Everyone knows about service animals for folks with physical challenges, but did you know that there are support animals for those who suffer from depression and anxiety? It’s true! They’re called Emotional Support Animals or ESAs. ESAs can be helpful with emotional and anxiety disorders. Unlike “seeing-eye” dogs, Emotional Support Animals don’t require specialized training. There are, however, highly trained animals that specialize in supporting people with PTSD, autism and other problems.
People suffering from depression and anxiety disorders have physical and emotional symptoms that may respond well to Emotional Support Animals. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence demonstrating how helpful ESAs can be.
There may be some benefits to getting your pet established as an ESA other than just making you feel better. It may allow you to keep an apartment that otherwise doesn’t allow animals. This designation of ESA may allow your animal to accompany you on an airline flight, at your workplace, or grocery shopping.
In order to get a pet established as an Emotional Support Animal, you need to have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, depression, or some other emotional issue. Next, a physician, psychologist or psychiatrist needs to determine that your pet is helping ease the symptoms of the diagnosed condition. Lastly, an official letter is written designating your cuddly companion as an ESA.
Emotional Support Animals are a great way to help us feel better mentally and emotionally, providing love and comfort when we need it most. They are not a replacement for talking with a licensed therapist or meeting with some other mental health professional. Talk with your doctor to see if an Emotional Support Animal would be a good fit for you!
Do you have an Emotional Support Animal? How has it helped you? Tell us your experiences with ESAs in the comments section below!
Hello, my name is Laurie Barton and I offer counseling services in Stafford, Virginia. This blog aims to be a resource for those interested in the world of therapy. If you're in the Stafford area and wish to set up a safe and confidential consultation, feel free to give me a call or send me an email.
- Phone: (540) 226-1498
- Fax: (540) 659-3288