In a world where an increasing number of people are experiencing mental health issues, the importance of emotional support has become more evident than ever. Several countries and cities are witnessing a surge in mental health issues among the masses. For instance, Texas was recently rated as the worst state for mental health. It has the highest percentage of uninsured adults with any mental illness (21.5%) and adults unable to see a doctor due to cost (40.65%).
In such challenging times, emotional support animals (ESAs) offer hope for individuals struggling with feelings. They provide unconditional love and support without asking for much in return. So, if you are contemplating whether to get an emotional support animal, here are six compelling reasons why you should consider doing so:
Avoid Housing Restrictions
Many housing complexes impose restrictions or fees on having pets. However, having an official emotional support animal can provide a workaround. Unlike regular pets, ESAs have unique privileges that allow you to live with your pet anywhere, regardless of housing policies. But you cannot merely inform your landlord that your pet is an emotional support animal. You need a special letter from a licensed mental health professional to gain the benefits of an ESA, proving that the animal brings therapeutic benefits to you. So, get your ESA letter if you wish to live with your emotional support animal in Texas.
Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords can’t discriminate against those who rely on the emotional support provided by their animals. By recognizing ESAs as “assistive aids” rather than conventional pets, the act upholds the right of people with disabilities to keep emotional support animals, regardless of any “no pet” policies in place. The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that applies to every state, not only Texas. So, if you’re looking to secure an ESA letter, take the first step by visiting https://servicepets.com/state/texas-esa-letter/.
Dealing With Depression
Depression is more than mere feelings of sadness; it is a complex psychological disorder that affects a person’s entire outlook. An ESA can work wonders in providing comfort and aid to those battling depression.
Among ESAs, dogs are the most commonly owned and considered the best emotional support animal for depression. With their friendly and outgoing nature, golden retrievers and Labradors have been shown to offer remarkable relief to patients dealing with this condition.
A significant factor contributing to depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Interacting with pets (especially dogs) has been found to increase levels of dopamine and serotonin in our bodies. Researchers have also discovered that when dogs and humans interact, they both experience a surge in oxytocin, often called the “love hormone.” This boost in neurochemicals can have a profoundly positive impact on an individual’s mood and overall well-being.
Old Age Loneliness
When people get older, they may experience an “empty nest” feeling as their children move out, and they spend more and more time alone. This transition can lead to feelings of isolation and a loss of purpose, harming their mental health.
One powerful solution to combat old age loneliness is the companionship provided by an Emotional Support Animal. A pet can become more than just a companion; in many cases, they become one’s best friend. A survey of dog owners revealed that around 86% considered their dogs to be one of their closest friends. They even perceived their dogs to possess better qualities than most human friends, highlighting the profound bond humans can develop with animals.
In old age, when there are no job commitments or children to care for, a sense of purpose can diminish. However, taking responsibility for another living creature, like an ESA, can rekindle that sense of purpose. Caring for an animal gives individuals a renewed responsibility, giving them a reason to get out of bed each day and igniting a desire to carry on. Even animals that require minimal interaction, such as fish, can provide this benefit.
Social anxiety can be daunting. When you want to talk to people, the fear of not knowing what to say or being in unfamiliar social situations overwhelms you. In such cases, an ESA can be a game-changer.
ESAs can serve as the perfect icebreakers for their owners, making it easier to initiate conversations with others. For individuals experiencing social anxiety, a dog is the ideal ESA. Dogs require regular outdoor walks, so people with social phobias will have to go out to public areas with their canine companions. This routine helps reduce anxiety linked to social situations. And it encourages more interactions with unfamiliar people, providing valuable exposure and practice in social settings.
Moreover, an ESA can provide immense relief for those grappling with the stress of being in social situations where they don’t know anyone, such as traveling on the subway. Having a loyal companion by their side can significantly alleviate anxiety and create a sense of comfort and security.
If you are struggling with chronic stress or currently going through a challenging situation, such as the loss of a job or a breakup, an Emotional Support Animal can offer valuable support to help lower your stress levels.
ESAs have been shown to play a crucial role in reducing stress by positively influencing the body’s hormonal response. The major stress hormone in the body is cortisol, and studies have demonstrated that the presence of animals can help lower cortisol levels.
According to the WHO, a staggering 60 to 85% of people worldwide lead sedentary lifestyles, making it a serious yet inadequately addressed public health problem of our time. The consequences of a sedentary lifestyle are alarming, with insufficient physical activity linked to a 30% increased risk of all-cause mortality. It places sedentary behavior among the top 10 leading causes of death worldwide.
However, there is a potential solution to combat this sedentary epidemic – the companionship of an Emotional Support Animal. ESAs, particularly dogs, can play a vital role in promoting physical activity for people leading sedentary lifestyles. Dogs are active animals that require regular play and outdoor walks, encouraging their owners to engage in physical activity themselves.
A study published in the New York Times also found that dog owners were four times more likely than non-dog owners to meet the modern guidelines of a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week.
Emotional support animals have proven to be a valuable asset in enhancing the lives of individuals struggling with emotional and psychological challenges. But remember that getting an ESA is a significant decision and should be made after carefully considering one’s lifestyle, ability to care for an animal, and consultation with mental health professionals.