What Are the Benefits of Emotional Support Animals?

An emotional support animal commonly referred to as an ESA or a comfort animal is now considered an effective part of a bigger treatment plan. They work as therapy animals to help overcome issues like anxiety, loneliness, depression, and more.

Many people don’t realize that emotional support animals do not have any special training to take on tasks that help individuals with disabilities. Because of this, they aren’t considered “service animals.”

While this is true, they still offer an array of benefits. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of emotional support animals and how getting an emotional support animal may improve your life.

Table of Contents

Increase The Production Of Neurotransmitters

You may be prescribed antidepressants to help increase your serotonin levels. However, being around dogs can actually increase dopamine levels and other neurochemicals related to bonding and love.

Dopamine (this is a neurotransmitter that helps you feel pleasure) is increased when you look into your dog’s eyes.

Doing this is actually a double win. You don’t feel as depressed, and your ability and capacity to care for and love someone else is increased.

If someone is lonely, then having the best emotional support animal around can be extremely beneficial. This is why ESAs are commonly used in elderly care facilities and similar settings.

Anxiety Reduction

Are you getting on a plane? If so, it isn’t unusual to have some anxiety.

If you get anxious while flying, having your ESA on board with you can provide several benefits.

It’s worth mentioning that not everyone is traveling to go on vacation. Some have to fly to see family, go to the doctor, or for work projects. With an ESA, flight-related anxiety can be reduced and, in some cases, completely eliminated.

While flying, you will clearly see the emotional support animal benefits. They can focus on their animal rather than the flight or other things going on around them.

Remember, to fly with your ESA; it may be necessary to acquire ESA letters; however, this varies based on what airline you are using.

Unconditional Love

With an ESA, it is possible for anyone to feel the love that may be impossible to find elsewhere. Your emotional support animal will provide unconditional love and a feeling of connectedness.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that if you have an ESA, you are trying to avoid others or unable to connect with others. It just offers those with a mental health concern to get back on their feet.

ESAs will help anyone who feels alone and help them improve their life in many ways.

If you have a job caring for the elderly, introducing an ESA to the setting may be extremely beneficial. Doing so will help improve an older adult’s mental health while reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other conditions.

Work Alongside Other Treatments

It does not just have an ESA that will provide benefits. It is possible to integrate the ESA into different treatment models. These models are going to provide more relief.

It is worth noting that emotional support animals are not a treatment alone. They should be used with other types of cognitive-behavioral treatment to help alleviate symptoms and help you live the life you want.

No matter the type of therapy that works for you, including the ESA in your treatment plan, may be possible.

Pets can take part in mindfulness techniques that will help you ground yourself to the present moment. One example is the Trauma Resiliency Model.

With this, you use the ESA as a resource if you need to restore balance after an emotional low or high.

Regulate Daily Feelings

If you have a diagnosis, managing day-to-day affairs are just as important as dealing with a set moment.

Each day, your ESA is there to help you regulate your emotions. Research shows how an animal’s presence and petting an animal reduces anxiety, improves mood, and regulates physiological arousal.

Since the animal is providing attention when demanded, an unconditional connection no matter the time of day, and ongoing presence, it’s possible for you to stabilize in their presence.

Getting An ESA

If you believe that you may benefit from an emotional support animal, the first step is to schedule an appointment with a mental health professional. They can assess your need for this ESA.

After seeing a doctor and receiving professional care, they will fill out and file the paperwork for you to provide to the necessary entities. These are places where you would want to have your ESA.

The ESA documentation you receive will allow you to have your animal with you in your home (if pets aren’t typically allowed), on flights, in stores, and in other locations.

Now You Know The Benefits Of Emotional Support Animals

As you can see, there are more than a few benefits of emotional support animals. While this is true, it is still important to speak to a mental health professional to determine if this is something that would benefit you.

Even those who only suffer from slight anxiety may benefit from an ESA. Because of this, it is worth looking into it for yourself and your mental health.

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