Tuesday, 12 February 2019

If You're Experiencing Mental Illness, This is What You Need to Know About ESAs (Including How to Get One)

Mental illness is a serious issue in this country. This huge health problem affects around 1 in 3 people at some time in their lives - and these are statistics that include the entire world population! Feeling that you are unwell mentally can seem like a hugely isolating experience, but in reality, you are not alone. These days, the stigma of mental illness is slowly being broken down, and there are more effective treatment options available than ever before. 


* Guest post

If you believe you may be experiencing or have been diagnosed with a mental illness, then this article is for you. One of the most exciting new developments in treating mental illnesses is as surprising as it is cute: the use of emotional support animals. Here, we go through what you need to know about this amazing form of therapy, how it can help you and the simple process for getting an ESA to help heal your mental health condition. 

What Do Emotional Support Animals Do?
Emotional support animals provide a generally supportive presence to owners that are experiencing the effects of a mental illness. ESAs are not specifically trained in particular tasks, instead, their presence, companionship and affection provide a positive impact on the mental state of their owners. 

Conditions That Can Be Assisted By ESAs
The great thing about ESAs is that their exceptional healing powers can assist a whole range of mental health disorders, including: 

• Alcohol/Substance Dependence
• Anxiety Disorders
• Bipolar Disorder
• Depression
• Generalized Anxiety Disorder
• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
• Panic Disorder
• Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• Schizophrenia
• Social Anxiety
The Benefits of Emotional Support Animals
We've always instinctively known that being around pets makes us feel better. Scientists are delving deeper into researching exactly why that is. There are a range of benefits that ESAs can bring to their owners. Here are some of the major advantages that ESAs provide to their owners.

• Help the brain to produce feel-good chemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine, which can improve brain chemistry. 
• Provide companionship to individuals who may be socially isolated. 
• Promote a healthy lifestyle through exercise and socialization with others. 
• Encourage a stable routine and behavioral patterns. 
• Disrupt anxious and destructive behaviors. 

How to Get an ESA
If you think an ESA could help you to improve your mental health, then the good news is that the process is relatively simple and easy. Here's an easy guide to getting your ESA. 

Find a Reputable Therapist 
In order to be prescribed an ESA, you must first discuss your condition with a licensed mental heath professional. You can choose to either do this in-office, or remotely using teletherapy to consult with a doctor. 

Get Your Diagnosis and Treatment Plan
Once you have found a therapist you are comfortable with, it's time to get diagnosed. Your doctor will ask you a range of diagnostic questions, and depending on your answers, they will work out what conditions may be affecting you. If you are diagnosed with a mental illness, the next step is for your doctor to work out a treatment plan to help improve your condition. 

Discuss Using an ESA with Your Doctor
If you are diagnosed with a mental illness, you may be eligible for an ESA. Have a discussion with your doctor about whether a support animal is right for you. If your doctor agrees that an ESA is a beneficial therapy aid for you, then they will include a pet as part of your treatment plan. 

Obtain An ESA Letter
To prove your pet's status as an ESA, your doctor will need to draw up an ESA letter as proof that your animal is needed for your disability. This will allow you to travel with your pet and also rent any type of accommodation, regardless of pet restrictions. 

Begin a New Chapter of Your Life with the Support of Your ESA
Once you have been approved for an ESA, you can start reaping the benefits of having a loving pet by your side to help you emotionally whenever you need it. Remember, an ESA needs no special training, so your pet can be from a shelter, breeder, or even be an existing pet.

Getting an ESA is a huge step towards improving your mental health, so go on and take it. You won't have any regrets! 
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