PTSD & ESAs – How Pet’s Our Helping Our Nations Heros

It is estimated that around 15% of veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is a sizeable amount of the population.  PTSD can be brought about a number way. Returning servicemen and servicewomen are susceptible to PTSD more than the general population due to their extended stays in volatile locations. Symptoms of PTSD can be extremely debilitating and person s who are affected by this are in constant need of relief.

As of now, there are a few types of routes that veterans who suffer from PTSD can take with respect to animal care: service dogs and emotional service animals (ESAs).

Service Dogs:

Service dogs are expertly trained to accomplish tasks that their owners cannot, which include being the guide for somebody who is blind, pick up things, or warn nearby people that somebody is having a stroke/seizure. There are also Psychiatric Service dogs, which are specifically trained to combat psychological and emotional disorders.

Psychiatric service dogs (PSD) are individually trained for people who have extremely debilitating symptoms resulting from mental or psychological disorders. PTSD may fall into the category in which somebody may need to be prescribed a PSD.  In order to obtain a PSD, a person needs to receive a letter from a licensed therapist or medical professional that outlines the needs for a PSD and what symptoms it will be used to combat.

There are many rules that make it easier to have a psychiatric service dog, since they have the same privileges as physical service dogs. Service dogs are usually allowed to accompany their owners into most places where the general public is allowed. Common places such as grocery stores and restaurants are places that allow service dogs.

Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals (ESAs) are not relegated to just the canine species, but can also include all types of animals such as cats, birds, horses. The ESA is not necessarily trained to perform any tasks. Although all animals may provide relief for their owners, ESAs are specifically prescribed to people with individuals with disabilities diagnosed by licensed psychiatrists or professional medical staffs. The purpose of the animal is thus to provide relief to their owner as a form of companion therapy, which can be extremely useful for people who suffer from PTSD.

Service dog laws do not apply to emotional support animals, so there may be more restrictions on where the ESA may be allowed. But for the most part, ESAs are protected by law in important situations such as living and traveling. The Fair Housing Act explains that tenants with emotional support animals must not be discriminated against and proper living accommodations must be given. The Air Carrier Access Act says that passengers on airplanes who attempt to bring on their emotional support animal, with the proper documentation, are allowed to bring the ESA into the cabin with no extra charges.

The Animals and PTSD

Therapy animals have been used in many instances to care for people for decades, whether they are physically ill and have emotional problems. Animals are finally being used to help people who are diagnosed with PTSD and the symptoms that come along with that. PTSD has been a problem diagnosis for many years, as victims of this psychological torment have usually been told to undergo counseling, medication, or partnering with others. Now, doctors are turning to the use of animals and the research supporting their use looks promising.

Service animals are usually restricted to dogs. In the case of having an emotional support animal, you can choose any animal that would help to ease your symptoms. The ESAs reduce stress, reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, promote exercise, and most important of all, for people who suffer from PTSD, help reduce PTSD symptoms.

Having an ESA requires commitment to care for your animal. For somebody who is suffering from PTSD, having this requirement helps the person to act without having to fall victim to their symptoms. Also, since animals are very affectionate, having an animal around is a never ending stream of care and affection for the person.  There are many reasons that are beneficial to have a pet around for people who are suffering from PTSD.

Studies have come back evaluating the matter and show that patients who used an animal usually suffer from 82% less symptoms. In fact, patients who only spent one week with an animal were reported to suffer less anxiety and reduce the use of medication.

If you know somebody who is looking to own an Emotional Support Animal to combat PTSD, learn more out ESA Co.’s Qualification Page