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5 Unexpected Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

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Emotional support animals (ESA) have been helping people with mental health disorders overcome the challenges they face in their daily lives. These pets, usually dogs, can provide the kind of companionship and reassurance necessary to improve one's mental outlook and disposition. Nowadays, emotional support animals are being used to treat a number of mental health disorders such as anxiety, hyperactivity, bipolar disorder, and social disabilities. While you might have heard of emotional support animals, you probably weren't aware of these five unexpected benefits!

 

1.They can improve physical health!

While it's widely understood that emotional support animals can help with mental health, they have actually been shown to benefit physical health as well! Pets not only encourage a healthier, more active lifestyle, but they can help prevent disease. Having an emotional support animal is shown to lower blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. They can even decrease pain from chronic conditions which in turn leads to needing less medication! With results like these, it's no wonder so many people are turning to emotional support animals for assistance with their mental health problems.

2. They have a powerful effect on stress levels.

Anyone who's ever felt the calming effects of a dog's head in one's lap knows just how comforting an animal can be in a time of stress. Animals, especially dogs, are easily able to pick up on human emotions and react accordingly. That makes them an invaluable resource for those struggling with mental health disorders like anxiety or PTSD. The comforting presence of an animal can make a major impact in daily stress levels.

3. Emotional support animals fight depression.

A lot of people today struggle with depression as well as other mental health disorders. Depression is difficult to treat, but emotional support animals are leading the way with positive improvements in those suffering from this problem. A study from the University of Portsmouth found in 2006 showed that caring for a pet actually can lower the risk of a depressive episode! It's definitely true that the sense of purpose that comes with caring for an animal can be a sense of relief for those struggling emotionally.

4. Pets can lower the risk of allergies.

Some of the most common allergies are those to dogs and cats, yet owning these animals is shown to lower the risk of allergies. Owning a pet can even strengthen your overall immune system! Early or prolonged exposure to animals like dogs and cats can make people less vulnerable to a number of diseases and allergies. However, you should always speak to a doctor before exposing yourself to new allergens if you believe yourself to be prone to allergies.

5. Emotional support animals encourage social interaction.

Those suffering from mental health disorders often hide away, resisting social interactions. This has the adverse effect of worsening many conditions like social anxieties and depression. Emotional support animals make it easier for these individuals to join society. Having a friendly face by your side at all times goes a long way in helping people step outside of their comfort zones and try new things. Dogs make the best therapy pets for comfort, but even cats are known to make great social companions!

There are endless benefits to emotional support animals!

Emotional support animals are changing the way we think about treating mental health disorders. People all over the world are finding relief for these conditions and disorders through