Can You Get an Emotional Support Animal for Anxiety?

Emotional Support Animal Can You Get an Emotional Support Animal for Anxiety?

Can You Get an Emotional Support Animal for Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting over 40 million adults. While there are many treatments available for anxiety, including medication and therapy, some people find that they need additional support to manage their symptoms.

If this is the case for you, you may be wondering whether you can get an emotional support animal (ESA) for your anxiety. It turns out there is a good chance you can. In this post, we'll explore what an emotional support animal is and whether or not you qualify for one.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal is just what it sounds like: an animal that provides emotional support to its owner. Unlike service animals, ESAs require no special training beyond basic obedience skills.

While cats and dogs are the most common emotional support animals, an ESA can be any domesticated animal, including birds, rabbits, and even pigs. The Fair Housing Act covers ESAs, which allows people with an ESA to live with their animals without additional charges regardless of whether there is a "no pet" policy in place.  

Unfortunately, ESAs aren't allowed in public places that don't allow pets, such as shopping centers, restaurants, etc.

What Is an ESA Letter?

An ESA letter is the document you will use to show proof of your need for an emotional support animal. To get an ESA letter, a licensed mental health professional must write and sign a prescription for an ESA after your pet is deemed necessary for your health condition. For the letter to be valid, it must contain:

  • Physician/Mental Health Professional license number
  • Date of issuance
  • License expiration date
  • Contact information of the licensed mental health professional
Any of the following licensed healthcare specialists can write up an ESA letter:
  • Clinical social worker
  • Psychologist
  • Registered nurse (RN)
  • Certified counselor
  • Doctor's assistant
  • licensed marriage and family therapist
  • Psychiatrist
Some of the common mental conditions that qualify individuals to receive an ESA letter:
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Chronic stress
  • Learning disabilities
  • Attention deficit disorder

While DoNotPay can help you write demand letters and ESA accommodation request letters, we can't write an ESA letter for you since we aren't licensed medical or mental health professionals.

How to Ask For an Emotional Support Animal

To gain the benefits of an ESA, you will need a prescription from a licensed mental health professional. This is a specific letter stating that you have an anxiety disorder, and an ESA can help you manage your symptoms. Use these tips to request an ESA:

  1. Book an appointment with a licensed mental health professional and explain your anxiety symptoms
  2. Explain how your pet helps reduce the severity of your condition
  3. Ask your doctor how an ESA will help improve your condition
  4. Get recommendations from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) and have them talk to your doctor during regular visits
  5. Request the doctor to write you an ESA letter detailing your medical condition and how an ESA helps alleviate the symptoms and severity

Can I Get an ESA for Anxiety?

Simply put, yes. You can get an ESA for anxiety to help you manage your condition. Interacting with an animal increases the release of mood-boosting chemicals while suppressing stress hormones.

ESAs offer a sense of stability and connection when entering a new environment, circumstance, or situation that can increase anxiety. This sense of stability can help you feel less overwhelmed and more secure.

Additionally, ESAs bring a calming effect, help boost confidence, lessen panic attacks and promote social connection and interaction, which will help reduce anxiety and prevent future anxiety attacks.

How to Request an ESA for Anxiety by Yourself

Before requesting an ESA, it's crucial to understand the steps you need to take to get one. See below for a step-by-step process to request an ESA:

  1. Arrange a consultation with a licensed mental health professional to diagnose the severity of your anxiety
  2. Have the licensed mental health professional write and sign a prescription for an ESA letter explaining how an emotional support animal helps alleviate the symptoms and severity of your condition
  3. Get an ESA letter from your doctor with all the legally required information, including the name of the LMHP, their license number, and contact info.
  4. Pay for your ESA letter. The cost varies by state but expect to pay around $200 for one year valid letter.

Present the ESA letter, doctor's note, and prescription to housing authorities or the business you wish to enter to avoid being turned away.

Next Steps for Requesting an ESA if You Can’t Do It Yourself

Requesting an ESA on your own is a lengthy process with lengthy paperwork and lots of waiting. This can be frustrating, tedious, and potentially scary if you need an emotional support animal to manage your anxiety. DoNotPay offers a convenient and fast solution to getting an ESA if you can't do it yourself.

Here’s How DoNotPay Can Help:

With DoNotPay, you don't have to go through the rigorous and lengthy process of getting an ESA. Whether you want help with all of your ESA-related concerns, including contacting your landlord about your ESA, asking airlines about their accommodation options, getting an ESA letter for housing, finding the most affordable online ESA-letter service, or asking airlines about their accommodation options, DoNotPay can help. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Search "service animal" on DoNotPay. 
  2. Select the type of issue you need help with, including contacting your landlord about your ESA/service animal, asking your airline about ESA options, or requesting ESA/service accommodations at other venues. 
  3. Answer a series of questions about your current situation and the details of your ESA/service animal, so we can generate the best results for you.

Depending on your issue DoNotPay will:

  • Generate a letter to your landlord and mail it on your behalf
  • Contact the airline agency and get back to you with an answer, or
  • Send a letter to your mental health professional requesting an ESA letter.

If your landlord or airline declines your ESA letter, discriminates against you, or charges you additional fees, you can use DoNotPay's Sue Now product to generate a demand letter or get small claims forms and court scripts to file a complaint against them. How cool is that?

Benefits of Using DoNotPay to Request an ESA for Anxiety

With the daily hassles of owning an ESA, you shouldn't have to worry about getting your landlord or airline to accommodate you and your ESA. DoNotPay simplifies the whole process and gets you back to living everyday life. Here are the benefits of using DoNotPay:

  • Fast. You don't have to spend several hours researching or filling out forms. DoNotPay does all the leg work for you.
  • Easy. Getting an ESA letter can be complicated. With DoNotPay, you only need to answer a few questions, and we'll do the rest.
  • Successful. DoNotPay has helped hundreds of users get their ESA letters from their doctors. We'll do everything we can to help you too!

More DoNotPay Products for Your Pets

Here are other DoNotPay products for your pets to help you learn about them, the issues they might face, and how to solve them:

  • Report Animal Abuse
  • Pet Licenses
  • Lost and Found Pets
  • Pet Custody Agreement

What Else Can DoNotPay Do?

DoNotPay has become the go-to service for many different issues affecting Americans. Besides helping you request an ESA letter for your landlord or preferred airline including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, or United Airlines, here are other problems DoNotPay can help you solve:

  1. Cancel any service or subscription
  2. Airline flight compensation hacks
  3. Score hotel upgrades
  4. Sue anyone in a small claims court
  5. Animal control

Let DoNotPay show you how quickly and conveniently we can help you solve your everyday problems!

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