Over the last few years, we have witnessed a significant increase in mental health issues. Mental problems range from day to day anxiety to extreme and life-threatening conditions.
Mental health is an emerging concern. How can we battle this issue?
Different people have different ways of coping with the symptoms. Some resort to prescription medication; others seek therapy.
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Pets and Mental Health
Do pets help with depression? There has been an inclination towards using animals to mitigate the symptoms of mental health issues. Is the use of pets the best strategy?
In this article, we shall look into the viability of this strategy. We shall look into the seven ways that pets can alleviate the symptoms of poor mental health.
1. Pets can Improve the Quality of Your Sleep
Mental Health Issue: Sleeping Disorders
A sleeping disorder is a condition that drastically changes your sleeping habits. Healthy sleeping patterns are crucial to sound mental health.
Below are the leading causes of sleep disorders:
- Medical Issues: Chronic medical conditions can alter your sleeping habits. Conditions like migraines, arthritis, and lupus syndrome can affect your sleeping patterns.
- Psychiatric Disorders: These disorders include anxiety and depression.
- Environmental Issues: Includes the things that surround your sleeping environment. For example, a snoring spouse, noisy neighbor, etc.
Symptoms of Sleeping Disorders
- Finding difficulty in falling asleep
- Day time fatigue
- Irritability and anxiety
- The urge to take day naps
Treatment for Sleep Disorders
a) Emotional Support Animals (ESA)
An emotional support animal is a pet that provides comfort to help you quiet down the symptoms of mental health issues. Here are some steps on how you can cure sleeping disorders using ESAs.
Step 1: Identify and measure your sleeping disorder. Are you sleeping less than four hours a day? Is there anything interrupting your sleep? If so, you have a sleep disorder.
Step 2: Schedule an appointment with a doctor. Let the doctor carry out a full examination and diagnose your illness.
Step 3: Do some research about emotional support animals. Ask around about ESA therapy and its benefits.
Step 4: Seek an ESA letter from a credible source. This document will allow you to live and travel with your pet.
Step 5: Buy your emotional support animal. Whether it’s a dog, cat, or hamster, you are free to get the animal of your liking.
Step 6: Play with your animal. Make some time, interact with your pet. Buy a frisbee, throw a couple of rounds. Pet your cat.
Step 7: Make a habit of sleeping alongside your pet.
Step 8: By taking part in activities with your pet, you are likely to experience an increase in oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is your love hormone.
Step 9: Increased levels of oxytocin will improve the quality of your sleep. You will take a shorter time before you fall asleep. Oxytocin release has a link to quality sleep and healthy sleeping patterns.
Step 10: Recover from your sleeping disorder. You will notice a change as your sleeping hours increase from three to six. You will also experience better sleep and fewer interruptions.
At EzCare Clinic, we help patients find their emotional support animals. We accomplish this mission by issuing credible ESA letters. Our licensed therapists will assist you through your battle against sleep disorders.
b) Pharmaceutical Solutions
A wide range of medications is available for the treatment of sleeping disorders. Like other pharmaceutical medication, these drugs come with side effects. You need to consult a doctor before administering these drugs. We shall discuss some of the drugs that are effective against sleeping disorders.
Below are treatment options for sleeping disorders:
- Anti-Parkinsonian Drugs
- Non-Benzodiazepine Hypnotics
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c) Lifestyle Changes
Sometimes the solution is not in medicine. Sometimes the cure is simple, as simple as a lifestyle change. A change in lifestyle or behavior can help you regain healthy sleeping habits.
Below are healthy lifestyles that can be useful.
- Consume more vegetable
- Drink plenty of water
- Reduce your sugar intake
- Limit your caffeine intake
- Consume low carbohydrate nighttime meals
- Formulate a sleeping routine and follow it
d) Regular Exercise
Physical training has a positive effect on mental health as it does on physical health. Working out is a natural way to improve the quality of your sleep. How working our improves your sleep cycle is still a mystery, but exercise is quite useful. Could it have something to do with the stimulation of specific hormones during a workout? Your guess is as good as mine.
Establishing the best time for your work out has everything to do with the treatment process. Physical activity in the late hours may interfere with the regulation of your sleep.
2. Pets Can Help You Conquer Your Fear of Flight
The Topic of Concern: Aerophobia
Aerophobia is the fear of flying. There are many causes of aerophobia.
Below are the leading causes:
- A Traumatic Flight Experience: A bad flying experience can instill fear. Having lived through a “close call” during a trip can cause trauma.
- News About Plane Crushes: You don’t need to live through a plane crash to suffer from aerophobia. Heavy media coverage on crashes often induces fear in some people.
- Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety fears may cause aerophobia.
The symptoms of aerophobia include:
- Persistent anxiety during flights
- Chronic fear of crashing
- Panic attacks and vomiting during flights
a) Emotional Support Animal
Below are some helpful tips that will help you overcome aerophobia using ESAs.
Step 1: Consult with your doctor. Your doctor can give you a detailed insight into your phobia and its management.
Step 2: Enquire about the criteria for receiving an ESA letter. Enquire about eligibility and evaluate yourself. An ESA letter gives allows you to live and travel with your support animal.
Step 3: Aquire your ESA letter from a legitimate source. With the letter you can travel with your pet, free from additional charges.
Step 4: Research on the kind of animals that they allow on planes. Adopt a pet that meets these conditions.
Step 5: Ensure that you carry your pet the next time you travel. Make sure that you always have the appropriate documentation for such trips.
Step 6: Sit close to your pet. Ensure that you always have access to the animal.
Step 7: During the flight, make eye contact with your pet.
Step 8: Smile at your pet to calm the animal. Pet the animal from time to time. Engage the animal as much as possible.
Step 9: Arrived safely? Engaging your pet will help you have an anxiety-free flight. Thanks to the ESA, you can get to your destination without any panic attacks.
Some people navigate around their fear of flying by finding alternative means. This option could mean wasting a lot of time on a trip that could have been faster by flight. In this sense, an emotional support animal can help you save time.
Visit EZCare Clinic or book an appointment with us.
b) Relaxation Techniques and Therapies
Below is a relaxation technique that can help you keep calm during flights.
- Lengthen your breaths by two to three seconds. In this exercise, inhale deeply and hold your breath for about three seconds. Exhale slowly through your nose.
- Alternate your breaths between your nostrils. Block one nostril and allow air to flow in through the other. Repeat this exercise, blocking the other nostril.
- The 4-7-8 technique could be useful. In this method, breathe through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath until the seventh second, then breathe out on the eighth second.
- You can also try the tense muscle technique. This method involves tensing every muscle of your body. Starting from your face muscles to your toes. While flexing your muscles, breathe in for three to four seconds. Finish by exhaling through your mouth on the fifth or sixth second.
c) The Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy is a method of treating phobias and anxiety disorders. The treatment involves exposing the patient to visual stimuli through virtual reality images.
Exposure therapy is useful in the treatment of different phobias. A large number of patients have reported encouraging results. These include the reduction of fear and avoidance.
3. Pets for Mental Health
The Topic of Concern: Depression
Depression is a mental health disorder that associates with dull moods. A person suffering from depression is likely to exhibit persistent loss of interest in activities. In severe cases, depression can get in the way of your personal or professional life.
Below are the leading causes of depression:
- Certain Medication: Drugs like isotretinoin, corticosteroids, and interferon-alpha increase the risk of depression.
- Death of a Loved One: Loss of a loved one is likely to cause depression.
- Abuse or Trauma: Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse in your past could cause depression
- Genetics: Some people have a higher disposition to depression than others.
- Chronic Illnesses: Long-term diseases could push someone into a deep depression.
- Substance Abuse and Addiction: Drug addicts are more likely to suffer from depression than non-addicts.
- Sleep Deprivation: Poor sleeping habits can cause depression.
The symptoms of depression include:
- Lack of motivation
- Constant fatigue
- Loss of appetite or overindulgence in food
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of guilt
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of confidence in making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts
How pets help with depression?
a) Emotional Support Animals
With the steps below, you can acquire an ESA and combat depression:
Step 1: Analyze your symptoms and quantify the severity of your condition.
Step 2: Consult with your doctor. Seek a professional diagnosis for your depression.
Step 3: Consult with your doctor on possible avenues for treatment. Explore the option of emotional support animals. Discuss this treatment with your doctor.
Step 4: Get an ESA letter from a legitimate source.
Step 5: Pick a pet that comforts you.
Step 6: Engage your pet. Play some games and bond. Let your pet comfort you.
Step 7: Share your insecurities and secrets with your pet. The advantage of having an animal friend is that they give you unconditional love. Pets don’t judge you; they do not care about your past.
Step 8: Pet your ESA as much as you can. Allow yourself to heal in this new relationship.
Step 9: As you bond with your support animal, your body releases more serotonin (the happiness hormone). This hormone makes you happier and calmer.
Step 10: Thanks to your ESA, you can live a depression free life.
At EzCare clinic, we issue ESA letters to patients suffering from depression. Consult with us to discuss your options. Our team of professionals is here to help. Click the button below!
b) Antidepressant Medication
Antidepressants are drugs that can alleviate the symptoms of depression. Some of these drugs act by stimulating the production of serotonin in the brain. Other drugs act by decreasing the clearance of this happiness hormone.
Doctors can prescribe antidepressants independently or in combination with other drugs.
Below is a list of common types of antidepressants:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)
- Serotonin and Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI)
- Serotonin Modulator (Voertioxetine)
- Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA)
- Tetracyclic Antidepressants
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI)
Precautionary Note: Consult your doctor before taking these drugs. The medication has powerful active ingredients. Some side effects could be overwhelming.
Psychotherapy involves actively talking to a mental health professional.
Psychotherapy will help help you accomplish the following:
- Recognition of negative thoughts and replacing them with positive thoughts
- Adjusting to crisis
- Finding better ways to cope with your situation
- Behavior change
- Management of anger and hopelessness
- Management of the symptoms of depression
d) Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
ECT works on the principle that electric currents can influence the function of neurotransmitters. We reserve this treatment for patients who do not respond to other forms of treatment. ECT is also an alternative to patients who cannot tolerate the side effects of medication or allergies to ESA.
4. Managing Chronic Pain with ESAs
The Topic of Concern: Chronic Pain
Pain is a reaction of the nervous system to injury. Pain alerts us on the site of injury so we may take action. After the injury heals, the pain becomes less severe. However, in the case of chronic pain, the nervous system continues to send pain signals way after an injury heals.
Chronic pain may affect your mobility, endurance, and strength. It can get in the way of your personal or professional life.
Causes of chronic pain:
- Nerve injury
- Psychogenic problems
Symptoms of chronic pain
- Stabbing sensations
- Mood swings
- Loss of stamina
4. Treating and Managing Chronic Pain
There are quite a few options that are worth exploring.
a) Emotional Support Animals and Pets
With the steps below, you can manage your chronic pain with the support from a pet.
Step 1: Evaluate your chronic pain. Explore the severity and cause of the pain. Consult with your doctor to get a professional diagnosis.
Step 2: Do some basic research about ESAs. Find out about how effective pets can be in managing chronic pain.
Step 3: Apply for an ESA letter. Use the letter to adopt your favorite pet. With this emotional support animal, you have a new addition to your family.
Step 4: Let your support animal accompany you to bed. Research suggests that sleeping with a pet will improve the quality of your sleep.
Step 5: With your ESA letter, you can bring the pet to work. You need not take a leave of disability or quit your job.
Step 6: Establish a routine of walks and exercise. Walking to work could be a good idea. Working out can distract you from the pain and keep your weight in check.
Step 7: Lay your emotional support animal on your painful limb. Allow the pet to lick the pain away.
Step 8: Lower your dependence on pharmaceutical painkillers. With your ESA around, you need fewer painkillers
Step 9: At this point, your pet will bring down the intensity of your pain.
There are a wide variety of painkillers that are effective against chronic pain. Different painkillers have different modes of action. Depending on the location and nature of your pain, your doctor will prescribe an appropriate sedative.
Below are some of the common types of painkillers:
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
- Paracetamol (Acetaminophen)
- Opioid Painkillers
- Non-Opioid Painkillers
- Muscle Relaxants
Precautionary Note: The painkillers above are potent forms of medication. Most of them come with side effects. Consult with your doctor before taking these drugs.
c) Nerve Block Procedures
Nerve blocking involves cutting pain signals along the pathway of specific nerves. With the help of an injection, nerve block procedures can be effective against inflammation.
Below are some common nerve block procedures:
- Epidural Steroid Injection
- Lumbar Sympathetic Block
- Celiac Plexus Block
- Facet Joint Injection
- Stellate Ganglion Block
Most of these procedures come with substantial side effects. Only a trained health professional can perform a nerve block procedure.
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d) Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Therapy (TENS)
The TENS therapy works on the principle that electrical stimulation can quiet pain. The procedure involves placing electrodes against the skin on painful sites. The therapist will then apply a low voltage of electric current.
The electric current stimulates the nerves in the region. The stimuli will then disrupt the normal pathways for pain. TENS is effective against specific types of chronic pain like diabetic neuropathy.
5. Combating Anxiety with Emotional Support Animals
The Topic of Concern: Anxiety Disorder
The leading causes of anxiety include:
- Genetic Predisposition- If you come from a family with a history of anxiety, you are more likely to suffer from it.
- Environmental Factors- Living and working in stressful environments is more likely to cause anxiety.
- Drug and Substance Abuse- Hard drugs like cocaine cause anxiety disorder.
- Illnesses- Medical conditions like heart attacks and strokes can manifest as anxiety disorders.
- Personality- Patients with specific personalities are prone to anxiety more than others.
The symptoms of anxiety include:
- Excessive sweating
- Weakness or tiredness
- The Inability to concentrate
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Sleeping difficulties
- Increased heart rates
- Rapid breathing
- Muscular tension
Treating and Managing Anxiety
a) Treating Anxiety with Emotional Support Animals
With the steps below, you could adopt a pet and fight your anxiety:
Step 1: Evaluate the nature of your anxiety. Consult with a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.
Step 2: Find out more about emotional support animals and how useful they can be against anxiety. Approach a credible institution to obtain an ESA letter.
Step 3: Weight your pet preferences and make an appropriate decision. An emotional support animal can be a pet of any kind. It could be a cat, a dog, or an exotic animal.
Step 4: Engage your pet, spend some time together, and play. These activities will defuse your anxiety and install peace into your mind.
Step 5: Take your pet for regular walks around the park or neighborhood. In this way, you can get in a little workout as you bond with your ESA.
Step 6: While on your walks, meet new people. Your pet can be a topic for a conversation starter.
Step 7: Make some new friends. Sour interactions in the park or sidewalk could lay the foundation of strong friendships.
Step 8: Socializing helps to curb anxiety. In the company of friends and loved ones, your brain produces more oxytocin (happiness hormone). Playing with your pet has the same effect. Without knowing it, you are lowering your anxiety levels.
Step 9: With the steps above you will notice your anxiety levels diminishing
For your ESA letter, consult with EZCare Medical Clinic. Our team of licensed professionals is authorized to issue ESA letters. We believe that strong bonds with your pet can help you overcome mental issues. Make an appointment to get your ESA letter.
b) Treating Anxiety With Medication
There are a variety of drugs that are effective in treating anxiety disorders. Like other forms of medication, these drugs are potent. Most pills come with side effects and allergic reactions. Before taking any anxiety medication, you should consult with a doctor.
Below are types of drugs that are effective in treating anxiety disorders:
- Benzodiazepines (Beta-Blockers)
c) Treating Anxiety with Lifestyle Changes
Sometimes, your lifestyle can cause you to develop an anxiety disorder. In such a case, implementing lifestyle changes can help you regain control of your mental health.
With these lifestyle changes, you can fight back against anxiety:
- Regular physical activity
- Get enough sleep
- Start a healthy diet
- Quit smoking
- Lower your caffeine intake
- Adopt relaxation activities like meditation and yoga
- Avoid recreational drugs
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d) Treating Anxiety with Psychological Counseling
Psychological counseling involves speaking to a qualified therapist. The therapy requires booking appointments and working with your therapist to reduce the symptoms of your anxiety.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of counseling that is effective in treating anxiety disorders. In this type of treatment, you will learn how to mitigate the symptoms of anxiety.
6. Combating Loneliness by Adopting a Pet
The Topic of Concern: Loneliness
Below are some of the leading causes of loneliness:
- Lack of friendly relationships. This cause is most prevalent among children and teenagers. If the loneliness continues, it may persist into adulthood.
- The death of a loved one may induce feelings of loneliness. The condition may get worse when the individual fails to deal with the loss.
- Socially disruptive events like movings from one town to the next may cause loneliness. Not everyone can adjust to a new environment and make new friends.
- Social anxiety may inspire social anxiety and loneliness.
- The fear of rejection may inhibit someone’s confidence. The individual may end up withdrawing to himself/herself in isolation.
Below are some of the symptoms of loneliness.
- Dull personalities
- High tendencies of falling asleep
- Cravings of physical warmth
- Gloomy feelings
- Decreased appetite
- Interrupted sleep
- Substance abuse
- Social media addiction
Treating and Managing Loneliness
a) Treatment Using Emotional Support Animals
With the steps below, you can adopt an emotional support animal.
Step 1: The whole process starts with the acquisition of an ESA letter. An ESA letter is only valid when you obtain it from an authentic source. A source like EzCare Clinic.
Step 2: You can use the ESA letter to adopt the pet of your choice. I suggest that you pick a pet that you are most comfortable with.
Step 3: Live with your pet. Instead of returning home to an empty house, you have a loving friend to keep you company.
Step 4: Engage your pet as much as you can. Sit and eat besides your pet. Pet the animal as much as possible. Play some games, teach your pet a few tricks.
Step 5: Plan fun activities with your pet. Activities like walks in the park and road trips. Such activities form the best opportunity for bonding with your pet.
Step 6: Cuddle with your pet whenever an opportunity presents itself. The warm fuzzy feeling of cuddling takes away the loneliness.
Step 7: In your pet, you have found a friend. Say goodbye to loneliness.
b) Treating Loneliness with Some Lifestyle Adjustments
With the following behavioral adjustments, you can manage your loneliness:
- Stay in touch with your friends and family
- Explore some new and positive hobbies
- Take a break from social media platforms
- Explore the outdoors once in a while
- Participate in charitable events like volunteering for your local nursing home
- Participate in some community services
- Make attempts to socialize with others
c) Therapy Sessions
Therapy is an effective means of dealing with loneliness. In therapy, there is an emphasis on establishing the root cause of your loneliness. With the findings, the therapist can develop suitable solutions for you. Group therapy is advantageous because you learn how to interact with others. Doctors may prescribe some antidepressants to complement your therapy.
7. Finding Motivation with Your Pet
Mental Health Issue: Avolition
Avolition a the lack of motivation to do your normal tasks. In this condition, you may find it hard to start or finish the simplest of chores. Avolition is a common symptom of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects how you act, feel, or think.
Below are some of the leading causes of a lack of motivation:
Depression: Dullness tends to take away your motivation.
- Trying too hard to please everyone: In an effort to impress, you may end up draining all your motivation. Over-looking your own needs in favor of other people’s needs is a motivation drainer.
- Having a fixed state of mind: A fixed state of mind impedes your mental growth and development. The end result is demotivation.
- A feeling of overwhelming pressure: When you have a lot going on in your life, it’s hard to find motivation.
- Medical conditions: Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, and Parkinson’s disease are some of the conditions that may cause apathy.
The symptoms of lack of motivation include:
- Diminished emotions
- Behavioral changes
- A negative effect on one’s quality of life
- Lower energy levels
- Feelings of pressure
a) Adopting an Emotional Support Animal
With the steps below, you can find comfort and help from a pet.
Step 1: Evaluate your case. Find the cause of your demotivation.
Step 2: Aquire your ESA letter from EzCare Clinic. Use the document to adopt a pet. Animal shelters are some of the best places to get pets.
Step 3: Bring home your pet. Depending on the type of animal you get, you may have to build it a home.
Step 4: Take care of the food requirements of your pet. Go above and beyond to feed your pet. Invest in high-quality pet food.
Step 5: Groom your pet regularly. For furry animals, you can try out some fancy hairstyles. You can also play around with different costumes.
Step 6: Ensure that your pet is always in tip-top shape and health. Make regular appointments with a veterinarian. Keep your pet pest and disease-free. Take your pet out for regular exercise and walks.
Step 7: Congratulations, you are on your way to recovery. With time you will notice a restoration of motivation. There will be an extra spring in your step and a smile on your face.
b) Making Behavioral Modifications
With the following behavioral adjustments, you can restore your motivation.
- Leave your comfort zone and take part in some fun activities
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid overworking
- Make a schedule and develop a routine
- Reward yourself after completing a task
- Sleep at least seven hours a night
- Seek help from your friends and family
c) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This therapy is quite effective in treating low motivation. Cognitive-behavioral therapy works on the principle of changing your thought and behavioral patterns.
As part of the therapy, you may undergo the following types of interventions.
- Cognitive reconstruction
- Anti-procrastination training
- Mindfulness training
- Systematic exposure
- Behavioral chain analysis
Get Your Emotional Support Animal Letter Today!
At EzCare Clinic, we issue legitimate ESA letters in a timely fashion. We speed up the process by giving you an opportunity to apply remotely. Through our online platform, you can file your application. Our dedicated staff is on stand by to process your application.
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With your ESA letter, you can travel with your emotional support animal at no extra costs. This document can prevent your landlord from charging you an extra coin for the pet you keep.
Do you have an ESA prescription? We might be able to help you out. Walk into our San Francisco offices or call us on (415)966-0848.
Invest in your mental health, get an emotional support animal by booking an appointment with us.