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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello my name is Mitchell,
my fiancé suffers from severe anxiety and depression. She has had it most of her life and her anxiety in public places is the worst. It gets to points She can't breathe or move and some times she won't even go to the restroom so she will hold in her pee until her stomach hurts and some times even pee herself.
She curls up in corners at the mall and has panic attacks, she won't eat in public, drink in public. If she isn't stiff having a panic attack or crying. She's clinging to me and avoiding everything and everyone.

Her depression flares up out of no where and causes her to become very suicidal and self-harm often. She get really sick from anxiety and scared to the point I can't even get her to eat, drink, leave the bed, or go outside. She always tells me how she grew up around so much fighting and fear that it makes her scared of loud sounds, yelling, conflict, and even talking to strangers in public. She will refuse to go to a store unless I am with her to talk to the cashier for her. She is so scared, I can't even get her to drive. She doesn't want to get her license because she's scared of trying to drive. Some people have recommended medication but I believe it's just going to cover up her illness not solve it, I don't want my fiancé pumped with drugs. I believe a psychiatric service dog would be the best bet for her, when we first met my poodle (Rosie) would calm her down a lot and she toke her out every time we went out and she seemed much calmer and happier. She slowly would eat and the dog seemed to make her feel a lot better.

Would she qualify ? I am worried and want to help her without medication, Please get back to me. :confused::(
 

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Nice to help you out Mitchell,

It's up to your fiancé to decide if she wants medication with the advice of a professional who knows their stuff. I know someone who trained their personal pet to be a service animal, but it took over a year of hard work and training, professional training sessions, and certainly money from their own pocket to accomplish all that they did, to get her dog properly certified. Rosie cannot simply be put on a leash and walked into grocery stores or airports. My friend's dog, however, is an incredible resource for them, not only being a source of friendship but keeping them out of danger during anxiety attacks and being able to get them out of that physical lock up that can sometimes occur. Rosie, in your fiancé's case, could boost her confidence in stores and out and about, perhaps allowing her to hail a taxi or Uber to and from the mall, or take public transportation if you have it.

Best wishes for you, your fiancé, and Rosie xx

Connor
 

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Here is a LINK to the ADA's FAQs

It is important to note that emotional support, comfort, and companion animals are not considered service animals under the ADA, but a psychiatric service animals is protect under the ADA.

This is the distinction between a emotional support animal and a psychiatric service animal:
If the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal. However, if the dog's mere presence provides comfort, that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA.
 
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Oh no I wasn't going to use Rosie she is just my pet, I just noticed that it calmed her anxiety a lot. I would get her a Puppy and have it trained with her. I just don't know how to go about this and need advice. Like I don't want to break any laws so do you know what I should do to get her legally able to have one?
 

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Oh no I wasn't going to use Rosie she is just my pet, I just noticed that it calmed her anxiety a lot. I would get her a Puppy and have it trained with her. I just don't know how to go about this and need advice. Like I don't want to break any laws so do you know what I should do to get her legally able to have one?
Perhaps these websites will help: Service Dog Training FAQ: Owner Training, Cost, Basics and How Do I Train a Service Dog? Steps to Become an SD User

It mostly boils down to you need to acquire a dog, work with a dog trainer who specializes in service dogs for the area that you live and what you'd like the dog to be able to do (calm her anxiety) for a year or two, and ideally take a Canine Good Citizen test to ensure the service dog is able to stand up to the legal test of good behavior, on the rare chance you were to need to defend the dog in court.

First and foremost, however, I'd contact a local service dog trainer in your area, as well as ask a service dog user, if you have the opportunity, how they trained their service dog.
 

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This is just a suggestion in addition to everything that's already been mentioned and certainly not meant as a substitution for all of that, but there's an interesting book called The Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of "Unadoptables" Taught Me About Service, Hope, and Healing that deals with psychiatric service dogs and intertwines interviews/personal stories of people who have psychiatric service dogs. You might find it helpful to give you an idea of what such dogs have done for a variety of people. It's definitely written for a general audience but it still has a lot of good information and was written by someone who has trained search and rescue, therapy, and psychiatric service dogs. The author's name is Susannah Charleson. The latest of Susan's Conant's dog mysteries (Sire and Damn) also deals with psychiatric service dogs, but I literally started that only yesterday, so I don't know if I can recommend it or not, though the rest of her books have been good, and she does do her research before writing (and she indicates in the forward to this book whom she spoke with regarding psychiatric service dogs as part of her research)

In order to get the dog certified as a service dog, I believe you'd have to have a doctor indicate that your fiance needed such assistance. And, as has been already stated, while a psychiatric service dog is treated legally as a service dog, an emotional support animal is not. It would also be up to your fiance if she would be comfortable having a psychiatric service dog; some people feel having one draws public attention to their anxiety issues and thus makes them worse. That's something only she can determine.
 

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I think she'd qualify. Also, if you don't want drugs, have you considered supplements? But I must say I myself am on psychiatric drugs and they work quite well for me, it just takes time to find the right ones. Another option would be therapy.
 

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Hello my name is Mitchell,
my fiancé suffers from severe anxiety and depression. She has had it most of her life and her anxiety in public places is the worst. It gets to points She can't breathe or move and some times she won't even go to the restroom so she will hold in her pee until her stomach hurts and some times even pee herself.
She curls up in corners at the mall and has panic attacks, she won't eat in public, drink in public. If she isn't stiff having a panic attack or crying. She's clinging to me and avoiding everything and everyone.

Her depression flares up out of no where and causes her to become very suicidal and self-harm often. She get really sick from anxiety and scared to the point I can't even get her to eat, drink, leave the bed, or go outside. She always tells me how she grew up around so much fighting and fear that it makes her scared of loud sounds, yelling, conflict, and even talking to strangers in public. She will refuse to go to a store unless I am with her to talk to the cashier for her. She is so scared, I can't even get her to drive. She doesn't want to get her license because she's scared of trying to drive. Some people have recommended medication but I believe it's just going to cover up her illness not solve it, I don't want my fiancé pumped with drugs. I believe a psychiatric service dog would be the best bet for her, when we first met my poodle (Rosie) would calm her down a lot and she toke her out every time we went out and she seemed much calmer and happier. She slowly would eat and the dog seemed to make her feel a lot better.

Would she qualify ? I am worried and want to help her without medication, Please get back to me. :confused::(
What does your fiance want? If she's interested in medication then that's her choice to make. It sounds like she's living in hell right now. I have anxiety and depression, but no where near that bad, and it still feels horrible. Medication has helped me considerably- it significantly lessened the intensity of my anxiety and depression to the point where I could learn to function as an adult and deal with those emotions in a healthy way. It doesn't just "cover up" the illness rather than solving it, it gets you to a point where you can learn to be more confident and responsive to other treatments like therapy. If she can't function and she's hurting herself, then it sounds like she needs that at least initially- it doesn't have to be a long term solution. You can't learn these things easily if you're anxious and depressed to the point that you're self harming and becoming sick.

I think she would qualify for a psychiatric service dog or emotional support animal but that's really for a mental health professional to determine.
 

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Do you want an Emotional Support Animal or a Service Dog? An ESA is not considered more than a pet and can't go to public places with your fiancee.
A service animal can take years acquire as the waiting lists are very long. Also, in order to qualify as a service dog, the dog needs to perform some kind of task for the person. I don't think that calming a person down is a service dog task as any pet dog can do that.
You need to do more research into the service dog manner. Usually a service dog is reserved to those with physical disorders such as the blind or people with brain disorders.
 

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Honestly didn't read most of the comments, so I apologize if I'm beating a dead horse.

True, drugs do not solve the problem. They are a bandaid until therapy fixes the underlying problems. Likewise, a Service Dog is another type of bandaid. It doesn't fix the problem, it's just there to help. It would be best if your fiancee had regular sessions with a psychological professional, and bring up the possibility of a dog. I would suggest a PSD instead of an ESA, since ESAs are glorified pets and are not allowed in public areas like SDs are.

I also suggest looking up the ADA and your area's local laws regarding Service Dogs. Some places do not consider PSDs to be real Service Dogs among other silly restrictions. Your fiancee will have to be assessed by a psychogical professional and be declared medically/legally disabled. Preferably a note should be written stating that your wife has a psychological disability and will benefit from a PSD. This note you can take to a SD training organization. Maybe they might have a dog to fit your needs already, but considering the combination of illnesses, it is more likely that a dog will have to be trained specifically for you. This can take no less than one year, averaging two, and can cost anywhere from $10,000-20,000 (to my knowledge, insurance does not cover the cost of a acquiring a Service Dog).

Beware of fraudulent organizations and "certification/registration" services. They're all fake.
 

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I would definitely suggest going down the professional assistance dog route rather than getting a pet dog that way you know you're going to get a dog who's able to, in the nicest possible way of course, handle your girlfriend and her issues.

We got our 9 year old rescue dog Jax, two months before my dad unexpectedly died from cancer, it was so quick, it took 13 days from diagnoses to death and I was there at the end for what's called his 'traumatic death'. So obviously it's all been a little bit difficult and Jax has his issues himself, the hard part is knowing how much of that was down to our individual situation and the state I was in? He's so much better these days, well we both are actually but we've also both been on anti-anxiety meds in recent months and to watch him when I'm struggling his really hard, he really feels it to the point he struggles too.

Don't get me wrong we're a fantastic pair and I wouldn't change it for the world, I just wouldn't want your girlfriend to have anything else to deal with like I have!

Good luck!
 

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Do you want an Emotional Support Animal or a Service Dog? An ESA is not considered more than a pet and can't go to public places with your fiancee.
A service animal can take years acquire as the waiting lists are very long. Also, in order to qualify as a service dog, the dog needs to perform some kind of task for the person. I don't think that calming a person down is a service dog task as any pet dog can do that.
You need to do more research into the service dog manner. Usually a service dog is reserved to those with physical disorders such as the blind or people with brain disorders.

Calming a person can be a task depending on the circumstances and how it is done. Having had an ESA while we were waiting to get a Service Dog for our son I can explain the difference. My son is on the Autism Spectrum and has meltdowns. We got a cat as an ESA to test if a service dog would help, and to help while we were waiting to get the service dog. When he had a meltdown we would get the cat and take it to him and petting the cat calmed him. The service dog is trained to recognize the beginnings of a meltdown and intervenes, depending on the situation uses one of a couple different techniques to disrupt the behavior. In other words, to calm him.

The cat does nothing but be there, we were the acting agent, the service dog was trained to recognize and react, that is what makes it a task.
 
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