Ever wondered what Emotional Support Animals have to do with anxiety? Well for starters, anxiety falls into the category of the many qualifying mental disorders that can be coped with and treated by having an Emotional Support Animal physically by yourself. But we at Emotional Pet Support decided to write a comprehensive blog about this topic just for you:
What Feeling Is This?
Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone feels from time to time. Many people feel it on a daily basis. Students feel it before taking a big test, some feel it simply because of work, and others feel it by just making an important life decision – like moving to live somewhere else or marriage. Many people believe that this mental feeling is the same thing as just being afraid, but it really isn’t.
So is Anxiety-like Fear?
No. Fear is a response to a real or perceived immediate threat. Anxiety is the expectation of future threat and a feeling of uneasiness and worry. This is usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing. Its symptoms include muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue, and problems with concentration. Someone who feels anxiety all the time might suffer from an anxiety disorder. This is where an emotional support dog or an emotional support cat might help a person with anxiety calm down.
What are the Types of Anxiety?
As we mentioned above, everyone feels anxious from time to time because of some upcoming future event, but an Anxiety Disorder is different. These are mental disorders that can cause so much stress that the person cannot function normally throughout their everyday life. There are many disorders of this kind that people can suffer from including Panic Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder just to name a couple.
Different Types of Related Disorders
A panic disorder is a condition where people have a sudden strike of terror which is usually followed by a panic attack which includes chest pains, sweating, and the general feeling like you’re going crazy. Social Anxiety Disorder is a notorious social phobia where a person is overly self-conscious about social situations. The common worry with this disorder is a feeling of not-fitting-in, which would lead to ridicule.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
Some general symptoms include, but are not limited to :
- Heart palpitations
- Problems sleeping
- The feeling of panic or unease
- Muscle tension
- Cold or sweaty hands or feet
- Dry mouth
- Inability to stay calm
- Shortness of breath
What is a Companion Dog for Anxiety?
A companion dog is also referred to as an emotional support animal or ESA. As most dog owners already know, dogs are wonderful emotional support animals. An emotional support animal is defined as an animal that, just by physically being near their owner, mitigates the emotional or psychological symptoms associated with an owner’s condition or disorder. An emotional support dog needs no special training, unlike a therapy or service animal. All that is needed for an ESA is a prescription letter from a licensed mental health professional.
How does a Companion Dog Help?
Companion dogs help people cope with anxiety in many different ways. For instance, they are used for flying. Some people get this feeling while flying is a real problem for a lot of people. Did you know that more than 25 million people in the United States have anxiety or an anxiety disorder, and flying brings out this disorder in a large amount of those people? The Air Carrier Access Act allows you to take your dog as an emotional support animal with you on a flight, as long as you have an official prescription letter from a licensed medical or mental health professional. Most airlines need an advance notice that you’re bringing an emotional support animal with you, so check with your carrier before booking your flight.
Conclusion on Companion Dogs for Anxiety
If you have any more questions on the process of finding or making your dog an emotional support animal, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions. If you need help picking out the right dog breed for you, please visit our link on top 10 dog breeds for companion animals or if you’re a cat person, you can visit our top 10 cat breeds for emotional support cats. However, if you need help picking the right cat breed, we have another article about the top cat breeds for emotional support animals!
Remember, the first step in getting an emotional support dog or emotional support cat for your mental disorder is by taking our quick and easy 1-minute FREE questionnaire to see if you qualify for an emotional support animal.