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The modern world has some arbitrary criteria for “being a success”. How we think about ourselves connects to loneliness and isolation. But it can also be a cause of some health issues, particularly issues with our mental health. Some conditions need medication or deeper medical treatment, but emotional support animals (ESAs) can alleviate others.  

The stats are out there, and they say that the disease of the 21st century is loneliness. It was found in 2018 that three out of four Americans feel lonely or isolated. As things stand with the COVID-19 pandemic, people are likely to feel the same, if not more alone, as they can’t be with friends and family as normal. 

An Emotional Support Animal Combats Loneliness

Anyone can feel lonely, even in a room full of people. Feelings of loneliness can often occur in your twenties, as you move away from home and go into the world of work. It can also resurface again as you’re in your fifties and older. When you are in your twenties, you will make a lot of important decisions that affect your whole life.

You can fall into the “compare and despair” trap. You could experience a mid-life crisis as you evaluate yourself and think you’ve fallen short. As you get even older, you can feel lonely and vulnerable as life has changed completely. You may have health problems standing in the way of living life as you might have previously. 

In a lot of cases, it isn’t a treatment in and of itself. But it can be a good supplement to therapy. Animals are amazing companions and they can be just what you need to help.

An emotional support dog can mean that you force yourself to exercise more, as your dog needs daily walks. They can be a significant benefit, so here are some conditions that could mean you need an ESA. 

How Do I Know I Need an Emotional Support Animal?

To start with, you need to have some kind of medical condition that will give you grounds for an emotional support animal. Of course, anyone can get a pet. But if you want to take it with you when you travel, or into stores, then you need to have the grounds for it to be classed as an ESA.

Depression

Are you someone who can feel unmotivated, sad, and oftentimes desperate? Do you lack energy and have trouble sleeping? You may also have no interest or joy in the things that once excited you. If this is something that has been ongoing for weeks or even months, then the chances are that you have depression. Depression is a mental medical illness and it can impact the way that you think quite significantly, as well as impact the everyday things that you need to do in life. Bouts of depression can be short-term or long-term. 

Bipolar Disorder

If you have periods of depression where you lack motivation or energy but also have some periods of being extremely happy or obsessive, then it could indicate Bipolar disorder. Depression and bipolar can be hard to live with and can be disruptive in life, so it is important to seek medical attention if you think that this sounds like you. As part of your treatment, a mental health professional could “prescribe” an emotional support animal. It will give you motivation to get up and about each day, and everyone knows that unconditional puppy love feels amazing. 

ADHD

Do you or perhaps your child have trouble concentrating on something? Have others called you impulsive or inattentive? Have you been like this for a while? It could show an attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, more commonly known as ADHD.

It isn’t something to be ashamed of, but with the right professional help, and something like an ESA, you could get the help that you need. Having an emotional support animal when you have ADHD, or have a child with it, can help to create a bit of routine, especially with a dog.

It can be a distraction and can help you channel your energy into something. However, something that is quiet, and perhaps not too active, could also be a good idea—like a hamster or a turtle. 

Anxiety

We can all feel on edge from time to time and find it hard to relax. The current health pandemic going on at the moment is an example of that; more people are feeling more anxious than normal.

However, if you have panic or worry that can last for days, and impact your sleep, then you could have an anxiety disorder.

You may experience panic attacks as part of this, which can then lead to further panic. Do you avoid going places where the attacks have happened or repeating behaviors, just in case they happen again? This could be a panic disorder.

Either way, getting some professional medical advice is a must. You don’t have to always feel this way! An ESA, maybe a cat, could calm you down as it is soft, cuddly, and purrs are pretty soothing. This could be something that can help you reduce your anxious feelings and reduce stress levels. I know that after we got our cat, Luna, our moods and mental health dramatically improved just from having a ball of fluff in the apartment. She’s pretty funny, too.

Age-Related Decline

It is a fact of life that we are all going to age. But are you finding it hard to focus on things like mental tasks that you might have been fine with before? Are you often forgetting things or finding it tough to be in control of your feelings and emotions?

A lot of this is normal aging, however, there are some things that you can do to help. It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor and ask for some dietary suggestions. Having an emotional support animal could help your overall wellbeing, and be a little companion for you, like a cat or dog. 

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

If you have undergone a traumatic event in your life, or one that was extremely stressful, then it can lead to flashbacks and mental issues that can impact your whole life. Often, something like PTSD is associated with the military and being at war. But it can also be a result of living with abuse, or even having a traumatic birth as a mother. 

You Might Need an Emotional Support Animal

Think about how you wind down; do you find it hard to relax? Do you feel distant from people or even feel a little unattached? You could also be experiencing something like acute stress disorder, either way, speaking to a professional will help.

As far as emotional support animals go, they can be great companions and just having something there to cuddle when feeling low or particularly stressed with flashbacks. Stress disorders is an area where having an emotional support animal can be the most effective.

This is a partnered post.

About the author 

Colleen Mitchell

Mindset & accountability life coach, writer, podcaster, and full-time analyst in the power industry. I'm passionate about showing people that how we think determines our realities.

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