Getting an Emotional Support Animal

Sometimes, emotional support for various mental conditions can come from not just therapists and counselors, but from animals, mainly dogs. These four-legged assistants can help patients who have a variety of ailments, such as depression or anxiety, and much more. How to get an ESA? There are approved ways to get such a support animal, and overcoming social anxiety, having PTSD animals, and more is possible when someone goes through the right channels. Online qualification is another option.

Who Needs an ESA?

How to get an ESA? Some people suffering various mental conditions or traumas have asked that question and found a support animal to help them come with their disorder. Many American adults may have the need for an emotional support animal; Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, affects around 7.7 million adults in the United States, and that amounts to nearly 3.5% of the population. Similarly, it has been estimated that 26%, or one in four, American adults are living with a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. Even children might go through mental turmoil; one out of seven children aged 2 to 8 years old have already been diagnosed with mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders, such as ADHD, social anxiety, or low functioning autism. And among adults, anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental conditions, affecting 40 million adults in the United States every single year.

Those with a mental condition have sometimes wondered “How to get an ESA?” and have found many benefits from the service of these animals. Among those surveyed, 74% reported that they experienced improvements in their mental health once they started keeping animals as companions. Dogs, and sometimes cats, can serve as ESA agents. Getting a support dog has a proven process one can follow.

How to Get an ESA

According to ESA Doctors, a mental disability covered in the DSM is one major reason for a patient to seek an ESA, anything from phobias to anxiety disorders to depression and intellectual disorders. A licensed mental health professional may qualify a patient for an ESA letter, and landlords who don’t usually allow pets will be required to allow a person’s ESA in the building. Major airlines will also make accommodations for an ESA, but the specifics may vary based on the airline.

A person may browse local pet shops or shelters for a dog or cat to serve as an ESA, and based on preference, even something like a small mammal or reptile may be desired. Any animal that is comforting, cooperative, and receptive to bonding will be a suitable candidate as an ESA. Dogs may need some type of training so it will get along with others in public, and both dogs and cats may need to be housebroken or otherwise trained to get along with other people or animals. A local ESA trainer can be contacted and enlisted to help if the owner cannot handle all of the training work alone.

A doctor or other mental health professional will provide an assessment for the patient to fill out, and based on the results, the professional may write a letter stating that the patient has a mental or emotional condition necessitating an ESA’s companionship. The letter will also have a date on it and the doctor’s license number and the place where their license was first issued. This letter will have to be updated every year, and in the meantime, the patient may use it and carry it around to prove their need for an ESA, such as to a landlord or airline. The animal itself will have to be certified with a mental health professional, whether in person or online. The ESA may even ride in the cabin of an aircraft with the patient, but proper documentation will always be necessary for businesses to agree to cooperate with someone who has an ESA with them. A social anxiety service dog or a therapy cat for depression will be treated like any other pet by airlines or landlords unless the paperwork is shown.