Can You Get a Service Dog For Anxiety? What You Need To Know2021-07-28
We are living in the age of anxiety. With over 18% of the adult population in the United States suffering from anxiety disorders every year, they are the most rampant mental health issue facing our nation.
But because this issue is so common, it is easy to downplay the severity of its effects on the daily lives of those who struggle with this type of mental health disorder. Folks who are severely anxious often go undiagnosed and untreated, even though these mental health issues are highly treatable.
While service dogs are often thought of as supportive aids for people living with physical disabilities or severe post-traumatic stress disorder, they can also offer immense support to those who suffer from acute anxiety attacks or other mental disorders.
If you think you may benefit from a service dog, this article is for you.
What Is a Service Dog?
In short, a service dog is an animal that has been specially trained to perform tasks for its owner to assist them in their day-to-day life.
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects the rights of service dog owners and ensures their animals can accompany them in a variety of public and private settings to provide essential support for their physical or mental health.
How Service Dogs Can Help With Anxiety?
While they are categorically different from therapy dogs and emotional support animals, service dogs can provide many of the same benefits that emotional support animals can to their owners. Here are some of the key reasons you may want to consider a service animal.
Provide Emotional Support
Service dogs have an immense capacity to provide ongoing, reliable love and support to their owners. Much like emotional support animals, they are there to take care of the owner’s basic emotional needs. It can be a total game-changer to have a trustworthy companion at your side who can accompany you through difficult situations and moments in your life.
Petting and cuddling with a service dog can be deeply therapeutic, providing essential relief from acute moments of struggle with mental illness. Their presence can have a profound, positive impact on mental health.
Studies have shown that even 12 minutes of interaction with a service animal can drastically impact physical and mental health for the better.
Service dogs provide lasting company that can help reduce loneliness and gives owners something to actively care for, which can be deeply enriching and add positive meaning to daily life.
Support to Take Your Medication
If you need to take medication for your mental illness, service animals can be specifically trained to remind you to take your medicine at specific times. Incredibly intuitive and intelligent animals, they are even able to fetch and bring you your medicine.
This ability can have profound implications on outcomes from medication use because it increases the likelihood that folks will take their medication regularly and on time, which is essential for the good mental health of many people. Having support from an animal can make taking medication easier.
Help During Acute Attacks
Animals have an amazing ability to calm the mind and regulate the body in moments of extreme stress. If you struggle with panic attacks as part of your mental illness, a service dog may be a great option to provide in-the-moment support when you need it most.
The presence of emotional support animals or service dogs can remind folks that what they are experiencing is temporary and gives them a companion that can help ground and calm them in even the most intense moments. They can even be trained to fetch your phone or other helpful devices that you can use to seek help during acute anxiety attacks.
How To Get a Service Dog For Anxiety?
To get a service dog that supports mental health issues, you should look into Psychiatric Service Animals. These dogs are trained specifically to support those with mental disorders.
Here’s what you need to qualify.
You Must Have a Qualifying Disability, Illness, or Disorder
In order to get a service dog, you’ll need to be diagnosed with a qualifying physical or mental health disorder.
You Must Get a Recommendation Letter
The most important step is that you get a recommendation letter from a healthcare provider stating a need for the service animal. Without this, you cannot move forward in the process of seeking a service dog. After you have your letter, you can apply for a service dog and begin the process of finding and training your new companion.
You Must Be Present for Training
The dog will need to go through extensive training prior to being registered and certified. You will need to be present for this training, whether you are training the pet yourself or someone else is. This is because the dog will need to be responsive to your specific needs, and it is important to build trust with your pet during training.
You Must Be Able to Fully Care for Dogs
Even with a disability or disorder, you will still be required to provide care to your pet. This includes basic daily care such as feeding and walking, but also requires that you have a safe and stable home environment for the pet to live. It also means you need financial stability to take care of an animal long-term.
Get Started Today
Unfortunately, not all folks who struggle with mental health will qualify for a service dog. If this happens, don’t lose hope!
Support animals do not require certification and can provide a wealth of benefits similar to that of a service animal.
Whatever the situation, Service Dog Registration of America has your back. With industry experts who can walk you through the process from start to finish and a plethora of useful resources and products, like harnesses and ID badges, Service Dog Registration of America is your go-to spot for any need on your journey to better health with the support of an animal. Reach out today!