Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, with over 40 million adults in the US suffering from this mental health condition. Many forms of effective treatment are available, including medication, therapy, and psychiatric service dogs. Read on to discover what psychiatric service dogs can do for anxiety.
What is a Psychiatric Service animal?
A psychiatric service dog is an assistance animal that is trained to perform specific tasks in relation to their owner’s mental health issue or mental disability. They are very similar to service dogs, except specifically for mental health conditions. They are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), meaning they are considered necessary medical equipment and can accompany their owners almost anywhere, including in public spaces and airports.
What is an Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities. Symptoms include stress that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event, inability to set aside worry, and restlessness. About 20% of the population suffers from some form of anxiety disorder, a drastic increase from just a few years ago.
What Can Psychiatric Service Dogs Do for Anxiety?
Psychiatric service dogs can be trained to help their owners by performing specific tasks in relation to their anxiety disorder to help them in daily life. These tasks can include a wide variety of things. For example:
Standing on top of someone to hit calming pressure points in their body to help ease panic attacks.
Distracting the owner from anxious thoughts by nudging them or playing with them.
Reminding the owner to take medication on time.
Interrupting nightmares by waking the owner up.
Pick up signs of increasing anxiety and comfort the owner before they escalate further.
Warn others to give you space or stand in front of you as a barricade against the cause of anxiety.
Alert others if you are struggling or in danger.
Go and fetch medication if you are unable to get it yourself.
These are just a few examples of what psychiatric service dogs can do for anxiety. You can work with a professional trainer to train a dog to do exactly what will help you the most.
How Do you Qualify for a Psychiatric Service Dog?
In order to qualify for a psychiatric service dog, you must have a letter of certification written by a medical or mental health professional verifying your mental illness or disability and need for a service animal. This professional must diagnose you with a qualifying mental health condition, and the service dog must be trained to perform a specific task in relation to your mental health condition in order for it to qualify. Once your psychiatric service dog is certified, it is protected under the ADA and can be taken almost anywhere with you, including into airports and on flights.
United Support Animals
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in the United States and affects millions. It is treatable, and one treatment tool is a psychiatric service dog. Psychiatric service animals are dogs trained to do specific tasks in relation to your mental illness or disability. Psychiatric service dogs can do many things for anxiety, including a wide range of tasks, along with just providing a comforting presence. In order to qualify, you must have a psychiatric service dog letter of certification from a medical or mental professional. Get one quickly and easily from our experts at United Support Animal today. Take our pre-screening test now call us at 800-918-3151 or check our United Animal Support shop.