What Are An Emotional Support Animal And Its Benefits
An emotional support animal is someone who will be your faithful buddy and may also accompany you on recreational activities. The animal brings joy and company to people suffering from emotional and mental illnesses. The interaction between animals and humans has existed for a very long time. Animals have been companions and family members since ancient times. The concept of emotional support animals has been all over the news recently. In this article, we will try to go deep into the topic and make you comprehend every concept associated with it.
What is an emotional support animal?
An emotional support animal, according to the United States Department of Housing and Development, is an animal that provides therapeutic value, such as friendship, companionship, unconditional love, and comfort, to a person with mental health and psychiatric condition such as depression, anxiety, or some serious mental condition. Here is the ultimate guide if you are thinking about getting ESA documentation online. Remember that emotional support animals are not explicitly trained to aid individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, emotional support animals are not limited to dogs.
It is important to note that an emotional support animal does not do any specific tasks. Still, its presence alleviates the symptoms connected with a person suffering from a significant mental health problem. To be eligible for a legal emotional support animal, a person must be diagnosed with a qualifying mental or psychiatric disability by a certified health practitioner. The doctor must format it properly.
Benefits of an emotional support animal
- Help with Anxiety
One of the many conditions an emotional support animal (ESA) can help with is anxiety. People suffering from anxiety can benefit significantly from ESA. A trained emotional support animal is not required to perform specific activities. ESA assists in offering a calming and soothing presence and affection through snuggling and unconditional love. When you are worried, it also distracts you from worrying thoughts, encouraging healthy activities such as outdoor walking. Many people believe that they can improve their ability to cope with depression and anxiety. They experience less anxiety when they are responsible for feeding, caring for, and looking after the ESA daily as it releases feel-good chemicals. Moreover, you can choose any animal, and it can be a cat, a dog, or any other animal you like.
- Produce neurotransmitters
According to research, emotional support animals aid in producing neurotransmitters in the brain. Animals, particularly dogs, enhance their neurochemical dopamine levels. This neurochemical is linked to feelings of love, bonding, and pleasure. According to studies, when ESA owners look into their animal’s eyes, they feel love and compassion. The animals create a favorable environment for them, significantly improving their mental state. Your capacity to love grows when you care for others, such as a pet. You are emotionally safer, and you are less lonely and stressed. Nowadays, many individuals are adopting pets and showering them with unconditional love, which helps them forget their grief.
- Increases the level of oxytocin
Many studies have been undertaken on animal and human companionship, and many of them have indicated that it boosts the level of a pituitary hormone called oxytocin. It is also known as the love hormone since it lowers blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate while also lowering the stress hormone cortisol. When we express our love for our pets, oxytocin levels rise significantly. Even a 10-minute interaction with your pet has been found in studies to enhance oxytocin levels while decreasing cortisol levels.
- Provide Unconditional Love
The truth is that animals sense love and reciprocate it. They are capable of responding with unconditional affection. Even if you are a person who is impossible to love or unable to feel any happy emotions. People recover from emotional pain thanks to this unconditional affection. Feeling loved has a significant impact on human health. This is also vital for re-engaging with the people around them, forming caring relationships, and having more meaningful relationships with their loved ones.
- Fights Depression
Emotional support animals help in treating depression on several levels, including physiological, sociological, and psychological well-being. In a nutshell, ESA aids in treating depression by providing companionship and reassurance. ESA improves the physical signs of depression, such as anxiety and hyperarousal. They also aid in the formation of social relationships and ties. Animals also serve as a social buffer for socially awkward people. Furthermore, they promote social contact and network building, which protects you from the low mood and sadness linked with depression. Caring for ESA also increases people’s self-efficacy.
- In line with other treatment
Today, many therapists and doctors recognize that emotional support animals can help with different types of mental health therapies. It is similar to counseling patients to consume nutritious foods and live a healthy lifestyle to improve their mental health. ESA also helps with cognitive behavioral therapy. Not only are pets used for mindfulness practices, but they are also used to encourage patients to find the meaning of life and to urge individuals to spend time outside their four walls and in contact with nature. Any therapy you choose will work wonderfully for you if you try to incorporate the ESA.
- It helps in managing intense emotions.
During rough and dark times, ESA helps people to stabilize their intense emotions. Many pet owners say that when they have a rough day at work or come back home and see that sparkle in the eyes of their ESA, they feel immensely happy. ESA is like patients’ children, who also apparently become their stress busters. No matter how scared or anxious you feel, you will get much better when you contact other people while taking your dog out for a walk. When your pet does stupid and cute things, you forget about all the deep feelings you were experiencing before spending time with your pet.
Having an Emotional Support Animal is not a new trend that will go away after a period of time, but it has become the reason for many people’s lives. Some people are still perplexed as to how an animal can have such a profound impact on someone’s life. But animals are indeed the only beings in the world who love completely and without limit, which helps you grow as a person.