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Health Benefits of Emotional Support Animals for People Under Depression

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According to a statistic by the ASPCA, Americans own a staggering total of 78 million dogs and 85.8 million catsThose numbers don't include other categories like birds, fish, and other reptiles. It's obvious that animals play an important role in our lives and even made them part of the family.


For people struggling with depression, pets can even play a more crucial role. They can become a source of companionship and comfort, leading to a positive outcome in our lives and improving our overall well-being. An Emotional Support Animal or ESA offers unwavering companionship to their owners helping them deal with mental and emotional difficulties.


Here are the top health benefits of emotional support animals for people suffering from depression:


Benefit #1 - Emotional Support

When you're suffering the effects of depression, you may, from time to time, experience bouts of loneliness. You feel isolated from the rest of the world and nobody seems to understand what you're going through. Not only an emotional support animal can offer you companionship, but they can also be a sort of emotional outlet. You can freely talk to them without worrying that they will judge you.


Moreover, owners gain a new sense of purpose by caring, feeding, playing and providing love for their pet. It gives them a renewed sense of responsibility importance within themselves, which can be useful in combating negative emotions.


Benefit #2 - Companionship

Emotional support animals can be great companions especially if you feel lonely. In fact, these animals are known to be very intelligent. Most ESA dogs know how to be in tune with human emotions. Thus, it's easier for them to sense their owners’ feelings. They can approach and respond to someone who's feeling down. This submissive behavior equates with feelings of empathy.


As you build a strong bond and friendship with your pets,  they could also help prevent you from feeling lonely. They also have the capacity to show unconditional love to their owners.


Benefit #3 - Reduced Levels of Stress

Time and time again, several researchers support the idea that pets can ease the psychological and emotional effects of depression. Health benefits include easing muscle tension, lowering the heart rate and blood pressure. Thus, a person experiences lower stress levels and reduced feelings of sadness, anxiety, or even suicidal thoughts.  


The result is that it can significantly benefit one's overall physical health. Adopting a furry friend in the household can lessen your chance of acquiring a stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Also, they can significantly speed up the recovery of a person who had an accident or is suffering from an illness.


Benefit #4 - Lessens Isolation

Having an emotional support animal in your household means you constantly have to be on your toes feeding, caring or playing with your pet. For instance, dogs love to have regular walks, which can be an excellent excuse to go for a relaxing stroll to the park and live a more active lifestyle.


Since dogs are generally friendly creatures, plus the fact that they’re real human magnets, they can make great conversation starters. This will make it easier for you to interact and meet friendly acquaintances in your neighborhood. ESAs provide these exceptional benefits that can lessen one's feeling of isolation and loneliness.


Benefit #5 - Reduces Anxiety

Since ESA pets give a sense of familiarity and security, this helps their owners stay calm in changing environments or meeting new people. A pet's constant presence can help provide comfort and decrease any feelings of uneasiness.


Not only that, but they can be an excellent distraction from negative thoughts, keeping depressive symptoms at bay, therefore, significantly reducing any feelings of anxiousness and can even help a person to exude a sense of calm.


Just enjoying the moment with your pet will help in keeping you from worrying the past or future. In fact, according to a study from the University of Missouri, the simple act of stroking and cuddling these adorable creatures releases dopamine, the happy hormones in your system. Natural pain-killers are released in your body and as a result, this significantly improves your mood. It's a great alternative to conventional medicines that have side effects.


In Summary

Some people suffering from depression may feel hopeless, but having a trusty companion by their side can turn their life around. There are many amazing health benefits that an emotional support animal (see this ESA faqs page for more) can do in helping treat depression and other mental and emotional difficulties. Their presence isn't just there to ease the symptoms, but they also provide unconditional love and companionship to their owners.


Having an emotional support animal by your side can reduce stress, feelings of anxiety, and isolation. Knowing you have a steady and trusted friend by your side no matter what can be a huge relief. It gives you a renewed sense of hope and purpose to start over and live a better and happier life.  

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Rachel Hussey is a day-time entrepreneur. She also works as a consultant for a start-up company to help them in their marketing. She loves to write about financial hacks, crafts, and she spends the rest of her time with her fur-babies.

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