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Is Emotional Support Animal Rehabilitation Beneficial? 

If you have owned a pet or pets before, you understand that they are among the best source of company, especially when feeling unwell or down. This explains why Americans own approximately 78 million dogs and nearly 86 million cats.

Apart from providing comfort, pets play a significant role for those struggling with mental illnesses and disabilities. Emotional Support Animals are a source of emotional support with positively proven outcomes.

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What is Emotional Support Animal Rehabilitation? 

There are a lot of unknown facts surrounding Emotional Support Animal rehabilitation. To begin, Emotional Support Animal rehabilitation is the use of Emotional Support Animals to provide therapeutic benefits and alleviate symptoms of a mental and emotional disability.

Unlike service animals, Emotional Support Animals do not require much training, as they don’t need to perform specific tasks. 

These animals provide comfort and companionship, helping affected individuals alleviate some aspect of their mental disorder. They help owners accomplish major daily living activities, such as caring, sleeping, walking, working, and other daily activities.

That said, dogs are the common type of Emotional Support Animals prescribed. However, cats, miniature horses, and other animals can also be used. 

Who Qualifies for Emotional Support Animal Rehabilitation? 

An estimated 18% of adults in America live with some type of mental and emotional disability. Most of these individuals can benefit from Emotional Support Animal rehabilitation. However, the majority are not aware that they can qualify.

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Qualifying for an ESA

Mental health professionals can prescribe Emotional Support Animals to those living with mental illnesses and disabilities. These include patients suffering from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorders, and ADHD. 

Is Emotional Support Animal Rehabilitation Effective? 

Over time, Emotional Support Animals have proven effective in helping patients with emotional disabilities improve their symptoms. These animals have been proven effective in helping patients with anxiety and depression in the following ways.

1. Improve Physical Health 

Physical wellness has a significant impact on emotional wellbeing. Conclusions from a research study done by Harvard University suggested that petting a dog can decrease blood pressure.

Dog ownership has also been connected to lowered triglyceride levels. For instance, the act of walking a dog also boosts physical activity, which leads to increased endorphin or feel-good-hormone production. This helps create a stress-free physical environment that decreases symptoms of depression.

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2. Uncovers Meaning and Purpose

One of the major symptoms of anxiety and depression is social detachment. Most patients feel isolated and lack purpose in life. As such, Emotional Support Animals can provide company and unconditional love to isolated patients.

Knowing that a pet relies on you for food and other provisions develops a sense of purpose, even in patients with mental conditions.

3. Healthy Companionship 

As mentioned, individuals with emotional and mental disabilities often struggle to maintain healthy relationships with other people. During such experiences, Emotional Support Animals provide a genuinely safe and loving company.

Moreover, those suffering from depression don’t need to fake a front when spending time with their animals. As they would have to when with other humans. They can be themselves all the time without feeling judged. 

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Is Emotional Support Animal Rehabilitation Beneficial?

4. Improves Self Esteem 

Those struggling with depression often have issues with their self-esteem and prone to frequent episodes of anxiety. Emotional Support Animals can improve all these symptoms, improving one’s quality of life. A study done at Miami University by McConnell proved that pet owners comparably have high self-esteem and low fearful levels. This proves that Emotional Support Animal rehabilitation can help decrease depressive symptoms and improve the overall quality of life in individuals with mental illnesses. 

How Does Emotional Support Animals Provide Support?

Emotional Support Animals’ mechanism of action cannot be compared to drugs and other therapies aimed at improving mental conditions. These animals provide this support by simply being there for their owners.

They are an important source of unconditional love and companionship, which is overly important for those with mental disabilities. 

Mentally affected individuals develop a sense of responsibility and purpose by taking care of these animals. Feeding, walking, bathing, talking, and taking general care of these animals makes one feel important and valuable. Such is important for those struggling with anxiety and depression, as they might feel less of their self-worth. 

While Emotional Support Animals cannot talk back, these animals are excellent listeners. Furthermore, unlike humans, they are not judgmental and great at keeping secrets.

They provide a great place to confide in, which helps affected individuals work through their mental problems. 

ESAs also provide great support when their owners face difficult situations. For instance, they provide company to individuals who develop anxiety when traveling. They help owners feel confident in anxiety-inducing situations.

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Bottom Line 

Emotional Support Animals can be beneficial to millions of mentally challenged persons. If you suffer from any of these conditions and think that Emotional Support Animals will help alleviate your symptoms, you can apply for an ESA prescription letter.

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Emotional Support Animal ESA ESA and mental health ESA pet ESA Reviews

Emotional Support Animal Certification Laws You Should Know

 ESA, short for Emotional Support Animals, is a relatively new breakthrough in mental health. For decades, the challenges associated with treating patients with mental problems proved a challenge for mental health physicians.

Nonetheless, mental healthcare has made significant strides over time, with Emotional Support Animals playing a significant role in the evolutions witnessed in this field.

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Unfortunately, due to the radical occurrence of Emotional Support Animals, most people don’t understand what ESAs are and the rules governing the use of these animals. Adding to this is the fact that ESA certification policies vary from one state to another. 

What is an Emotional Support Animal? 

Contrary to what most people believe, Emotional Support Animals are not pets. They are companion animals with therapeutic effects on individuals with psychiatric conditions. Anyone seeking Emotional Support Animals should have a variable disability, as the animals cannot be used for companionship only. Owners of Emotional Support Animals are protected under two federal laws. They include; 

1. The Fair Housing Act 

Under this law, property owners should accommodate tenants owning Emotional Support Animals without discrimination, even if the house policies do not allow pets. The Department of Housing provides guidelines on how the FHA provisions should be implemented and enforces these rules. These laws were designed to eliminate discrimination against disabled persons and apply to all housing in all U.S states, including condominiums, rentals, and co-ops, with very few exceptions. 

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Emotional Support Animal Laws

Under these laws, ESAs are identified as assistance animals that provide accommodation for people with mental conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. According to these laws, ESAs are not categorized as ordinary pets. Therefore, they are exempted from pet restrictions placed by housing providers. 

That said, Emotional Support Animal owners have several rights under these laws. They include; 

  • Property owners should not impose the size, weight, and breed limitations on ESA owners.
  • Landlords should not charge additional fees or deposits for ESAs.
  • Housing providers should not request detailed information about the tenant’s condition, such as medical history.
  • Property owners can deny ESA accommodation if the situation will impose an unexpected financial burden or if the ESA is a threat to other building occupants. 

As mentioned, most property types are covered under the FHA guidelines. However, there are exceptions for small property owners. For instance, landlords with buildings housing less than four units, rent out without an agency, and single-family houses being sold are exempted. That aside, some states have formulated state-based rules outlining specific housing rights to owners of these animals.

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2. ESA Travel Law 

The second law regulating Emotional Support Animals is the Air Carrier Access Act. According to this law’s provisions, passengers can fly in the cabin with their Emotional Support Animals free of charge. This law applies to all U.S airlines, flights within the U.S, and those originating and arriving in the U.S. The Department of Transportation issues and enforces these guidelines. However, specific airlines have additional policies outlining their requirements. 

That said, if you intend to fly with your Emotional Support Animal, it is prudent that you check with the airline before the travel date. Ensure that you contact the airline and submit all the necessary documentation at least 48 hours before the departure date. 

Under the ACAA policies, passengers and airlines with ESAs should comply with the following rules; 

  • The airline should not charge any fee for Emotional Support Animals.
  • Airlines should accommodate all ESAs, including cats, dogs, and miniature horses.
  • Any airline cannot restrict ESAs to one for every passenger.
  • Airlines cannot ban ESAs because they are of a specific breed. However, they can deny the ESA if they pose a danger to other plane occupants.
  • Airlines cannot apply categorical restrictions on ESA because of weight. However, they can determine if the animal is too heavy or large to fit into the cabin.
  • Airlines can deny ESAs that are unusual animals, such as spiders, snakes, and other reptiles. 

How to Get ESA Certification Letter 

Licensed healthcare professionals, such as therapists, social workers, psychologists, nurses, counselors, and doctors, can issue ESA certification letters. Therefore, it is best if you consult a health professional monitoring your mental health. However, ensure that you meet the requirements outlined by your state for ESA certifications. For instance, Virginia regulations acknowledge ESA certifications from mental health professionals only. Also, note that these certifications are only valid for one year.

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Bottom Line 

Emotional Support Animals have shown remarkable effectiveness in improving the health status of patients with mental disorders. If you intend to apply for these animals, ensure that you consult with your mental healthcare provider for the best recommendations.

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If you have any challenges finding a certified healthcare professional, get in touch with ESA doctors. Licensed professionals in the company can help connect you with licensed mental healthcare professionals in your state.

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How to Use Emotional Support Horses for Your Mental Health 

The healthy relationship between humans and horses started long ago, with research suggesting that it began more than 6000 years ago. However, besides being a beast of burdens and transportation tools in the past, horses are currently key players in rehabilitating people with mental disorders. Emotional support horses is a general term that includes a plethora of therapeutic activities that involve horses.

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Among the activities include Hippotherapy, which uses horses’ movement for occupational, speech, and physical therapy. Equine-assisted psychotherapy is another type, which involves the use of horses in treating behavioral and psychological issues.

The guide below outlines how people with mental disorders can use this treatment option. 

How Horses Help With Mental Health 

Caring and interacting with horses and other animals has several proven health benefits. Besides providing companionship, comfort, and promoting general well-being, they currently offer therapeutic benefits. However, research is yet to provide how horses can alleviate motor, sensory, mental, and behavioral problems. Though the mechanism of action of equine-assisted therapies has not been clearly established, theoretical perspectives are present. 

Some perspectives suggest that horses are prey animals, making them highly attuned to the environment and sensitive to emotional states compared to dogs and other Emotional Support Animals. Surprisingly, horses can read and become aware of human feelings. They can also give feedback about their owners by moving towards or away from the owner. 

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Benefits of Emotional Support Horses

Horses are also large and powerful in nature, giving them the potential of making humans overcome fear and gain confidence that can be used in real-life situations. Their unbiased nature in responding to human behavior and intent also helps with mental healing. 

That said, emotional support horses can help with anxiety, depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral challenges, eating disorders, and relationship problems, among others.

Benefits of these therapies include:

  1. Improved self-esteem.
  2. Empowerment.
  3. Better communication skills.
  4. Relaxation.
  5. Self-awareness.
  6. Improved interpersonal relationships. 

Using Emotional Support Horses 

Equine therapy involves more than riding a horse. Some patients may not even come into physical contact with the horse. In most cases, the equine therapy expert will set goals for the patient to complete. Goals could range from leading a horse to a designated spot or installing a halter. Once the task is complete, the therapist guides the patient in discussing the process and ideas involved in completing the task. 

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Listening to the gals stimulates the patient’s listening ability. Discussing the process with the patient helps in improving communication skills. Communication between the patient and the horse is beneficial, especially in patients struggling with PTSD and anxiety. Depending on the nature of the mental disorder, therapists leading equine-assisted support can use one of the following options; 

  • Cognitive Therapy 

The cognitive therapy option is majorly used for patients with anxiety. Once the horses sense danger from the patients, they respond by being very aware of their environment, in some situations by trying to flee the surrounding. Patients with anxiety disorders can feel the changes by observing the reactions, prompting them to share their anxiety issues with therapists. Focusing on the animals’ apprehensive nature rather than the patient significantly reduces the patients’ anxious response.

  • Physical Activities 

This is probably what comes to most people’s minds when they hear of emotional support horses. This alternative targets people struggling with anxiety, as they often try to avoid challenging and fearful activities beyond their comfort zones. In this situation, therapists allow individuals to choose activities that are beyond their skill level. The therapist can then assist them through the challenges. 

  • Activity Scheduling 

Most people with mental disorders often try to avoid inherent responsibilities in their daily lives, probably due to anxiety feelings. However, the more they avoid the situations, the more the level of anxiety perpetuates. Therefore, planning to care for the horse throughout the day can slowly teach affected persons a sense of responsibility. This enables them to focus away from anxiety and resume normal daily activities. 

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Equine-Assisted Therapy
  • Storytelling and Play Therapy 

As mentioned, most characteristics of horses are identifiable with humans. Among them include curiosity, play, freedom, and social drive instincts. Engaging in play therapy enables individuals to anticipate building relationships and limits. Storytelling, on the other hand, contributes to better creativity and language skills. 

Bottom Line 

Equine therapy for treating mental disorders is often used in families or group therapy since Emotional Support Horses easily show interpersonal behavior. The treatment is also goal-oriented and allows members of the group to work towards achieving one goal. Horses are a good choice due to their non-judgmental and unbiased nature. They also provide accurate mirroring and feedback, which helps alleviate various mental conditions.

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That said, contact ESA Doctors if you need more guidance on the use of emotional support horses. Healthcare professionals in the institution provide guidance on appropriate equine-therapy measures to stabilize your mental condition.

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