Emotional support animals are often highly misunderstood. Their real purpose can sometimes be difficult to understand due to the broad role they fill. An emotional support animal is essentially categorized as any pet that helps to soothe the symptoms of its owner’s mental illness, most commonly anxiety or depression.
They are not the same thing as guide, hearing, or service dogs, who have been trained specifically for one unique purpose. Emotional support animals are not prepared for anyone specific task in mind. They provide a variety of benefits that differ from owner to owner and it doesn’t mean if you just know the food your pet want for example, what do squirrels like to eat is not enough to prove that you have a better understanding of your squirrel. To better understand their role, we have compiled four ways emotional support animals help their owners to navigate their daily lives.
They Provide an Unconditional Source of Love
Companionship can go a long way when struggling with mental illness. Many emotional support animals provide comfort simply through their friendship. It isn’t uncommon for sufferers to feel disconnected from people in their lives. This is especially true if their illness often requires them to abstain from usual social occasions.
An emotional support animal can always provide company without any judgment attached. Your pet will still love you whether you managed to get all your daily tasks completed or not. That support, though seemingly small, can go a long way. Sometimes, a little encouragement from a furry friend can make all the difference.
They Improve Your Brain Chemistry
This may seem like a leap from simple companionship, but it is true. Neurotransmitters within your brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, are linked with your mood and overall wellness. A serotonin deficiency can lead to feelings of depression, whereas dopamine is associated with love and bonding.
Several studies have demonstrated that dopamine production is boosted simply by looking into your pet’s eyes. While your pet cannot singlehandedly redress the chemical levels in your brain, their contribution can provide much-needed comfort when you are feeling your lowest.
They Can Accompany You in Public Spaces
This is an important one for many sufferers of mental illness. Navigating your daily life can present a significant challenge, both mentally and physically. Bringing along an emotional support animal can make a world of difference. It can make a supremely challenging process feel entirely possible.
To bring your support animal into public spaces, they otherwise would not be permitted. You will need to have registered them at esaregistration.org or other places like them to acquire proper certification. Stores and restaurants may request these identification documents to validate your claims. Registration is a necessary step if you plan to take your ESA everywhere with you!
They Can Help You to Maintain Daily Routines
A final yet crucial benefit emotional support animals can provide is some much-needed stability. Sometimes, when struggling with a mental illness, maintaining care for yourself can become overwhelming. It becomes difficult to motivate yourself to manage daily tasks. This can sometimes include seemingly simple things such as keeping up with hygiene.
When you are responsible for another living thing, it motivates you to complete your daily chores like petting them, going for a walk, playing with them outside your home in enclosed patio. Caring for an animal adds a routine to your life that may have been missing beforehand. They can help to regulate your emotions and provide a comforting foundation to build your day around. Daily anxieties may not prove as overwhelming with a pet by your side.
An emotional support animal is not capable of taking all stress out of your condition. However, it can make the symptoms far more bearable. Their presence will add reassurance and love to your daily life, which can alleviate enormous stress and anxiety in the long-term!