Owning a pet can be an immensely rewarding experience — particularly if you struggle with a mental health issue. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, have struggled with depression, or are working through some prior trauma, an emotional support animal can be an immensely important addition to your family unit. Of course, there are a lot of benefits of certification for an ESA. For example, you won’t ever be denied housing due to your emotional support dog or your therapy cat for depression. You’ll also be allowed to bring your furry friend with you when you travel, as long as you have proof of an approved ESA application. But there are also some hidden benefits to certification for ESAs. If you bring an emotional support animal into your life, you’ll also experience the following.
Mental health issues can be incredibly isolating. It’s easy to feel completely alone in the world when your disorder is difficult for other people to understand. But with an ESA, you’ll never feel alone. One of the benefits of certification for ESAs is that you can always keep your dog, cat, or other creature by your side. This can drastically reduce feelings of loneliness and despair, which is extremely important when pursuing treatment for mental health conditions. Approximately 45% of U.S. dogs sleep in their owner’s bed — and you can have confidence that you won’t ever be required to tie your dog up outside during waking hours, either.
Improved Healthy Coping Skills
The presence of your ESA will often bring about feelings of calm. But it’s also probable that by working with your ESA, you’ll come to adopt healthy coping mechanisms that can allow you to flourish (even without any animal intervention). Your emotional support animal can provide a source of healthy distraction, help you in identifying and regulating your feelings on a regular basis, and provide a sense of stability in more intense situations. When support animals for PTSD sufferers are used, they can guide the owner through what they’re experiencing on an emotional level and actually teach them better ways to handle a stressful situation. In that sense, your ESA can act as one component of treatment and living, but you won’t be completely dependent on them to provide your entire system of emotional support.
Increased Natural Mood Stabilization
Did you know there are actually chemical benefits of certification for ESAs? Your emotional support level can actually have an impact on the neurotransmitters produced by your body. That, in turn, can literally change the way you feel in a certain situation. Studies have actually found that the production of a neurotransmitter called dopamine (which is associated with feelings of pleasure) increases when you look into your dog’s eyes. In short, connecting with your ESA will allow you to feel love and be loved, providing a natural way to stabilize your moods in a fashion that doesn’t require medication. That said, ESAs are often used in conjunction with other forms of therapeutic treatment, which may include medications that aim to correct chemical imbalances. While your ESA can make a lot of improvements in your life, having an emotional support dog may not necessarily negate your medical need for other therapeutic methods.
You may already be familiar with the tactile benefits of certification for your emotional support animal, such as permission to fly with your dog or to prevent housing discrimination. But the unexpected emotional benefits are often just as (or more) important. To learn more about obtaining an ESA certification for your animal, please contact us today.