Pets bring people happiness and joy all the time, and offer unconditional love and companionship to their owners. Pets even offer physical health benefits to their owners. Pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure and lower rates of heart disease than non-pet owners.
Emotional support animals (ESAs) are more than just pets and can offer critical care for individuals suffering with mental illness, particularly those dealing with anxiety and depression. Depressed individuals with a strong bond with their Emotional support animal may even be less likely to exhibit suicidal ideations.
While Emotional support animals can offer a wide range of benefits to many individuals, this blog post focuses on Emotional support animals with respect to anxiety and depression.
Emotional Support Animal for Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common psychological disorders that North Americans suffer from. Anxiety is a normal, and typical reaction to stress. For some, anxiety is a beneficial and motivating factor, but for others, it can be all-encompassing and crippling. If left untreated anxiety can result in significant distress, panic attacks and the inability to cope with daily life.
Some of the symptoms of anxiety include:
- Sleeping difficulty
- Muscle pain
- Feelings of panic and dread
Emotional Support Animal for Depression
While many people can feel down from time to time, depression is a serious psychological disorder that must not go untreated. Depression can range in its impact from mild to severe, with the most serious cases leading to suicide. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people experience a serious depression at least once in their lives.
Some of the symptoms of depression include:
- Constant sadness
- Changes in appetite
- Loss of enjoyment in hobbies or passions
- Feelings of emptiness and lack of purpose
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks
- Thoughts of death or suicide
How an Emotional Support Animal can Help with Anxiety and Depression
While it is not a substitute for professional help, an Emotional support animal can provide a constant source of support for those suffering from anxiety and/or depression. An Emotional support animal can reduce feelings of loneliness and/or emptiness in depressed individuals, and can provide a sense of calm and routineness to those with anxiety. So how do Emotional support animals reduce anxiety and depression?
- ESAs can improve some of the physical symptoms of depression and anxiety, by reducing high states physiological arousal such as increased heart rate.
- ESAs can help establish connection with others through increased social interaction.
- ESAs act as a buffer in social settings and help people that might otherwise feel uncomfortable.
- Looking after and being responsible for ESAs can build independence and increase feelings of control.
Registering Your Emotional Support Animal Easily
Any breed can qualify as an ESA. Labradors and golden retrievers are particularly common breeds given their playful and affectionate nature. German Shepherds are also extremely common ESAs and smaller dogs such as Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, Corgis and Pomeranians are often registered as ESAs as well.
The first step in qualifying for an ESA for anxiety or depression is to consult with a mental health professional locally or , as you will require a letter confirming your need for an ESA.
The second step is registering your ESA so that you can demonstrate to third parties that your dog is a true and licensed ESA.
Register now to receive your uniquely identifiable ESA Identification and Certification.