Addiction Recovery

Benefits Of Having An Emotional Support Animal

March 14, 2022

Find out all the different benefits of having emotional support animals.

More than 90 million households in the United States own a pet based on 2021- 2012 data gathered by the American Pet Products Association through their National Pet Owners Survey. At present, we see that often the bond between humans and their pets is like that of family. However, according to Bayer Company, this has evolved throughout time over a span of 15,000 years.

Before, the relationship between humans and pets was more for utility or benefit and was centered on being a working partnership. However, at present, we see that humans who keep animals do not necessarily do it for the protection or service that the latter can provide their owners. Over time, we have witnessed that a bond between a pet and its owner can greatly impact a person's mental health through emotional support.

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Pet lovers attest to the kind of joy that their pets give them, furry or not. Stories or testimonials of unconditional love and understanding that pets give their owners abound everywhere, and that is why mental health professionals acknowledge that having pets help improve a person's overall mental, emotional, and psychological well-being. Although most pet lovers keep animals as companions or part of the family, there are other numerous advantages of keeping pets, particularly when one needs mental and emotional support.

5 Benefits Of Having An Emotional Support Animal

Numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of having an emotional support animal to improve one's mental health; that is why many mental health professionals have recommended time and time again to keep pets. The science behind these claims includes the release of neurotransmitters and the therapeutic effects of a pet's presence and companionship to its owner. So here are some of the emotional support animal benefits and why you should consider getting one:

Releasing Of Happy Hormones

Our brain produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter called the "happy hormone," because it helps make you feel good. When a person's brain releases enough dopamine, it aids in ensuring emotional stability and improves mood. When we spend time with our pets and do things that make us feel great or happy, dopamine is released in the brain. In turn, we feel good and happy. The surge of happy hormones improves our mood, and the pleasure our pets make us feel translates to a better mental and emotional state.

Reducing Feelings Of Isolation

Pets may vary in shapes, species, and sizes, but one thing is certain--they reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. The companionship that pets provide their owners helps lessen feeling alone. Pets also improve their owner's social relationships and interaction with other people, particularly other pet lovers or pet owners. For example, a person walking their dog in the park has a potential opening for conversations or small talk with other pet owners. First-time pet owners also tend to socialize or interact with other "hoomans."

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Easing Discomfort

Science shows that pets, particularly emotional support animals, react intuitively when their owners experience panic attacks, anxiety, or discomfort. Pet owners diagnosed with mental illnesses may need a medical setting for treatment. However, those who only need to enroll in an outpatient program can be supported by their emotional support animals at home. Since certain pets can identify changes in hormonal levels or sense changes in their owners, having a pet for mental and emotional support can be part of holistic outpatient treatment for those suffering from mental illnesses.

Improving Physical Activity

According to Harvard Health, exercise shows promise when it comes to improvement from mental illness, particularly in addiction recovery. Since emotional support animals such as dogs are linked with physical activity and outdoor play, a pet owner's physical health also improves. This is just one of the benefits of having an emotional support animal. Dogs and even other pets require regular feeding and petting, and exercise.

More often than not, pet owners have improved physical activity levels thanks to their pets, whose presence encourages healthy outdoor exercises. Since physical exercise with pets, particularly dogs, entails walking or outdoor play, these activities with your pets can be a part of a holistic outpatient addiction treatment. Mental illnesses such as substance abuse may be addressed or at the very least alleviated with the help of your dogs and pets in general. Hopefully, taking in a pet can improve one's physical, mental, and emotional health.

Strengthening Emotional Intelligence

Having pets means learning more about being empathic, compassionate, and responsible. In addition, studies have shown that children learn more of these values through their pets. According to research, interacting with pets can be quite beneficial too for children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and autism. Apart from abated loneliness and improved levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, it was found out that prisoners who have interacted with pets and other emotional support animals have improved and exhibited long-term behavioral changes. Since touching a pet such as hugging and petting provides stress relief, emotional intelligence, and emotional stability are also improved.

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Humans since time immemorial have relied on animals for service and protection. However, pets nowadays are already regarded as family, and they definitely help improve one's mental health. There are numerous benefits of having an emotional support animal. Although we tend to get pets only for fun or companionship, owning one has equally amazing advantages.

This includes an overall improvement in a person's mental health, thanks to the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Pet owners also become more sociable, and their feelings of isolation or loneliness are lessened. In addition, having an emotional support animal eases a person's discomfort thanks to the intuitive nature of animals that can suddenly sense changes in the emotions of their pet owners. Humans who have pets also have more physical activity than usual because outdoor exercise becomes inevitable if they choose to have pets, particularly dogs.

Begin strengthening your EQ with Another Chance Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center in Portland. If you have any queries, do not hesitate to email us at or call us at (971) 272-8968.