The Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Animal for a Variety of Mental Disorders


Diagnosable mental disorders are not uncommon within the United States. Every year, estimates indicate that this applies to 26% of adults. It’s also been determined that 7.7 million adults in this country are affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Social anxiety disorders, however, are considered to be the most common type of mental illness, and 40 million adults are affected by this disorder every year. Children between the ages of two-to-eight have also been diagnosed with a variety of mental, behavioral, and/or developmental disorders. In addition to receiving therapy, many adults and children may chose to have an emotional support animal.

The Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Animal

Surveys show that there are a variety of benefits associated with having an emotional support animal as a companion. One survey’s participants, for instance, indicated that they experienced improvement with their mental health due to having a support animal. This applied to 74% of the survey’s participants, which is substantial.

Dogs are a popular emotional support animal. Roughly 45% of dogs will sleep in their owner’s bed at night, which can assist with anxiety disorders, PTSD, and other conditions. It’s also interesting to note that dogs can understand quite a few words. While the average dog may be able to understand 165 words, others have proven their ability to understand more than 200. This is important due to their being able to comprehend commands and other important words and phrases that relate to daily living experiences and activities.

The Best ESAs for Depression

Since each person has unique needs, the best ESAs for depression will vary. Some individuals may prefer a therapy cat for depression while others may prefer other types of emotional support animals, such as dogs or rabbits. Shelter and rescue dogs have become emotional support animals, too, so discussing this with a therapist may be helpful in making a decision. When choosing the best ESAs for depression, it’s also important for someone to feel a connection, or bond, with a particular animal.

How to Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

In order to qualify for an emotional support animal (ESA), you need to obtain a letter from a therapist. This is important because you want to have documentation that proves your dog, cat, or other animal is a legitimate emotional support animal rather than a pet. Since there are many landlords that don’t don’t allow pets, an ESA letter can enable you to have a therapy cat for depression, an emotional support dog, or another type of animal. There are other situations, such as traveling by bus, train, or airline, where having this letter can allow you to bring your support animal with you into the seating area.

Once you obtain an ESA letter, it’s important to learn about your rights and responsibilities as well as the relevant laws pertaining to ESA ownership. If you are planning to move into pet-friendly housing, it’s a good idea to find out whether ESAs are considered to be pets. This is because most landlords for pet-friendly housing will charge a pet deposit. Since this deposit tends to range between 40% to 85% of the rent, you may be able to negotiate this amount for an ESA.