There are several benefits to having an emotional support animal. The animals are not only beneficial for the owner but also for those around them. Emotional support animals are known to provide comfort and affection towards their owners who are suffering from psychological or emotional disabilities. Unlike service dogs, they do not require any specialized training since they are there to offer support rather than perform a specific task.
What is an emotional support animal
An emotional support animal (ESA) is a pet like any other. Still, it brings comfort to its owner through its companionship and affection, much like how a man’s best friend is not just a friend but also a natural therapist when you are going through difficult times.
The process to obtain an ESA letter is pretty simple, and there are no special requirements. When writing the letter, your doctor needs to explain how an emotional support pet will benefit you on a regular basis. They should demonstrate that it will offer companionship and provide physical support through affection and close contact. The doctor’s letter should include your complete medical history and a diagnosis.
Once you receive your ESA letter or certification, you should contact your local government and let them know that you will be bringing an emotional support animal into your home. There are no laws that prevent you from doing so without any training certificate or license since the animal is there to provide therapeutic value to its owner.
The ESA letter of certification, however, does not include any additional privileges such as flying with your emotional support animal. In most cases, people who plan to fly with their emotional support animals have to buy a separate ticket for them as well as for their pets. The United States Department of Transportation has different regulations about flying with an ESA.
Mental Health Benefits of Emotional Support Animals
If you or someone you love is suffering from poor mental health and has recently sought treatment, they may have been diagnosed with the following conditions:
- Major depression, Bipolar disorder,
- Anxiety disorders like OCD,
- Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD),
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
These conditions can drastically affect your quality of life. Mental illness does not discriminate. It affects people of every race, religion, gender, and socio-economic background. While you can try to take care of your mental health, preventing these conditions isn’t always possible.
People with mental health disorders are often unable to cope without treatment, which can result in them withdrawing from family or peers, losing their jobs, or dropping out of school. Most people that have a mental illness also have fewer years of life expectancy than those who do not have one.
Although there is no known cure for mental health conditions, treatment is possible. It can help an individual minimize the symptoms of their illness so they can live a productive life. Treatments such as medication, counseling, and therapy can help manage mental health issues, making them easier to cope with. However, one of the most effective ways to treat many people’s mental illnesses is by using support animals.
The use of emotional support animals has become more popular in the past few years. Many individuals are understanding the benefits of animals for mental health. They offer companionship, care, and love.
Many organizations in the United States provide emotional support animals at no extra cost. The charities provide rescue animals for emotional support. If you think that you could benefit from an emotional support animal, speak with your doctor about it. They will diagnose you, and you may soon start enjoying the unconditional love and companionship of your favorite animal.