Also referred to as comfort animals, emotional support animals offer therapeutic benefit in the form of emotional support, companionship and unconditional love to an individual experiencing an emotional impairment or psychiatric disability. The constant company, affection and increased activity offered by these animals help reduce stress levels and stimulate mental activity.
Emotional support animals, unlike service animals, do not have to be professionally trained but they must be housebroken and well-behaved, especially in public places. They are not required by the law to wear a tag, but should preferably wear one to highlight their status as an emotional support animal.
There are countless benefits of having an emotional support animal for improved mental and physical health. People who handle emotional support animals tend to be loyal, happier, and more active. Pets offer us
constant support and are always there to snuggle regardless of our mistakes and failures in life.
A good cuddling session with Fido can provide you a good boost of mental energy, hence reducing your feeling of loneliness. Stroking and touching a living thing is proven to release dopamine (a neurotransmitter responsible for managing the brain’s reward and pleasure cores), serotonin (a chemical that maintains a mood balance), and a decrease in the level of cortisol (a stress hormone), high levels of which can negatively impact the immune system.
The American Heart Association (AHA) has proven a strong link between a reduced risk of heart diseases and having a pet (especially dogs). People who own ESAs have a better chance of living a longer and healthier life with fewer heart complications, lower levels of blood pressure and more balanced triglycerides levels. This improved health positively impacts other aspects of life, such as office work, general mood and behavior, and personal life. The more physically active a person is, the more likely he is to feel good in his skin and be more confident.
Research suggests that touching and stroking an animal lowers stress levels. The impact of gently petting an animal has a calming effect on the animal itself as their heart beat slows down. Health experts explain that the simple act of stroking an animal can make an individual’s blood pressure levels decrease considerably. A balanced blood pressure level ensures a calm and composed approach to life, which in turn eliminates room for stress, depression and low self-esteem.
An emotional support animal, such as a cat, dog, a guinea pig, or any other animal, can assist people who are socially awkward and withdrawn. Animals act as natural icebreakers as they make a great topic of conversation. Taking your pet out for a walk or any other activity can spark friendships that may go a long way.
There are numerous online forums and communities where people share their experiences with each other and form friendships. This helps extend their social circle and helps overcome problems like social anxiety and introversion. This can, in turn, lift spirits, reduce the risk of depression, and boost self-confidence.
Emotional support animals act as a great source of companionship for people who have lost a loved one or are generally lonely in life. These animals, with their unconditional love and support, help people to emotionally maintain their sanity and prevent them from disappearing in
their dark thoughts. ESAs help combat suicidal tendencies, temptation to harm oneself and negative thoughts in general by distracting their owners and bringing them a world of love and goofiness.