Author: Zara Megan
Sometimes we are not ready to share our mental health problems with other people, even with licensed professionals in this field. This often happens because we don’t want to appear weak and vulnerable. In such cases, psychiatric service animals are the best option.
What is a psychiatric service dog?
There are situations in life when our psychological health needs help. Many people pay more attention to physical conditions, but our mental health also sometimes requires the aid of specialists. In such cases, first of all, you need to contact a psychiatrist or psychologist who will help you quickly and effectively deal with your problem. However, apart from consulting a therapist, there are other treatment options for mental malady. One of them is the use of psychiatric service animals.
A psychiatric service dog aids its owner to overcome depression, anxiety, PTSD, and many other mental disorders that significantly impair a person’s quality of life. The dog performs the function of a friend, companion, silent interlocutor, but at the same time it is taught to fulfill tasks aimed at facilitating the daily life of its owner.
The contrast between ESA and a service animal
The main distinctive feature is that psychiatric service dogs, like all service animals, undergo special training. For several months, the animal is trained to be obedient, to follow the commands of the owner, and also to perform some assignments. For example, a psychiatric service dog can make sure that the owner takes the demanded medications on time, or provide first aid if necessary.
On the other hand, emotional support animals do not need any special courses or certificates to help their owners. To be a faithful companion and to help a person with their presence are their primary tasks. In this regard, they do not require special ID cards to confirm their status. However, their rights are limited. If necessary, you can train the ESA to execute the basic commands that you see fit. All animals are trainable to one degree or another, so you can train them yourself or ask about professional assistance.
How to register a psychiatric service animal?
After receiving the necessary documents from your therapist, we recommend using the approved online service to get an Psychiatric Service Dog ID Card. Online registration for obtaining a service animal is by far the easiest and fastest way. You will need to fill out a short form and attach any required paperwork from your therapist.
After completing all these steps, you will receive a response on the provision of a service animal as soon as possible. After that, it will be possible to take the animal from a specialized training center. The first two weeks of the owner with a new animal are supervised by specialists. Professionals will teach you how to properly handle the animal and give commands so that they are fulfilled.
The list of mental frustrations
Most often, psychiatric service animals are needed by veterans who have had traumatic life experiences. People returning from combat often suffer from PTSD and other disorders. For example, they may suffer from flashbacks or panic attacks. Such attacks happen unexpectedly, can happen in a public place or in a dream. In such cases, the animal is needed to ensure the safety of its owner, to help him get home or to another safe place. If a panic attack occurs during sleep, the animal senses physiological changes in the host’s condition, such as rapid heart and pulse rate and shortness of breath. A dog can wake a person up and help him recover faster.
Also, the animal helps people with social and antisocial disorders. If a person suffers from social phobia and cannot be in society because he feels vulnerable, the animal provides the necessary psychological support.
Thanks to this, the person feels more confident. He or she becomes more open and sociable, gradually begins to make new friends and feels more free in society.
Other disorders for which a psychiatric service dog can help include anxiety, depression, eating disorder, OCD, obsessive and suicidal thoughts, and many others.
To get a psychiatric service animal, first and foremost, you need to see a doctor, a professional in the subject. The therapist will assess your condition and how a psychiatric service dog can help you. It is important to understand that the animal is only supportive therapy, which is used in conjunction with regular visits to a psychologist or psychiatrist, as well as in conjunction with medication.
Also, the most important point is the absence of fear of dogs or other animals. Also, you will not be able to get a mental health service animal order for allergies. All this must be taken into account so that the animal really helps you get rid of your disorders, and does not aggravate the situation.