Studies show that about 6 million men suffer from depression every year. Did you know that the weight of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder can be lightened with the help of an emotional support animal (ESA)? These furry animals are helping improve this statistic.
Before you seek aid on how to ask a doctor for an emotional support animal, let’s go over some benefits of an ESA for men. You’ll be surprised to learn all about the role these animals play in men’s mental health.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that relieves the effects or symptoms of a myriad of disabilities. Some common disabilities an ESA can support are depression, PTSD, anxiety, autism, among others. ESA’s are not restricted by species; however, the most commonly sought ESA’s are dogs.
This is not to be confused with a service dog. Service dogs have been specifically trained for a task, like supporting a person who is blind. ESA’s are intended to offer emotional support or companionship. With this definition in mind, let’s jump into some benefits emotional support animals bring.
Improves Exercise Habits
Depression, anxiety, and PTSD can make it hard to find the motivation needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, an ESA has the same needs as any other dog. They need to get out for exercise, which means you will be right there with them. Exercise is linked to endorphins (that chemical in the brain that makes you feel good), which can help alleviate depression.
Additionally, dogs thrive on consistency. This means you will make and maintain a daily routine instead of exercising with the highs and lows of your mental health issues. Consistency in your routine can reduce stress and anxiety, leading to a healthier lifestyle.
Anxiety can make it difficult to socialize and depression can make it hard to find the motivation to try. Studies show that men need social connectedness for their mental health. ESA dogs are great for socialization because they tend to be friendly and can be that pull you need to meet someone new or a way to spend time with friends.
Dogs are also a form of socialization on their own. Having a constant companion can help keep depression from worsening and give you purpose since you have to focus on their needs as well as your own.
Boosts Self Esteem
The responsibility of caring for an ESA can also aid your mental health. This can build your self-esteem by giving you ownership over your ESA as you care for them. It is proof and reassurance you can care for both this animal and you. The responsibilities that come with an ESA provide social benefits and structural continuity to lessen the weight of various mental health concerns.
Additionally, with an ESA, you’ll find you’re making a difference in the life of your furry friend. They truly cannot live without you (or want to). They offer a healthy boost to self-esteem, consequently self-worth.
There is increasing research on both men’s mental health and the effect dogs have on your well-being. While millions are affected by mental health conditions, many have found refuge and results in the love of an ESA. These studies attest to stress reduction, easement of anxiety and depression, decreasing loneliness, and improving your overall health.
The simple act of playing with dogs can elevate dopamine and oxytocin! Therefore, the bond created with an ESA specifically selected to support you emotionally is unmatched. The unconditional love of an animal is something all men can understand and benefit from.