Can You Get a Service Dog for Anxiety? All You Need to Know
By Space Coast Daily // April 4, 2022
We live in an age when, with the rapid development of the world around us and technology, our sense of loneliness and abandonment is developing just as fast. In the pursuit of success, people often do not pay attention to their health, especially psychological one.
As a result, today most of the population of our planet at least once in their lives are faced with various mental disorders that have affected their lives. Animals are among the most effective helpers in the fight against stress, anxiety, and depression.
The causes of anxiety
A prolonged state of anxiety can develop as a result of a single traumatic event or be the result of a number of less significant ones. The main factor is chronic stress and what accompanies it. For example, overwork and lack of sleep, nervous tension, fear of repeating negative experiences, internal conflicts and dissatisfaction with life, and even features of the human nervous system.
Anxiety disorder significantly impairs a person’s quality of life. It affects both the performance of everyday household tasks and the quality of the work performed. Therefore, if you notice any symptoms or disturbances in the functioning of the nervous system, contact a licensed mental health professional. The expert will select the necessary therapy for you, one of which may be a service/emotional support animal.
How can animals help with anxiety?
Service dogs assist their owners by providing special services to relieve their symptoms including stress, anxiety, and fear. A trained animal is usually regarded as the buffer of certain situations and reads signals of its handler for support when needed.
The general effect of animals on the emotional state of a person is to calm down, reduce stress levels, distract, and change activities. Taking away negative emotions, animals in return bring positive ones, such as happiness and joy.
There are two categories of animals that are designed to help people with various mental disorders: psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals. Both of these species are excellent companions and are able to significantly reduce their owner’s stress level and calm him down. However, for more serious forms of the disorder, it is still recommended to start PSD, since these creatures are trained to perform various actions aimed at helping a person.
Psychiatric service dogs
All service animals undergo specific disciplining, where they are taught to follow commands and tasks, behave well in public, obey the owner, and much more. It is this special training that distinguishes the anxiety service dog from an emotional support animal.
Anxiety disorder is one of the most frequent mental illnesses in the modern world. Anxiety symptoms usually include anxiety attacks, panic attacks, and other mental health conditions during which a person may need physical assistance. For instance, psychiatric service dogs can press on the chest of their owners or immobilize a person during an attack.
How can I prove my dog is a service dog?
First, you must know the rights to be an animal owner. Some companies, associations, and landlords do not understand what is the legal system for service animals. So, first of all, you have to get acquainted with the law. After that, you can get an official paper from your therapist that will confirm the status of a service animal.
If you already have such a letter and you want to have additional status confirmation, you can order service dog registration in the database with ID-card confirmation on the MyServiceAnimal register. On the website, you can also buy all the necessary accessories like harnesses and service animal tags.
How do I get a psychiatric service dog for anxiety or depression?
There are two legal ways to become an owner of a psychiatric service dog: either you can get an animal in a specialized institution where animals are trained and disciplined, or you can train your pet and qualify it as a service animal. However, it is very important to remember that training your service animal can often be difficult. Therefore, many prefer to take already trained dogs that know not only basic commands, but also know how to perform various tasks and provide first aid.
Nevertheless, if you already have a pet and don’t want to have another animal, you can tame a service dog on your own or seek help from a professional dog handler. Certainly, this method has its advantages.
Firstly, the animal already knows you, so it will not have a period of adaptation to a new place with new people. Secondly, you will be able to train the animal to perform those tasks and commands that you specifically need. Of course, service dog training requires a lot of time and effort.
An emotional support animal
An emotional support dog is designed to reduce the loneliness of its owner and give him or her positive emotions. Anxiety is a mental illness that develops against the background of stress and disturbance. Therefore ESA is necessary to calm down a human, help him or her relax and dilute day-to-day life.
Basically, emotional support animals don’t have to know or implement any commands or assignments. So, ESA training is absolutely up to its owner. Most people get these creatures, not for therapy or treatment, but to get rid of loneliness and to feel needed and loved.
Service animals breeds for anxiety
There are several species of animals that can be used for psychological support. For example, it can be therapy dogs, cats, or miniature horses. The choice of animal depends on your preferences, as well as the laws of the state in which you live. For moral support, you can use any animal that brings you joy and pleasure.
Even if you like spiders or reptiles, they can be your true friends. However, it is important to remember that in order for your pet to be officially recognized as an ESA, the animal must meet certain criteria. At the same time, animals do not need official permission or a document to provide their handlers with psychological endorsement, so a registration of an ESA is not required.