Reduce Your Anxiety with an Emotional Support Animal
The difference between managing your anxiety and worsening it could be as simple as owning a pet. An emotional support animal (ESA) provides support for a variety of emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The animal will simply provide you with comfort when it senses you are in distress. Many Americans have been able to overcome stress and anxiety thanks to emotional support animals.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
An ESA is an animal whose very presence alleviates the psychological or emotional symptoms that are associated with a mental disorder. When this animal is near you, it can sense your mood – something that even untrained animals can do – and soothe you. Your ESA will act as a constant companion and friend, helping you to cope with your emotional issues.
Thanks to these animals, people dealing with anxiety and PTSD have an easier time coping with day-to-day issues. ESA animals do not need to undergo the excessive training that working dogs endure. Your emotional support animal will simply calm you down when in anxiety-provoking situations.
Psychiatric Support vs. Emotional Support Animals
In some cases, your anxiety disorder might be so bad that it interferes with your survival. Such cases do not just need an ESA. If your anxiety is that bad, you need a psychiatric support animal (PSA), which has better training and more privileges than an ESA. Moreover, a PSA can perform many tasks that are necessary for the survival of their handlers.
The tasks that a psychiatric support animal performs include:
Finding a place or person – PSAs are trained to navigate crowded areas with their scents to help you find an exit or family member when you have a panic attack.
Bringing help – when you are having a panic attack, your PSA will help you to find help once you give it a signal.
Searching rooms – if your anxiety involves entering a business place or home for fear of an attack, your support animal will search rooms before you enter them and make a noise if they find a person inside.
Redirecting or interrupting – if you suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, your PSA will be able to recognize such behavior and redirect you to do other things.
The choice between an ESA and PSA is quite difficult. If you are wondering how to ask your doctor for an emotional support animal, you should take things one step at a time.
Your ESA Cannot Go Everywhere
Just like most regular service animals, ESAs are protected under the constitution. Seeing as the need for this animal is different than that for a full-fledged service dog, your ESA will not get the same permissions as a service dog. Although you can fly with your ESA in the cabin of an aircraft and live with it in no-pet housing, you cannot take it to non-pet friendly taxis, motels, buses, and markets.
How to Get an ESA Letter
Although taking your cat, dog, or guinea pig on flights sounds nice, it does not qualify you for an ESA letter. The emotional support animal program in the USA faces heavy scrutiny for letting dogs into places they should not be. For instance, if you have an ESA letter and try to convince a restaurant manager to let your dog in, you might face criticism.
Furthermore, people who are allergic to dogs might take issue with having an ESA close to them, leading to further disgruntlement. If an ESA is not necessary for the treatment of your anxiety, you should not insist on getting one. However, if you need more help, get a PSA.