Home » The Role of Emotional Support Animals In Addiction Recovery.

The Role of Emotional Support Animals In Addiction Recovery.

Posted on April 27, 2023 by Vincent Maldonado
Addiction is a complex and widespread problem that impacts millions of people worldwide. Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, gambling, or any other form of addiction, the impact can be devastating. Addiction can cause physical, mental, and emotional damage, strain relationships, and even lead to legal problems.

Because it affects the brain’s normal functions, addiction compels someone to repeatedly follow or consume addicted things, even knowing their harmful consequences. Addiction is treatable. It’s crucial to seek help as soon as possible.

Some addiction treatment options are available, but an emotional support animal (ESA) is gaining popularity for helping people with addiction. ESA is an animal that helps people reduce their symptoms and live better lives. ESAs are scientifically proven to help patients with addiction and mental and emotional health concerns.

In this blog, we will explore more about addiction, shed light on how ESA can help people with addiction, and see some success stories. We’ll also discuss how you can get an emotional support animal for your addiction.

emotional support Animals in addiction recovery

What is the Definition of Addiction or Substance Use Disorder?

Addiction is a complex, chronic brain disease that involves regular drug use despite negative consequences. Addiction can take different forms, including physical, psychological, or both, and can involve substances such as drugs and alcohol or activities such as gambling, gaming, or social media use.

Addiction is often accompanied by an intense craving for the substance or behavior, loss of control over its use, and withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped or reduced. It’s a severe problem that can seriously impact an individual’s mental and physical health, relationships, and overall quality of life.

What Are The Physical Health Consequences of Addiction, and The Role of Emotional Support Animals?

A person with addiction often has one or more associated physical health issues that can badly impact their way of living. Addiction may cause:

High Blood Pressure

Addiction affects the central nervous system, a critical system in the human body that takes care of vital regulatory systems. These systems are responsible for what we need to live, including blood pressure.
* The Role of Emotional Support Animals in Treating High Blood Pressure
Scientific research has shown that emotional support animals can have a calming effect on the body, which may help to lower blood pressure. Moreover, an ESA can provide comfort and companionship, promoting feelings of happiness and contentment that may contribute to reducing blood pressure levels.

Higher Heart Rate

Addiction can promote a higher heart rate. Many addictive substances, such as cocaine, caffeine, and marijuana, can increase heart rate as part of their pharmacological effects. When a person becomes addicted, their heart rate can remain elevated for extended periods, leading to various health problems, such as a higher heart rate.
* The Role of Emotional Support Animals in Treating Higher Heart Rate
Spending time with an emotional support animal helps to feel more relaxed and calm, which may indirectly lead to a lower heart rate. Additionally, ESA has been shown to have a calming effect on some individuals, which may also help lower heart rates.

Feelings of Sleepy

Addiction can relate to feelings of sleepiness. It can cause sleep problems or make them worse. Addiction can disrupt standard sleep patterns, leading to chronic sleep deprivation or poor-quality sleep. Disturbed sleeping may impact the body and mind.
* The Role of Emotional Support Animals in Treating Feelings of Sleepy
The most common benefit of ESA is promoting physical activity. They will engage you in playing with them, which can help relax your mind and body. These benefits can lead to better sleep.

Less Physical Activity

Being addicted can lead to a less physically active lifestyle, as addicted individuals may spend most of their time lying in bed or sitting in one place. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to various health issues, such as fatigue, muscle weakness, and reduced motivation.
* The Role of ESA in Decreased Physical Activity.
Caring for an ESA can also require physical activity, such as walking or playing with the animal, which can provide opportunities for physical activity. Exercise increases the amount of oxygen pumped to your heart, and muscles become stronger, protecting your bones from injury or joint-related problems.

What Are The Mental Health Consequences of Addiction, And How Can ESA Help?

Mental health consequences of addiction

Addiction can negatively impact a person’s mental health, as it can affect brain chemistry and result in changes in behavior, mood, and cognitive function. Over time, this can lead to the development of mental health disorders. Here are some mental health disorders that may be caused by addiction and how ESA can help in recovering from these disorders:

Depression, Anxiety, or Stress

Addiction can lead to depression, anxiety, or stress by disrupting the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, which can cause a decrease in the levels of serotonin and dopamine. This decrease in neurotransmitters may result in a depressive mood.
* The Role of ESA in Depression, Anxiety, or Stress
Interacting with ESA encourages your brain’s natural release of happiness chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine while reducing the depressive hormone cortisol. ESA is a drug-free way to decrease anxiety and stress and lower depressive symptoms.

Loss of Motivation.

A loss of motivation is a common symptom of Addiction. It can make you feel hopeless, isolated, and unloved. An addicted person may find it challenging to engage in activities they used to enjoy or feel less motivated to pursue their goals.
* The Role of ESA in Loss of Motivation
When someone struggles with motivation, having an ESA can help them feel more encouraged to engage in activities. They can help increase motivation by providing a sense of structure and routine, giving a sense of purpose and responsibility. Moreover, interacting with an ESA can release endorphins in the brain, boosting mood and increasing motivation.

Feeling of Loneliness

Addiction can also lead to loneliness because when you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may prioritize substance use over your relationships with family or friends. As the addiction progress, you may behave rudely and become unreliable, which can cause your loved ones to distance themselves, leading to further feelings of loneliness.
* The Role of ESA in Loneliness?
ESAs have been known to provide companionship and comfort to their owners. Many scientific studies have suggested that they can reduce feelings of loneliness and improve overall health in individuals with addiction.

Decrease Sociability

Addiction can cause you to prioritize substance use over social activities. This can lead to mood, personality, and behavior changes, making social interactions difficult or uncomfortable.
* The Role of ESA in Decrease sociability?
Emotional support animals can help you to increase sociability. By walking ESA, you will connect with different people, which increases your interaction and confidence. Additionally, the presence of an ESA can help reduce feelings of social anxiety and stress in situations where the individual may feel isolated.

Some success stories of individuals struggling with addiction have received treatment with emotional support animals (ESAs).

1. Mack, 28, and her drug addiction

I am Mack, 28 years old, and a resident of Amsterdam, NY. Since the age of 22, I have struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol. For me, alcohol is not just a problem but a solution to my cravings. Like other addicted individuals, my hands start trembling, and I get an intense headache, at which point I need to consume drugs or alcohol at any cost. I eventually left my job and started borrowing money from people I knew.

My wife consulted with a doctor to start my treatment. After several therapy sessions, the doctor suggested we consider getting an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) to aid in my recovery. We decided to adopt a dog named Nios, and the doctor helped us with all the necessary legal formalities.

Nios provided me with emotional support and slowly reduced my cravings for alcohol. The dog kept me busy and distracted my mind from my addiction. As a result, I was able to maintain my sobriety for longer periods and achieve mental peace.

2. Camila 28, California

After realizing my addiction, I never thought I could live a fulfilling and stable life. I felt trapped in a cycle of substance abuse and anxiety. However, everything changed when my doctor recommended an emotional support animal (ESA).

Initially, I thought, “How can an animal treat my addiction? This is bullshit.” I believed my doctor was fooling me with this de-addiction therapy. But after conducting some research on ESA, I decided to give it a try. I adopted a cat named Brio. My doctor certified her as an ESA.

Having an ESA has provided me with a sense of calmness. It has helped me stay sober because I want to be present and care for my Brio. My cat always provides comfort and support when I feel anxious or overwhelmed. He helps me feel grounded and reminds me that I’m not alone. Having an ESA has been a key part of my de-addiction story, and I’m grateful for his positive impact on my life.

How to Get Emotional Support Animals For Addiction?

Before getting an emotional support animal for your addiction, learn about the ESA letter.

ESA letter is a document issued by a licensed mental health professional to certify that a person has a mental health condition and that their emotional support animal provides them with therapeutic support and comfort.

If you believe you could benefit from having an emotional support animal (ESA), you can follow these steps to get one:

Fill up and Submit ESA Evaluation Form Online.

First, complete the online evaluation form on Fast ESA Letter, including your medical details and your animal description.

Get Evaluated by a Licensed Professional.

Next, a licensed mental health professional will review your form. Based on your details and responses, they will approve your request for an Emotional Support Animal.

Receive Your ESA Letter Instantly via E-mail.

Once approved, you will receive your ESA letter at your email address. Then, you can download or print your letter and present it to the property owner.

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Looking To Apply For An Emotional Support Animal Letter?

1. Fill up and Submit ESA Evaluation Form Online.

2. Get Evaluated by a Licensed Professional.

3. Get Approved, and Receive Your ESA Letter Instantly via E-mail.

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