Few people can simply shrug off the criticism and judgments of others. Most of us do not emerge from such an experience unscathed, but we are able to take what might help us from another’s words and move on. However, when you suffer from social anxiety disorder, such encounters, can be debilitating.

Can you get a service dog for social anxiety? Yes, you can. An emotional service dog can be a way to face the possibility of these interactions with courage.

Social anxiety disorder can include these symptoms:

  • A deep-seated fear of being embarrassed and even humiliated
  • Feeling overwhelmingly self-consciousness with others
  • Perceiving your actions as huge mistakes
  • Worrying to excess about social events in the future
  • Avoiding the possibility of social situations
  • Being afraid others will notice these feelings

Seven out of every 100 people suffer from social anxiety disorder. Sometimes, you may realize your feelings are out of proportion to a situation, but you still can’t get them under control by yourself. That’s where a social anxiety service dog can help.

A pet with a service animal registration could be the first major step toward overcoming social anxiety disorder, especially when combined with treatment by a medical professional.

When you obtain an emotional support animal (ESA) letter, you can take your pet with you into nearly every social situation. You will no longer be entering into a conversation or meeting another person or persons by yourself! You can lean on your social anxiety service dog for reassurance, confidence, and even distraction. Whenever someone approaches them with an animal, people nearly always focus on the animal first — leaving their owners feeling far less self-conscious.

Social anxiety disorder usually isn’t restricted to interactions with work colleagues or strangers. The disorder can be experienced with friends and family members, too. Fortunately, these will likely be the very people who will be the most positive with an emotional support animal.

Do service dogs help you with anxiety? Absolutely. An ESA dog is extremely helpful for people with social anxiety disorder. Dogs force us out of the house or apartment or other living facility and into the world because they require exercise to stay healthy. Sufferers of social anxiety disorder may want to start out taking their pet on a short walk in a familiar place, such as the neighborhood. A dog park also can be a great place to start, as everyone there has a common bond — they’re all dog lovers — and are open to conversation or not, as you prefer.

Can you guess what body part makes dogs especially suited to a social anxiety disorder sufferer? The eyes. When you are afraid of being embarrassed or are highly self-conscious, looking someone in the eye for longer than a second or two can be impossible. An emotional support dog will look into your eyes with nothing but love and gratitude. By practicing with your ESA dog, you will be taking the first step toward being able to look everyone in the eye.

Society anxiety disorder can keep you from creating a satisfying life. The loyal, loving company of an emotional support pet can turn your life in a new and positive direction. Can you get a service dog for social anxiety? You certainly can. Speak with your mental health professional to see if it’s the right step for you.