What You Should Know About Emotional Support Animals For Mental Health

emotional support animalsInteracting with animals is widely thought to be beneficial for our mental health and well-being. While not everyone is a fan of our furry friends, many people notice a positive impact on the way they feel after engaging with animals such as dogs and cats. If you’re considering getting an emotional support animal in Clearwater, FL, to help boost your mental health and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, here are some of the things you should know.

They Can Help to Relieve Anxiety
People with anxiety may notice that emotional support animals can make a particular difference in helping them deal with their symptoms. If you have a registered emotional support animal, you will be able to take them into situations where pets would not normally be allowed, such as the cabin of a plane or an exam room. For people who struggle with anxiety and don’t want to be alone in these stressful situations, emotional support animals can be critical to accomplishing important life events. The presence of an animal, particularly one with whom the owner has a strong bond, can help to reduce stress levels and decrease common symptoms of anxiety.

You’ll Need to Get Your Doctor’s Support
To get an emotional support animal, you will need the support and backing of your doctor or medical professional. In most cases, you will need to show a formal letter from a medical professional that recommends an emotional support animal in order to support a health-related condition.

In the United States, people with emotional support animals can take their pets on a plane or have them at home regardless of the landlord’s policies or preferences. You can find out more about the regulations that apply and the protection offered for people with emotional support animals under the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.

They Can Offer Companionship
People with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety may feel lonely and isolated. It can be difficult for many people battling the symptoms of anxiety to get the support they need and feel like they can tackle complicated social situations. This can result in further isolation and loneliness, which becomes more difficult to address as time goes by.

Emotional support animals, while not a substitute for human companionship, can help people to feel like they are not alone during difficult situations. Your emotional support animal will stay with you through difficult times, and even if you don’t feel like talking, they will still be by your side. This feeling of companionship and friendship can give people help with anxiety and ultimately support them in overcoming many of the symptoms and impacts of mental health conditions.

They Don’t Need Formal Training
While some emotional support animals may have had training, it is not a requirement. This means that it is often easier to find an emotional support animal than it is to find other forms of support animals that help with physical conditions like hearing or sight loss. Because your emotional support animal is unlikely to have been given any training, it’s important to consider the type of pet you want. Dogs such as Labradors and retrievers often make great emotional support animals due to their calm and attentive nature and willingness to spend long periods in social settings with humans.

Need to Find Support for Your Mental Health?
People looking for ways to support or boost their mental health can explore emotional support animals and other common treatments for anxiety, such as therapy. TMS Advantage Clearwater offers help with anxiety and other forms of support for mental health.

Picture Credit: Freepik

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