The conversation around mental health has become far more open and honest in the past decade, and this is undoubtedly a good thing, as people now feel more comfortable speaking about their own struggles in public, rather than bottling it up.
As the stigma surrounding mental health gradually erodes, the debate around how to deal with the issues we face is hotting up. Medication can definitely help some people, but for others a different approach is necessary.
This is where emotional support animals (ESAs) and service animals come into play, providing therapeutic advantages to those afflicted by a cavalcade of mental health woes. Here is a look at what conditions are being treated with animal assistance, and why this trend has become so impactful.
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Tackling the anxiety epidemic
Anxiety is a condition that has been known for some time now, and yet it is only just being recognized as significantly debilitating and thus worthy of intensive research and proactive prevention methods.
Properly trained pets can recognize the signs of the onset of an anxiety attack in their owner, and take steps to either minimize its effects or stop it altogether.
Sometimes this can come in the form of tactile stimulation or simply the physical proximity of the animal; licking the owner or sitting next to them can break the cycle of an attack and provide a calming influence.
For this reason, more people are taking emotional support animals with them to public places, or indeed any context in which feelings of anxiety might be triggered. So long as you have a Certapet emotional support animals letter to show that your need for an animal is legitimate, they will be allowed in many places without issue, just like any other service animal.
Dealing with depression
Often associated with anxiety and potentially occurring simultaneously with it, depression is another mental health problem that has received some much-needed public attention that for many years was lacking.
ESAs are similarly successful in providing assistance to people with depression, and often the serotonin release that comes with getting the affection, attention and unconditional love of a loyal pet is enough to alleviate the worst effects of this condition.
As mentioned, while some animals are trained to provide health benefits to humans, pets can also offer antidepressant properties by the simple fact of their presence, and the natural intuition that many have to comfort their owners when it is clear that they are not feeling themselves.
Overcoming loneliness & isolation
While some service animals are given specific training to assist their owners with the challenges they face, others are simply recommended as a means to address general loneliness and the associated sense of isolation that this brings with it.
This is especially helpful for elderly people who may not have friends and family members to stay in touch with, in which case an emotional support animal can be an invaluable companion, keeping their spirits up and giving purpose to their lives at a time when they might otherwise be at a loss as to their role in society.
Of course, it is not just older individuals who can benefit in this way, as loneliness can strike people of all ages, and pets are one of the most effective cures for this.
So there you have it; while we have only touched on a handful of the most conspicuous mental health issues that animals can address, you should have a better picture of how and why our use of ESAs has increased, and you can expect it to only expand further going forward.