Pet owners can attest to the unconditional love and delight that their animals provide. Even the most resilient person might fall in love with a furry friend right away. For this reason, a growing number of qualified mental health specialists now acknowledge the advantages of having emotional support animals.
Even well-known psychotherapist Sigmund Freud had experience with this kind of treatment. In fact, Jofi, his chow-chow dog, was frequently present during some of his patient’s therapy sessions.
Why so? because being around pets makes you feel happier. This explains why seeing a lovely puppy makes you feel tender and affectionate.
The purpose of this page is to explain how animals aid in mental wellbeing, who can benefit most from it, the science behind it, and the requirements for obtaining an emotional support animal.
Service animals vs. emotional support animals
What distinguishes a service animal from an emotional support animal, first of all? Although these two names are distinct, they are frequently used synonymously.
A trained dog that helps or guides a person with a disability is known as a service dog (physical, intellectual, sensory, or mental disability). Service dogs, also known as assistance animals, are trained to help people with impairments carry out daily chores and are permitted under the Americans With Disabilities Act to lead the blind. Service animals can be trained to do a variety of tasks, such as pushing the elevator button, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped objects, warning a person of noises, and even reminding their owner when it’s time to take their prescription.
Dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles can all be used as emotional support animals. Through companionship, an emotional support animal (ESA) has a therapeutic effect on its owner. People who are experiencing a psychiatric disease or mental health decline find comfort in the animal.
The Benefits of Emotional Support Animals for Mental Health
Due to the animal’s emotional support, mental health practitioners have observed significant changes in individuals with mental illnesses. The advantages of having an ESA for mental health are as follows:
They Offer Moral and Emotional Support
emotional assistance Owners with mental health concerns find solace in their pets, especially those who:
trauma-related stress disorder (PTSD)
specific phobias, such as aversion to heights and flying
They Aid in Neurotransmitter Production
According to studies, dogs in particular assist people in making the neurotransmitters that make them joyful. Dopamine-producing neurochemicals in the brain are increased in dogs. This neurochemical is linked to feelings of affection, kinship, and pleasure. According to research, pet owners experience feelings of love and joy when they gaze into their dogs’ eyes.
Your ability to love grows and you feel less melancholy when you care for a pet or another living thing. When an animal is around, lonely people feel more secure and cherished. There are paw parents and fur babies for a reason—love is a big part of pet owners’ bond.
They Reduce Stress on Planes
As was already noted, ESAs can assist those who suffer from particular phobias, such as aerophobia (fear of flying in airplanes). The feeling of flying can be agonizing for some people. A true disorder is called aerophobia. Because of this, several airlines are now allowing passengers who are afraid of flying to bring their pets along.
An emotional support animal can help by easing anxiety throughout the travel. Aerophobic individuals may experience overwhelming feelings during a flight, and embracing or holding their pet may help them feel less anxious. Consider using an ESA if flying makes you nervous.
They Display Unwavering Love
Even animals have the ability to love and be loved. Animals truly do love us without conditions. People experiencing mental health deterioration or a disease like sadness or bereavement receive their unconditional affection. A person will feel cherished and be able to recover from a trying emotional event because to the unconditional love these animals offer.
A person’s general mental health might significantly improve when they feel loved. A person needs to do this in order to re-engage with those around them, build loving relationships, and have deeper connections with their loved ones.
Animal therapy complements other types of treatment.
Emotional support animals aid in the treatment of mental illness, and therapists and counselors are more aware of this. It’s comparable to telling patients to exercise and eat well in order to manage the signs of a mental health issue or prevent depression.
Cognitive behavioral treatment is used with ESAs (CBT). Additionally, pets are used in mindfulness exercises, to aid with patients’ sense of purpose, to motivate owners to spend more time outside (by taking their dog for walks), and to make people feel protected during extremely stressful situations. When you include an ESA in your treatment plan, regardless of the therapeutic approach that is most effective for you, you will discover the necessary emotional sanctuary.
They Can Aid In Calming Down Strong Feelings
Emotional support animals can aid people in calming down when going through difficult moments. Pet owners claim that when they arrive home and see their animals, they feel happier and more energetic after a difficult day at work. They serve as natural stress relievers, much like kids.
The time you spend bonding with your pet will always be enjoyable, no matter how fearful or frightened you are. You quickly forget all the strong feelings you had before spending time with your pet when they do goofy and adorable things.
They Offer Social Assistance
Most households view their pets as members of the family. Why? despite the fact that they are animals, animals offer social assistance.
In order to support their emotional and mental health, each person requires a social companion. Having an ESA nearby makes you feel like you have a friend when you’re lonely and live alone. Owning a pet, especially a dog, motivates you to spend time outside and go for walks or runs. All of these are beneficial to your mental health.
Please feel free to contact me for any and all mental health needs!