emotional support animals?

An emotional support animal can be helpful for different categories of society. Undoubtedly, anyone can benefit from communication with animals. However, there are risk groups that are most prone to mental disorders, and therefore will profit most from owning an ESA.

The first and very prevalent group is war veterans and active soldiers. War is a traumatic event for anyone, however, soldiers who were directly involved in hostilities or were in hotspots very often suffer from mental disorders. The most common of these is PTSD, which can be accompanied by other maladies like insomnia, flashbacks, and panic attacks. If a human has a panic attack, an ESA can calm the owner, normalize blood pressure and pulse and be there until the person feels safe. ESA has also been shown in military veterans to reduce the rate of startle. At times when people are stressed out, dogs make the owner feel comfortable.

Children and adolescents who live in homes are less likely to have mental problems due to pets. Children affected by traumatic experiences develop mental health issues as their parents become divorced. Research shows that children are more likely to enjoy their pets and to be more involved in their relationships. Children who grow up in families with pets find it easier to socialize and make friends. In addition, ESAs can be very useful for children with congenital mental or learning dysfunctions.

Psychiatric patients benefit best when their emotional support dog helps them out. The study shows that patients who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or a psychotic condition experience an improvement in quality of life and better motivation. Doctors also often recommend a psychiatric service dog for such patients. The type of helper animal depends on the severity of the patient's condition and is determined by the therapist.

Another no less vulnerable category of people is students. Studying at university and often moving to another city can be a cause of stress. Currently, college students must have emotional support animals at university. Animal studies have shown that animal studies can decrease feelings of depression.

Some university students have been away from family members for years and have high expectations of getting good grades in the classroom. ESAs on university campuses help students overcome stress and anxiety. Also, don't forget that according to the Fair Housing Act, emotional support dogs and cats have the right to live with their owners for free, even on university campuses.

Emotional Support Animals Are Good for ALL People

In addition to medical indications, there are a number of reasons why you should pay attention to emotional support animals. Animals provide unconditional love and loyalty to their owners. They usually become not only friends but family members. Besides pets give some physical health benefits. Spending time with your pet, you may notice that over time the blood pressure stabilizes, heart problems, headaches, and insomnia disappear.

Animals behave like that by being submissive to a stranger and demonstrating empathy for others. Animals are influenced by human movements, facial expressions, or gestures. For this reason, emotional supporting dogs have been used to provide help to those who truly need it and also for those of us who simply wish for unconditional love and the benefits a loving pet provides.

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