Emotional Support Animal Disability
Many of us may have at some point or another thought about owning an emotional support animal. This has become a popular trend over the last few years, with the rise of demand for accessibility in public and private places.
An emotional support animal is a dog or other animal that has been trained to help its owner by providing companionship and comfort. Emotional support animals are considered to be therapy animals and have been used by many people suffering from a variety of conditions.
How Emotional Support Animals Can Aid Disabilities
Many people with disabilities use emotional support animals to help them perform daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and toileting. These animals can also provide emotional support by providing a sense of security and companionship.
In some cases, emotional support animals can also aid in other areas of life such as at work or school. For example, a person with a severe case of anxiety may be able to take their emotional support animal to work with them in order to provide them with the comfort they need when they are alone at work.
People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also find that emotional support animals can help them manage their symptoms. Many people with PTSD find that their condition is worsened by the stressful environment of their daily lives. The constant presence of other people, the noises and smells in public places, and the regular reminders of the trauma they have experienced can all be very distressing to someone suffering from PTSD.
In order to prevent the symptoms of PTSD from negatively affecting their lives, many people with PTSD resort to adopting an emotional support animal.
The Differences Between ESAs vs. Service Animals
The terms “service animal” and “emotional support animal” are often used interchangeably. However, they are not actually the same thing. In fact, they’re widely different, and it’s important to understand the differences between them.
Service animals are trained to perform specific tasks that assist their handler. For example, service animals can guide their handler who is blind or have other physical disabilities. These animals are specifically trained for the purpose of assisting their handler.
Emotional support animals are also working animals, but they do not have to be trained for any specific task or job. Emotional support animals provide therapeutic benefits to their owners and are not necessarily trained or certified, nor are they required to be so.
How to Get an ESA
The first step in obtaining an ESA is to file an application for an ESA evaluation with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). This is usually done through a screen test with your therapist, physician, or other professionals.
This screen test will determine whether or not you are eligible for an ESA. If you are found to be eligible, your chosen LMHP will be able to draft an ESA letter which explains your needs and the reasons why you need an ESA. A single ESA letter is valid only for twelve months, after which you’d need a reevaluation and a new letter.