How Emotional Support Animals can Help with Mental Health

emotional support animal help mental health

An emotional support animal is a term used to describe animals that can provide comfort just by being with a person. Put otherwise, if you think you need some help with your mental health, an emotional support animal might be the right remedy for you. 

In the last few years, the number of emotional support animals in the US has exponentially grown in numbers. Whether society is ready to accept them or not, the fact is that a majority of Americans seek and demand the comfort offered by animals. 

So how far can an animal actually help to improve your health? 

Can Emotional Support Animals make a Difference?

Though the term emotional support animal might have been coined fairly recently, animals have always played a crucial role in offering companionship to their owners. Alongside the rising repute of ESAs, there is also mounting scientific evidence that animals can be therapeutic to humans. They make people feel more relaxed and less lonely. The mere presence of the pet can help humans experience a normalized heart rate and reduce blood pressure. 

The Human-Animal Bond Research Institute recently conducted a survey that further sheds light on the benefits of having a pet. Out of the 2000 respondents, 88% of pert owners report that doctors should recommend pets more to encourage healthier living. 

Other research materials point out that pet parents find themselves exercising more and finding a routine in their lives owing to pets. They also find happiness in focusing on someone else and sharing experiences. 

Moreover, a number of studies have also shown that interaction with dogs results in a surge of oxytocin, the hormone associate with a positive emotional state. In effect, pets can arguably contribute to the well being of owners, significantly improving mental health as well as helping with physical struggles. 

An emotional support animal’s constant presence could help nurture the positive impacts of the human-pet relationship. 

Considering this powerful impact on animals, it is no surprise that during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a steep rise in the sales of pets around the world. People were flocking to find the perfect furry or purry companion for their confinement days, to help cope with the anxiety and reduce stress. 

How to get an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support dog is not trained to offer any special care to their owners. In fact, all you need to consult a licensed therapist, and instead of writing you a prescription, they will recommend a pet. In other words, you get an ESA letter for yourself and not the animal. 

If you are looking for testimonials, the internet is full of them. From restaurants to colleges to workplaces, emotional support animals have gained immense popularity. 

Caring for pets and self-care can easily be linked. You take them out for walks, leave out of the house more often, and even might engage in more social interactions. There is no doubt that emotional support animals could bring more value and happiness to your life. The positive impact they add to the quality of life is simply not irreplaceable.

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⚠️ Liza is in training with WMHA and may not always provide the most accurate information.