Article by Brad Smith
Edit and post design by Christy Zigweid
Photo by thatsphotography via Pixabay made using @WordSwagApp
Emotional support animals offer therapeutic and healing benefits to their owners/handlers by reducing symptoms of emotional or mental illness. An ESA can typically be a dog or cat, but there are many kinds of animals that may also qualify to be emotional support animals. Under American regulations, an ESA is not categorized as a service animal. So, if you pass off your ESA as a service animal, it is a federal offense. The American Pet Products Association reveals that more than 78 million American households own a pet.
Emotional support animals play a crucial role in working with patients who are victims of depression, irrespective of their age, professional and cultural background. Over the last couple of decades, mental health professionals have been highlighting the importance and healing benefits of companionship.
Research has shown that a solid relationship exists between improved outcomes within mood disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and emotional support animals. The researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute discovered that keeping pets offers an opportunity to connect with nature in a unique way. Adults (sometimes children) who are combating the negative symptoms of depression and mental illnesses were found to improve their mental health with pets (often therapy animals), These animals helped boost self-confidence and mental health.
How Does It Help?
Being alone can be scary for people who are depressed or stressed out. Having a pet around helps them deal with loneliness issues easier as they have someone to take care of. All pets can be emotional support animals, provided they are safe for the patient and the people around him.
Emotional support animals help to clear the minds of depression victims who may find it difficult to focus on a specific task. People who are struggling hard to emerge out of difficult situations believe that life is too hard and have issues trusting people. Nurturing and feeding a pet as well as touching your emotional support animals has soothing effects on a troubled mind. People learn to value themselves as there is someone who looks forward to them for support and love.
Are You Allowed To Keep An ESA At Home?
People who suffer from any kind of anxiety or depression are allowed to keep an emotional support animal (ESA) with them 24/7 even if their landlord has a ‘no pets’ policy. Medical experts have categorized emotional support animals as a companion animal that offers several healing benefits and eases several disability symptoms of your. Many people are still unaware of the fact that depression and anxiety are counted as disabilities.
Under the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 and Rehabilitation Act of 1873, a landlord cannot discriminate against a disabled person in housing and has to make a reasonable accommodation, if required. Simply put, people who have a medical certificate or letter from their doctor that confirms the need for having an emotional support animal, your landlord must allow you to have a pet. If you're living in an apartment building which allows pets, you may still need to show your ESA information to the landlord so he does not charge you extra.
Although cats and dogs have always been popular choices for emotional support animals, we have witnessed several unique animals qualifying for the role. It is not uncommon to see rabbits, pigs, goldfish, and even snakes to help people overcome their depression. If you want to keep a cat, make sure it is neutered and declawed. If it is a dog, choose a breed that is known for providing maximum love and affection. It might also be a good idea to register your ESA on an emotional support animal registry website or registry.
About the Author
Brad Smith is an avid animal lover who loves developing thought providing content for online readers. He currently writes for Therapy Pet - interact with them on their Facebook page.
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