Do you freeze when you have to join in activities that involve loads of people because you fear public humiliation? Or do you suddenly turn into a bumbling incoherent mass of flesh when you find yourself faced with a spider? Well, you might be suffering from a phobia/anxiety disorder.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Society of America (ADA), these disorders affect 18.1% of the population every year. It’s the most prevalent mental disorder in the U.S.
The good news you can treat anxiety disorders—and you don’t need medication to do so.
One way to treat or support individuals suffering from these disorders is by registering your pet as an emotional support animal (ESA). In recent years, the United States Government’s laws and regulations have recognized ESAs as a vital aid for people dealing with mental or emotional issues.
Here are five reasons why ESAs are critical in managing and treating individuals with anxiety disorders:
They Help with Chronic Anxiety
If you suffer from a chronic anxiety disorder, an ESA can act as an excellent support system. Those anxious-ridden moments that render you immobile or helpless won’t feel as overwhelming with your animals.
Animals have a propensity to play and cuddle you. With ESAs, you train one to comfort you once it notices the onset of an anxiety attack.
The act of taking care of an animal (petting, bathing, feeding) also has proven to reduce anxiety and heart rate. The physiological changes can make it easier for you to deal with anxiety attacks. Plus, chronic anxiety attacks can usually get worse if you are alone.
So, the presence of an ESA that needs your love and gives you pure, undiluted love helps keep your emotional state in balance.
They Help If You Are Struggling with PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) usually sets in if you have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. In such scenarios, an ESA can be extremely beneficial to battling the symptoms of this disorder.
The nightmares, flashbacks, and depression that comes with PTSD can be terrifying and distressing. Cuddling your furry friend can go a long way to reassure you and bring your heart rate back to normal during those moments.
They Help You Fight Depression
If you are suffering from depression, you are likely to feel demotivated, listless, tired, and spend most of your day shuffling around the house. The biggest battle most individuals struggling with depression face is winning the negative dialogue in their head.
The presence of an ESA is a great way to get out of your head. Taking care of an animal that loves you without judgment or expectation helps clear your mind of negative thoughts.
The act of petting, bathing, or feeding your ESA also gives you the motivation to tackle other vital tasks.
They Help Stave off Suicidal Thoughts
Anxiety disorders are one of the leading reasons for suicide attempts. However, the act of loving and taking care of an ESA that needs you can help bring you back from the edge.
An ESA gives you a reason to live one more day. The unconditional love these animals give also acts as a reminder that you always have someone who loves and needs you.
The Drop Your Stress Levels
The act of loving and taking care of an ESA can do wonders for your stress levels and high blood pressure. Spending time with your ESA drops your cortisol hormone levels, which in turn lowers your stress levels.
All this comes together to drop your blood pressure levels. It means you are much healthier and happier.
Emotional support animals are an excellent way to deal with anxiety disorders. They help you reduce the symptoms of the various anxiety disorders and gradually heal you over time.