Do you know what conditions qualify for an ESA evaluation letter in 2021? Many people hope to qualify for an ESA, but to know if you’re eligible, you first need to know which disabilities qualify.
Generally, ESAs, or emotional support animals, provide support and companionship to both adults and children with a wide range of illnesses and disorders that relate to mental illness. Once your pet is recognized as an ESA, you can take it with you to places you couldn’t take a “regular” pet, such as on a plane or into the office each day.
To help you learn more about what disorders qualify you as an emotional support animal owner, here is our guide to some of the most common conditions that are eligible.
Anxiety and Depression
Some of the most common reasons for having an ESA animal are anxiety and depression. These mental health conditions can be debilitating, making it hard to function, go to work, study, or live a normal life. For many patients struggling with anxiety and depression, medication and therapy can help, but so can the support of an ESA.
Anxiety and depression can affect everyone differently. If you’re not feeling right, consider talking to your doctor to see if anxiety or depression might be the reason.
ESAs are amazing for anxiety, but some people might be worried about pet allergies—luckily, there are a number of hypoallergenic dog breeds that make fantastic ESAs.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation anxiety disorder can affect anyone, but children and teens are particularly prone to it. For patients with separation anxiety disorder, it can be extremely traumatic to leave home, be away from loved ones, or to visit unfamiliar places.
For these patients, an ESA can be a life-changing companion, as the constant presence of the animal provides familiarity and comfort, which can make it easier to be in a new environment.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is another common condition that can qualify patients for an ESA. With this disorder, patients experience uncontrollable thoughts and behaviors that can consume daily life.
The condition can be managed with both medication and therapy, but the help of an ESA can also make a big difference. When patients are going through a challenging episode of anxiety, fear, or upsetting thoughts, the calming nature of an ESA can make it easier for them to cope.
For autistic children or adults, learning, communicating, and interacting with others can be harder than it is for others. For autistic patients or those with Asperger’s syndrome, an ESA can make it easier to manage in stressful situations, such as meeting new people, moving to a new apartment, or starting a new job.
You don’t need a formal diagnosis of autism to qualify for an ESA.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention deficit disorder, or ADHD, makes it difficult for patients to stay focused, as they often feel hyperactive, impulsive, and struggle to complete tasks. Both medication and ESAs can help ADHD patients, as pets can help with relieving stress, managing time and developing daily routines.
Daily care and exercise for the ESA are also great for both the patient and the ESA, as exercise can be helpful for combating fidgeting and hyperactivity.
PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. While it’s a common disorder in veterans who’ve seen the horrors of war, it can impact anyone who’s lived through a traumatic event, like a car accident or abuse. PTSD sufferers frequently suffer from flashbacks, nightmares, and other uncomfortable experiences.
Because PTSD symptoms can be triggered at any time, living with the disorder is incredibly challenging. ESA animals are fantastic at helping PTSD patients feel safe and comforted, providing them with love and reassurance when an episode occurs.
For patients with bipolar disorder, it can be tough to manage the mood swings from depression up to manic excitement. If you’ve been diagnosed as bipolar, you might be successfully managing with the help of medication, but an ESA can also be an asset.
In the low periods of bipolar disorder, patients might feel sad, lonely, and depressed, especially if they live alone. In these times, the companionship of an ESA can make a huge difference. In manic periods, an ESA is also helpful, providing the patient with calming energy in high-stress times.
Many of us experience stress on occasion, but occasionally, it can feel like it’s never going away – this is known as chronic stress. Chronic stress is long-term and can impact your mental health, blood pressure, appetite, and sleep. It can be caused by a range of things including work, family issues, pressure to do well in school, or pre-existing health conditions.
Patients with chronic stress can qualify for an ESA. Animals have an innate inability to help us feel calm, which can relieve stress symptoms and help patients feel happier and more relaxed.
How do I get ESA certified?
Now that you know more about what disabilities qualify for an emotional support animal, you might be wondering how you can help your pet become an ESA.
First, you’ll need a letter from a medical professional, certifying that you qualify for an ESA. You’ll want to find a professional that’s familiar with all of the ESA letter requirements, giving you the best chance of approval. They’ll ask you a series of questions to see if you qualify, with the process only taking a few minutes.
Living with mental health conditions can be tough, but the care, love, and support of an ESA can make a world of difference, so get your pet certified today.