How Emotional Support Animals Help ADHD

By Autumn Robinson On December 15, 2016 In ADHD


Boy with ADD holding Dog

Image credit: Jamie Woods

Some of the most commonly diagnosed emotional disorders are centered around attention and activity. Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affects not only millions of children every year, but adults as well.

The three core symptoms that are part of ADD and ADHD include:

  • Difficulty maintaining focus
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsive behavior

But the challenges that go along with ADHD are not limited to these three behaviors. The consequences of these disorders reach far beyond and into daily life. The problems that are a consequence of ADHD can cause a cascade of issues like the following:

  • Self-esteem issues
  • Relationship problems
  • Trouble at school or work

ADHD is a fundamental mental health problem that affects the brain and then goes on to affect life in real ways for those who struggle with it. Facing the issue and combating it requires intervention, because these symptoms are not just going to go away on their own. Without action, ADHD is tied to anxiety and depression. What’s most important with ADHD is to find treatment options that work both now and for the long term.

Emotional Support Animals Can Help with ADHD

Treatment options for ADHD can include a wide variety of tactics, but one that’s becoming increasingly popular due to its effectiveness is working with an emotional support animal (ESA).

Owning a dog may actually help to alleviate the symptoms of ADHD. It gives people with the disorder a way to learn healthy habits that can carry over into other parts of their lives.

People with ADHD can reap so many benefits from the support of an ESA. These animals offer those with attention disorders some solid means for learning to cope with the imbalances that affect their lives. Here are just a few of the ways that emotional support animals help individuals with ADHD.

  • Outlet for excess energy
  • Be a non-judgemental companion
  • Provide social interaction opportunities
  • Encourage routines
  • Decrease stress
  • Offer a healthy distraction

These benefits of an emotional support animal for ADHD reach in to address some of the major issues that are at the center of the disorder. They meet the problems right where it’s at to give a solution that really works.

Another area that emotional support animals can give a helping hand is right inside the brain. Playtime with a dog been shown to trigger a release of serotonin and dopamine, two chemicals in the brain that are all about happiness and that offer calming effects for the brain and body. This is powerful tool to help combat the fundamental problems associated with ADHD. Playtime with a dog can be an important part of the healing process for people with ADHD!

How Emotional Support Animals Provide Consistency for ADHD

Consistency is a huge issue for people who are living with ADHD, and an emotional support dog or other animal can provide that consistency in a positive way. In order to reach goals, be they therapy goals or accomplishment oriented goals, getting into a positive routine is an essential piece of the puzzle. Many individuals with ADHD also take medication on a daily basis, and getting the timing right of those helpful supports is an important part of successfully battling ADHD.

Emotional support animals offer a necessary consistency to individuals with ADHD. They help with planning and organization as they demand care that’s easy to access for people who struggle with these issues.

For example, and emotional support dog for ADHD creates a rhythm to life. The dog needs to be fed, walked, and played with regularly. These are demands that can’t be ignored without physical ramifications. Unlike the demands of school or work, the consequences of not walking the dog are immediate and unpleasant. That kind of real and immediate feedback is important for individuals with ADHD, who can struggle with consistency and order in their lives.  

Caring for an emotional support animal is a tangible way for people with ADHD to form schedules and to learn skills about routine that can then transfer to other parts of their lives. Learning to take responsibility has to start somewhere, and a perfect somewhere to start mastering consistency is by caring for an emotional support animal.

Emotional support animals don’t just provide negative feedback for routine, they also provide a heaping load of positive support for consistency. Dogs and cats show their caregivers appreciation that feels fantastic and reinforces routine!

The Therapeutic Value of Animals for ADHD

A major area that individuals with ADHD struggle with is in socialization. Knowing  how to interact with people in positive ways is a critical life skill, but it’s one that can feel out of reach. Emotional support animals provide a level of positive social interaction in and of themselves, but they also provide a gateway for individuals to have positive social interaction with other people.

The great thing about an emotional support animal is that they can go just about anywhere. In fact, that’s the thing that makes an ESA different from other pets. Because they can go just about everywhere, they can provide an innovative way to start conversations and to make connections with other people in situations that might otherwise be challenging.

Emotional support dogs for ADHD offer unconditional love for their companions, a scaffolding that makes it possible to have improved social interactions. People with ADHD often feel isolated, a problem that’s directly addressed with an ESA. These animals make it easier both to forge new relationships, and to deepen current relationships. Knowing that there’s a friend there who will always love you make it much more palatable to put yourself out there.

Emotional support animals encourage trust building and confidence, and they can make all the difference in the ability of someone with ADHD to cope with the challenges that they’re facing.  

MyPetCerts can help you to determine the documentation that you need to go forward with getting an emotional support animal for ADHD. More than just another treatment method, these animals can help people struggling with ADHD to have a more fulfilled and happy life. You deserve to live life better, and an emotional service animal can help. 



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