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The use of emotional support animals (ESA) has been a hot button topic in recent years. Thanks to wide-spread abuse, individuals who suffer from debilitating mental or emotional disabilities may find themselves in a situation where they need to know their rights under California and Federal law.  Understanding the basic rules governing service dogs or support animals will allow you to be better prepared should any issue arise.

What is an emotional support animal?

While many people confuse support animals with service animals, it is important to note that they are different. A service dog provides the owners with a particular trained skill such as a visually impaired individual or someone that is blind or needs assistance with physical activities require a service animal. In contrast, animals that provide a therapeutic response would be considered a support animal.  A dog or other common domesticated animal that provides support to a disabled individual through companionship, affection, non-judgmental regard, or as being a distraction from issues can be an emotional support animal. Before an animal is deemed as an ESA, a diagnosis of a mental or emotional disability that significantly limits one or more of the daily major life activities must have been made by a qualified mental health professional. Animals that can be used for support may include other species; however, cats and dogs are the ones that typically come to mind. If the disabled person’s need is exclusively limited to a residential setting, any legal species of any age could qualify as an emotional support animal including cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, birds, hedgehogs, and ferrets. These animals are subject to the community’s species regulations, registration requirements, vaccination rules, and prohibitions. However, neither the federal government, the state of California or the city of San Diego requires any type of specialized training for an emotional support animal including basic obedience.

Types of protections for Emotional support animals

ESA Protections

The federal government enacted several measures designed to protect individuals who use service dogs or support animals. As well as adherence to the federal measures, California and San Diego have supported additional rules to govern ESAs.

 

Travel

Traveling can be an anxiety-producing task for anyone. For those who have severe emotional or mental illnesses, it can be debilitating. The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) under the Department of Transportation (DOT) protects the rights of individuals using emotional support animals. Guidelines mandate that the animal is allowed to travel in the cabin along with their disabled handler for free. DOT rules for air travel allow for stricter regulations than compared to other accommodations. “Unusual” animals such as snakes, reptiles, rodents, spiders and ferrets are not allowed due to safety concerns. In addition to these limitations, many air carriers have decided to require additional information before allowing travel with emotional support animals. Widespread abuse and the issues associated with them have necessitated that air carriers require proof from a licensed healthcare professional stating your mental health disability and the need for a service animal. This letter must be dated less than one year prior to traveling and follow a specific format. Contact should be made with the carrier well in advance of travel so that travelers have an adequate amount of time to gather all pertinent information. It is also recommended 48 hours prior to air travel; additional contact is made to ensure that there are no last-minute complications that would hinder your travel plans.

While the DOT has a separate policy for air travel, other forms of transportation (mass transit buses, commuter rails, ferries, etc.) is only required to make accommodations for individuals who use service animals and do not make a distinction between them and ESAs. The local provider is allowed to treat ESAs as pets under the same pricing policy, or they are allowed to ban them entirely. Additionally, neither the ACAA nor Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protections cover ESAs in any type of transient lodging. Those wishing to travel with ESAs must be prepared to seek pet-friendly accommodations while traveling. Locations can also legally charge a pet-fee for emotional support animals, limit the types of animals and place additional requirements as they see fit.

Employment

Working With An ESA San Diego

As in all fifty states, employers in California are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. While the federal government has created a gray area when it comes to including those who use emotional support animals, California has decided to include support animals in the workplace an appropriate accommodation. Although the federal government only requires employers to have fifteen or more employees before they are subject to this law, California and San Diego make the law a requirement once the employer has a minimum of five employees.

Employers also have some protections under California law. If the accommodations would cause “undue hardship” exemption from the law might be warranted. Examples of “undue hardships” could be exuberant cost or the nature of the accommodation, the size and number of employees of the facility and the employer, the type of operation or how providing the accommodation would affect the facility and the employer. In addition to protections against undue hardships, employers have a right to expect any support animal to be free from offensive odors, has been housebroken, well behaved and not endanger the health or safety of anyone in the workplace including the handler.

Housing

The Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) has mandated that tenants or potential tenants have rights regarding emotional support animals. Reasonable accommodations designed to ensure that people with disabilities have equal protection to use and enjoy an apartment or house are strictly enforced.

Reasonable accommodations, as in employment laws would be a change or exception to a policy that would prevent a disabled individual from performing one or more functions related to life such as working or living independently. Tenants who live in San Diego and require an emotional support animal cannot be denied the right to live with their ESA unless the animal poses a threat to the safety of others or would cause significant damage to the property of others. While some landlords may believe that speculation or fear of an animal is justification for not adhering to this law, the decision must be based on factual evidence of a specific animal’s conduct.

Because the laws regarding emotional support animals are fairly new, many property owners do not know or understand the guidelines set forth by the federal or state government. If you have received your first ESA letter and are unsure of what to do next, there are few basic rules that you should remember. Additional requirements for individuals with ESAs is prohibited. For example, property owners are only entitled to the ESA letter from a qualified healthcare professional and are not entitled to any additional information or demands. Contact with the professional is limited to verifying that the letter is valid and does not include any specific medical information including but not limited to medications or course of treatment. In fact, directly contacting the healthcare professional is not advised. If a property owner or landlord suspects the information provided is fraudulent, such verification should be handled by legal representation.

ESAs cannot be required to wear identifying tags or garments nor can owners be assessed fees or deposits normally required for individuals with pets no matter what species or breed.

Property owners do have certain protections under the laws just as employers do. Though they cannot demand deposits or fees for emotional support animals, they can legally charge the tenant for repairs if the property has been damaged by the animal.

Unfortunately, public places are not required to admit emotional support animals regardless of the requirement to admit service animals. Many places in San Diego are friendly to emotional support animals however, there are just as many who do not understand their purpose. Being prepared to discuss the benefits of ESAs with misinformed businesses and individuals could help you advocate for yourself and others. Please keep in mind that although emotional support animals have numerous protections, it is imperative that ESA owners respect laws that are designed to protect others as well.

How to obtain an Emotional Support Animal in San Diego

If you feel you would benefit from an emotional support animal and live or work in San Diego, the first step would be to consult your licensed mental health professional. To legally qualify you must be certified as emotionally disabled by a licensed psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist or other properly licensed or certified mental health professional. Once diagnosed and it is determined that you would benefit from an ESA in California, a letter from that provider can be issued that outlines your specific mental or emotional disability and your need for that animal can be issued. It can take some time for this process but once completed you the benefits you will receive from your animal is worth the wait.

Give us a call at EZCare Clinic at (415) 966-0848; we’re open 7 days a week, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm PST. Or you can click here to schedule an appointment online to get your ESA today.


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It can be hard to know if you suffer from anxiety. So many things in our lives can prevent us from being properly diagnosed, whether it’s the belief that we’re fine, being used to the symptoms associated or being hesitant to seek any sort of help. EzCare Clinic can help you regain control from your anxiety with a variety of options for recovery. It can be overwhelming living with anxiety, but assistance from others who know how to treat it can be a great help. Having anxiety can be a strange and uncomfortable thing, but knowing the signs and symptoms of anxiety can help you better understand what you have and how to treat it.

What Are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

There are a variety of different anxiety symptoms. Due to possible overlap and similarities among traits, it is not unlikely for someone to have more than a few of these at a time.

Restlessness

While common in children and teens who have anxiety, adults can also suffer from restlessness. It’s not a definitive sign of anxiety, but it does count as a common symptom. If you find yourself being restless, it means you do not want to be still much of the time; this can include having feelings of needing to be in constant movement.

Irrational Fear

If you find yourself stressed out because of anxiety, it’s possible that you can develop irrational fear, or that the irrational fear is part of what makes you stressed. What makes irrational fear different from, say, traditional fear, is that you can find yourself in fear of things that, usually, do not cause the same level of concern in others. While these fears can be phobia specific, they can also be more general. Some fears might be associated with other symptoms, such as the fear of one’s next panic attack or that someone is out to get them.

Fatigue/Tiredness

Being tired may not be as strongly associated with anxiety as other symptoms, but it definitely counts as one. Someone with anxiety can suffer from fatigue regularly; it can be the result of another symptom, as well. Fatigue alone cannot classify someone as having anxiety, and it is doubtful that this fatigue alone would have someone claim they have anxiety.

Insomnia

It should be no surprise that having trouble sleeping is a well-known symptom related to anxiety. Being restless and fearful all the time can keep you up, and you might find yourself developing insomnia. This can get in the way of your daily activities as well, which can cause your work or relationships to suffer. If you had insomnia as a child, your risk for anxiety could be higher.

Worry

Being worried is nothing new, and is a very normal part of our lives. That said, if you have anxiety, you might find yourself worrying more extremely than most. Things that you could ignore or would not usually bother you are now causing you to be overly concerned. Excessive worry is a significant sign of anxiety, so consult a medical professional if you feel it is interfering with your daily life.

Lack of Concentration

You can have trouble concentrating on things if your mind is all over the place and your body is acting stressed or fidgety. Combined with other possible symptoms, one’s concentration will suffer and result in disruption of their daily lives. This lack of concentration can also result in other symptoms, as well, such as agitation and restlessness.

Panic Attacks

Sometimes known as anxiety attacks, this is when your heart starts to race, and your palms start to sweat in an irregular matter. Your body goes into a fight-or-flight state, even if there’s no actual danger present; like having irrational fear, much of the cause for a panic attack is mental. While the length of a panic attack can last for several minutes, it ultimately varies.

Agitation

If you have a combination of concern, attacks, fatigue, and restlessness, you are likely to become agitated. This means you can get easily frustrated, overwhelmed, and uneasy, all of which can be the result of anxiety.

Paranoia

Anxiety can also lead to you being paranoid, which can lead to irrational fear and panic attacks, as well as paranoia about another attack. Paranoia can also relate to you being excessively worried about others in your life, whether harm will come to them, or that someone is out to get you and your loved ones.

Sickness

All of the previously mentioned signs and symptoms of anxiety can also lead to one feeling physically ill. This can mean to you having a headache or an ill stomach, or just feeling generally low on energy.

What Are the Different Types of Anxiety?

What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety

Along with the signs associated with anxiety, there also exist different types of anxiety disorders. Your unique circumstances and situations will determine the disorder type you have; some of these are more common than others.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The most common of anxiety disorders, this is what people tend to refer to when they talk about having anxiety. Having generalized anxiety disorder means having the most common of signs, such as paranoia, frustration, worry, and fear.

Panic Disorder

This is when panic/anxiety attacks are your prime source of anxiety; physical symptoms include increased heartbeat, intense sweating, trembling, and shortness of breath. Having a panic disorder means being in fear of the next attack and avoiding places and events that could induce an attack. All of this can make the person more resistant to engagement, and may even prevent them from seeking proper help.

Agoraphobia

One of the most common anxiety disorders and phobias, agoraphobia is also well-known as social anxiety disorder. Agoraphobia is when crowds and public spaces cause anxiety, and it’s something you might try to avoid at all costs. This can include a party full of people or public transportation, where there is a lot of foot traffic. There’s also the fear of embarrassment and entrapment that can contribute to the phobia.

Phobia Specific

This is when a very specific thing causes your anxiety. While agoraphobia relates to social environments, some phobias are even more specific than that, such as a fear of snakes, spiders, flying, and of course, clowns. Unsurprisingly, an anxiety attack can occur from encountering something one has a phobia for.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

The fear of losing someone close to you, not wanting to be apart from someone, and extreme concern for what may happen to someone if you are not with them are all related to separation anxiety disorder. While more common in young children, adults are not immune to having this specific disorder.

Where Can I Get Evaluated for Anxiety?

If you suffer from any of the mentioned signs or symptoms for over six months, you should get in touch with a medical professional. EzCare Clinic will be able to help you find the best recovery options suited to your unique needs, with the assistance of our certified and licensed physicians. You can make an appointment by calling us at (415) 966-0848 or visiting our webpage. Rid yourself of anxiety and make your appointment today!

How to Get Anti-Anxiety Drugs in San Francisco

5 Effective Tips for Anxiety Management


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What Is Anxiety?

Have you ever found yourself overcome with fear over something normal? Are there certain things in life you cannot see yourself doing because your body tenses up? Do certain everyday activities, such as a commute to work or interacting with others, make you irrationally nervous? Do you want to manage your anxiety?

If you have experienced similar situations like those mentioned above, you may have a generalized anxiety disorder. Many millions across the country suffer from some type of anxiety, though only a fraction of those seek treatment. We at EzCare Clinic understand that, and we will be able to assist you with treating your anxiety in the best way possible. Each person handles anxiety differently, and we know that everyone needs their own unique options.

To know if you can be treated for anxiety, you must first understand what it means to have this disorder. It’s possible you may not even realize you have it, but find yourself unknowingly having symptoms. This leads to people living their lives as they would, but with the added burden of dealing with anxiety as a regular thing. They will go about their day as usual, and at any particular moment, their anxiety might kick in. Instead of considering treatment, they will just learn to “live with it.”

How one reaches a point of anxiety tends to come from past experiences that have since become traumatic. If a person had even one terrible experience with speaking in front of a crowd, it could convince them for life to never do it again. All subsequent moments where they might be faced to perform public speaking again will result in their anxiety coming out; this can result in a panic attack, or their body might just shut down out of fright.

Anxiety

Tackling anxiety disorder means getting to the root of what causes one’s panic, fear, or insecurities. Therapists work with the patient to understand where the problems are coming from, be them a current work situation, relationships, or past experiences. Sometimes the patient will have to look deep enough within themselves to the point where they relive a traumatic moment. These forms of therapy can differ in their methods and results, but they all exist with the aim of helping the patient finally break free of their anxiety.

Drugs for Anxiety In San Francisco

In addition to traditional forms of therapy, it’s popular for patients to seek medication for their anxiety disorders. Medication also makes it easier for more people to take care of any anxiety issues they may be having. There are also many brands in the market, so the options for what type of anti-anxiety drugs to choose from is extensive. At the same time, it’s vital to understand that all drugs for treating anxiety are different in terms of their chemical makeup. While one brand might work well for some, it may be ineffective or harmful for others. Keep this in mind when consulting with your physician about which drugs are best for you.

The two most well-known types of medication for anxiety are:

These two drug types are designed to influence your neurotransmitters so that your body and mind can better relax. Both antidepressants and benzodiazepines have a set of drugs that fall under them and are relatively easy to get, with the help of a doctor’s prescription.

Antidepressants include:

Many of these antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs); they can raise the levels of serotonin in your body.

Benzodiazepines include:

While these drugs offer similar results, due to their different chemical makeup, their effectiveness can vary, as well as how long they can last.

How to Ask Your Doctor for Anti-Anxiety Drugs In San Francisco

How To Get Anxiety Drugs

In order to get anti-anxiety medication, you must be approved by a DEA-licensed physician. If the doctor you see is not DEA-licensed, they will not be able to prescribe you for any medication. This doctor will give you a thorough evaluation, which will allow them to best decide whether anti-anxiety drugs will work for you at all. Once you are approved, you will discuss with your doctor which drug option is best for you. You will likely be prescribed a low dosage to start, though this can be increased later if needed.

If you are considering ways to deal with your anxiety in conjunction with, or as an alternative to medication, read more here.

Recreational Use and Consequences In San Francisco

Like any form of medication aimed at making the patient feel better, anti-anxiety drugs are very easy to abuse. Due to their legality and that they can be officially prescribed from a licensed medical doctor, it’s understandable as to why some people may not even see themselves as abusing the drugs in question. The possibilities for abuse increase when you consider how easy it is for a person to ask for a higher dosage.

Over the last several years, these anti-anxiety drugs—benzodiazepine in particular—have proven fatal in cases of overdose. Add to the fact that benzodiazepines are among the highest prescribed forms of medication, it comes almost as no surprise that it has caused deaths. However, the more shocking thing is how high benzodiazepine tracks when compared to illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin. While not as high as opioids, benzodiazepines have caused more overdoses than both cocaine and heroin within the last several years.

Side-Effects

Like any medication type, anti-anxiety drugs come with side-effects. Make sure to look over these when deciding on which drug to take.

  • Nausea: It’s possible taking these drugs can make you feel nauseous, but it’s not the most unusual feeling. It could be that your body is still getting used to the drug, or that you don’t have enough food in your system, so make sure not to take any drugs on an empty stomach.
  • Fatigue: Medication can make you more tired than you want to. If you feel tired during your time taking the drug, try to maybe do some exercise (to increase your energy) and take naps.
  • Insomnia: Restlessness is a serious side-effect that can get in the way of your treatment. If you can, take your medication in the mornings, and talk with your doctor if it continues.
  • Weight Gain: This is definitely not something you want happening as you try to recover from anxiety. You can consult with a dietitian if you think it’s best; otherwise, make sure you watching what you eating.
  • Sex: If you’re planning to stay sexually active while you take medication, you should understand the risks. You may find yourself unable to reach orgasms, stay erect, or have a sex drive.
  • Dry Mouth: You can keep your mouth wet by drinking water and chewing on sugarless gum and candy. Be sure to avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks, as these will just further dry your mouth.

Anxiety Treatment in San Francisco

You can come to EzCare Clinic if you feel you need to be treated for anxiety disorder in San Francisco. Our licensed doctors will be able to give you an evaluation and see if you can be prescribed anti-anxiety drugs. Don’t let anxiety keep getting the best of you. Call us today at (415) 966-0848 anytime between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm PST or visit our webpage to set up an appointment.


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