How Do I Get a “Prescription” for a Service Dog?

prescription photo
Photo by kokopinto

This is a question I get asked a lot. Very few people seem to be sure what they need to do to legally get a service dog. Information is scattered and it’s hard to know where to go to find the answer.

The interesting thing is, people assume that if you’re looking for a service dog, you don’t really need one or qualify for one.

But you know what? I’ve found that most people who are looking for service dogs aren’t having mild problems and are just wanting a dog for funsies. They are intimidated by the lack of information on the internet and are afraid to move forward without finding out if they really qualify for a dog.

So back off, skeptics. I’m going to talk to the people who are looking for answers.

You have severe symptoms that are really interfering with you living your life. Many of you are unable to hold down jobs or have social or academic lives because your anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or other mental illness is so severe.

Some of you are unable to take medications for depression, anxiety. PTSD or bipolar disorder because of side effects that you cannot cope with, or because of other health problems or medications that interact with medications. Psychologists can only do so much, as well, for some people. Sometimes medication just doesn’t help enough.

I know how that is. Hunting through medications for something that works, but doesn’t give you horrible twitching or life-threatening Stevens-Johnsons Syndrome (that was my fun reaction to Lamictal) or whatever and also getting complete relief of symptoms is nigh on impossible.

Even if you do take medication and it helps you with your mental illness, did you know that also doesn’t keep you from qualifying for a service dog?

You’re probably researching this because you’ve been affected by a pet and recognized that when you’re with a dog, you finally start to feel better. So you’ve been wondering and hoping. Could a service dog be right for me? Will a service dog help me feel better? How do I get one if so?

How Do I Get Qualified for a Service Dog?

snuggle dog photo
Photo by seanmfreese

Now, before we get started, there are two different animals out there that you may have heard of. One is an ESA or Emotional Support Animal, and one is a PSD or Psychiatric Service Dog. They are two different classifications and they mean two different things.

For an Emotional Support Animal, you just need a note from your doctor or psychiatrist saying that you need an animal to comfort you. They cannot go anywhere special, UNLESS your state has a specific law saying ESAs are allowed in public places.  You’ll need to check with your local and state laws for that information though. They do not need any special training beyond being polite. They are allowed in normally not pet friendly housing.

We’re not talking about ESAs here. They’re for milder cases; for comfort. I’m not a specialist in ESA laws, so I’m not going to go into that further. I don’t really know much about what qualifies you for an ESA.

For a Psychiatric Service Dog, however, you do need to be classified as having a disability.

Now, the disability needs to be provable through your doctor, basically, in case you need to file for discrimination against a business. You also will need to be able to get proof that your dog has been properly trained, either through a trainer/school, or if you owner trained, just a log of what you’ve done.

You do NOT have to qualify through SSDI (which are the monetary and health benefits you get through social security). You do NOT need to have any sort of a piece of paper proving you are disabled that you carry around with you.

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What is a disability?

It’s having a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more of your major life activities or major bodily functions currently or episodically.

Major life activities are eating, sleeping, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working.

Major bodily functions are functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin, normal cell growth, digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions. Although not specifically stated in the NPRM, the final regulations state that major bodily functions include the operation of an individual organ within a body system ( e.g., the operation of the kidney, liver, or pancreas).

Quite a few of the major life activities fall under things that are affected by mental disorders.

Here’s a list of the disabilities that the SSA officially recognizes, but any other illness that limits life activities also counts. This is just a list with descriptions (and the symptoms!) of disabilities that is nice to have in case you need something to back you up.

Print out your disability and mark it up in case you want to wave it in your aunt Betsy’s face and say “See, severe anxiety is a disability and that is why I need a service dog!” or in case you just want to make yourself feel better (no need to show it to anyone). The process of getting a service dog can be nerve wracking. It feels like any minute someone could call you a fraud and you wouldn’t be able to say otherwise. But that’s not true. Mental illness can be just as much a disability as a physical illness/handicap.

(Keep in mind you don’t ever actually have to share your disability information with anybody anywhere. At businesses, they can ONLY ask 1) if your dog is a service dog and 2) what tasks is it trained to do.)

How Do I Know if I Need a Psychiatric Service Dog?

Photo by WarmSleepy

Now, a Psychiatric Service Dog is helpful when a dog can be trained to perform one or more Tasks for you that you cannot perform for yourself.

The Tasks need to be related to your disability.

So, if you have panic attacks that really interrupt your life and keep you from being able to do your work, because you melt down, panic and can’t do anything but curl in a ball and hyperventilate for hours, a PSD can warn you in advance of panic attacks, keeping them from escalating or getting you to take your Xanax before you have a problem. They can help keep you in reality by providing grounding or deep pressure therapy – effectively replacing Xanax. Cool, huh?

Your PSD can also keep people away from you while you come out of an episode of whatever sort – random people coming up to you is generally not helpful. Alternately, they can alert people if you need assistance, grab/remind you to take medication or get a phone for you.

If you are unable to enter empty rooms because of PTSD, your PSD can enter the room first, check that it is safe and report back to you.

Dogs can detect mood swings, blood pressure drops, can keep you from self harming, can help you leave stores (if you panic and don’t know how to leave), find your car (some of my meds have a side effect of making me forget random stuff)… the list goes on and on for Tasks that a Psychiatric Service Dog can perform for you if you have a mental disability that keeps you from functioning daily.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that if your dog helps you with debilitating side effects from medications that you take, that counts as a Task too.

Anyway, I could go on all day about the neat things you can train your dog to do, but I’ll just leave it at that. A service dog can do so much to help you if you’re struggling.

So the answer to the question is, you don’t have to really do anything to qualify for a service dog, other than have a doctor verifiable disability and have something related to your disability that you can’t do for yourself that the dog can do for you. Pretty simple.

Hopefully that’s pretty clear. Feel free to send me an email if you have any more questions about this.

Also, if you’re interested, sign up for my newsletter! I’m going to be putting together online courses for training your own psychiatric service dog and you can get updates there.

If you’d like to learn more about choosing the proper dog to be an owner trained service dog, check out this article.

62 Replies to “How Do I Get a “Prescription” for a Service Dog?”

  1. This is really helpful. I’ve been struggling with anxiety for 2 years with extreme panic attacks – which sometimes have landed me in the hospital. I’ve tried multiple medications that just make me feel worse rather than better. I will be bringing service dogs up to my PCP at my next appointment as an alternative to medicinal therapy.

  2. I’m highly interested in training my own service dog, i have alot of disabilities and i have documentation but its like 5-6 years s old. i’ve been discriminated against by other asking for their opinion on my fund raiser a while back to bring home my service dog from another state. Im currently trying to obtain a service dog as we speak. Its hard for me since my meds are very sedative to me and i have children. Very difficult.

    1. Hi I’m 18 I suffer from severe anxiety , depression , speech problems , stress problems , emotional overwhelm , and intellectual skills for a couple years now. Im not sure if i qualify for a service dog. but if i did. can i pick what dog i want ?? Like i want a australian Shepherd, they are everything i want in a dog & they would help me very much. do you know if i can or not ??

      1. Any breed of dog CAN work as a service dog and any breed is ALLOWED to be a service dog, but not every dog is meant to be a service dog. Labs and goldens tend to be the best dogs for service work. Herding breeds can have problems with reacting to their handler’s emotions, especially breeds meant to herd and guard (like German Shepherds). I would be very careful about choosing an Australian Shepherd as a service dog.

  3. This would be very helpful to learn. My grand son lives with us . he is 16. He has ptsd. He cuts and hurt himself within a very short time. he get aniexity and depression and then something snaps and he cuts drinks or something just boom within 30 its too late not even his counselors saw the last one. he gave himself 6 tatoos with indian ink and drank a 5th of rum . he was in the hall way of the hospital for 74 hour. no metal health beds. 3 different cities couldnt take him cause they were full and he has type 1 diabetese. it was awful. any help please. he is taking some obiedience classes but thats all we can afford.

  4. Hello! I got a concussion October 17, 2015. (8months ago) I am currently 17years old. It turned into Post Concussion syndrome which has given me an array of symptoms such as;
    Panick Attacks, extreme anxiety, light & sound sensitivity, brain/ word fog at times, dizziness 24/7 since the accident, balance issues, not being able to read, headaches and dizziness when I try to learn or do schoolwork, difficulty spelling at times, having trouble learning, paying attention, etc. I have been officially dianogsed with Post Concussion syndrome by a Doctor. Do you think I would benefit from a Therapy dog? I have a 9year old chihuahua/yorkie that’s very smart, do you think she is too old to become a Therapy dog? I am also fostering 8 week old rescue puppys (possibly lab mix?) I’ve had since they were 2 weeks old. They will get pretty big (40lbs or more). Do you think any of them wold be a better fit ? My email is
    Please get back to me if possible, I really appreciate it, thank you!

  5. Just curious to know, for those of us disabled (via SS) with anxiety and PTSD and are now low income because of this disability whether there is financial help in obtaining or maintaining a PSD. Anyone know about this? Sorry if it’s a dumb question. The idea to look into this (because I would feel much ,much safer with a dog) just occurred to me today.

  6. I have epilepsy and I am looking to get a service dog I do live by myself me and my 2yr old son I just want to make sure I’m safe and alerted by having a service dog. the only issue that I’m having is presenting that to my landlord. is there a form that I can have a doctor fill out like a letter of medical necessity. Or should I go to the doctor to get a form they can provide? or maybe a template I could print out and fill out and be signed by me and my doctor that shows him that I am in need of the dog but not disclosing any of my disability to him

  7. Thank you. This was so helpful. I have a child with Autism, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder and Sensory Issues. We have been trying forever to get her a service dog. We have had several in mind, but would need to train them and most of the places I have found are several thousands of dollars, which we can’t afford. I would rather try to train the animal myself to know what to look for.

  8. I asked my Dr. how do I get started in getting a service dog for my anxiety problems, and depressive episodes. I think it could help calm me when I have manic episodes as well and can’t sleep for days. She is not sure where to start. I know that she could write a prescription but I am not sure what to ask her to write. She has no experience working with non-pharmaceutical ways of dealing with problems other than group therapy. After some very bad medications I refuse to trust more experimentation with my life and health. She has finally stopped pushing drugs at me and would like to help but doesn’t know where to begin. Do you have any advice? What does the prescription or recommendation need to say? Do I need a Dr signature or will my “conditions” list be enough?

  9. Is there anyway to get a service dog for an incurable form of deadly asthma and allergies that could alert me if there are any triggers present and at a reasonable price that I could afford with a low income

  10. I get anxiety attacks and panic attacks and suffer from depression and self harm it’s started to interfere with my schoolwork as I’ll have to step out of the classroom or I won’t be able to think or read clearly do I qualify for a service dog?

    1. I am kinda like you but pretty severe I would say I’m not sure I want to find out though cause I’m having the same problem and other easy tasks I can’t do because of my depression and stress attacks I have

  11. Hiya I live in Salisbury uk and suffer with anxiety,depression, fibromyalgia and the list goes on!! Where could I go to get/rescue a psd,also financial help to purchase dog as unable to work because of my health so on esa?? Thank in advance

  12. I have ADHD and a learning disability and I’m trying to get a dog to confront me and come me down when I’m hoper and this has helped a lot so ty

  13. Hi,
    To those looking for a list of Work or Tasks for Psychological Service Dogs go to It’s a very thorough list, plus you need the Basic Obedience skills (Sit, Stay, Come,) that a regular Dog Training Class would give you. Yes you can train them yourself, or hire a trainer for $1000’s of dollars, your choice.
    For those who are needing a ‘Form’ for their Dr. to sign for their PSD dog – go to your Local Animal Shelter (online – ours and look for the “Service Dog License Form” (ours says Assistance Dog – you can see it at that link. It should be fairly self explanatory, though they can be very particular about how it is filled out, so ask if you need to. Some can be printed off from their web page after you have filled it in. Take it or send it to your Dr. and have them fill out their part – on the back, that’s where they will write all your Diagnosis & Symptoms & their recommendations. I.E. the Recommendation or Disability Letter. Then have them send it back to you so you can make a copy for your records – then you mail it to your Animal Services Shelter. There should be NO FEE for this, you will need a copy of the Service Dogs recent Rabies Vaccine, and if they have a recent License from the same Animal Services send that. (By the way my shelter can’t charge for Service Dogs ‘License Fees’ once she was approved as a Service Dog – so that’s a plus!). ALSO do NOT let the Animal Services tell you that you’ve filled out the information on the ‘wrong form because they have updated their format’…. ADA doesn’t approve such delays. ADA said: “As long as all the information is the same, and covers the same criteria then the Form is Valid and they are obligataed (Animal Services) to accept it.”
    Keep a copy for yourself, when the accepted copy returns with a License disk for your Service Dog; Send a copy of the Accepted License to your Dr. & to your Vet. with the Disk #. Yes, give a copy to your Therapist too if you have one, and they can write you a very simple disability, PTSD letter or whatever your diagnosis is. Usually they are better at writing them than a General Primary Care Physician.
    My little Sidara, PSD, has been a huge blessing in the last 3 years. She has helped me to get off of about 6 heavy duty pain meds; helped me to go outdoors (severe Agoraphobia since 2011) and helped me to sleep better (not seeing hallucinations as much) plus lots of wonderful loving & cuddling every day!
    It may be a struggle for you, but remember “They don’t usually believe that YOU NEED A SERVICE DOG — YOU HAVE TO CONVINCE THEM”. It is YOUR RIGHT to have a Service Animal that will help you to function in a normal fashion on a daily basis, whatever that is to YOU. Also get plugged into a Chat Line with a group of similar people in your condition with Service Dogs, it will help you to find answers and fight the tough battles and easily handle the small ones.

    I really hope this helps some of you… I had a really hard time with getting started, with family & friends who weren’t supportive of Sidara ‘going along every time’, and with the Animal Services not taking it seriously. Agoraphobia is a horrific diagnosis I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    Good luck to all and an Abundance of Wonderful Adventures with your Service Dogs & Your New Lives!
    Linda Beghtel in CA

  14. I have a Service Dog for my PTSD (I am a 100% disable veteran) from my Military service. I paid for the Dog, paid for her training and she really has become my best friend and constant companion. She allows me to live a life that otherwise would be out of my reach (and I’m talking simple things like going to the store, a movie or out for a meal). But, be prepared. You and your Dog will encounter outright hostility, threats and pig ignorant Public servants. There are actually places that I would love to go but avoid because of the vitriol that I’ve encountered (I’ve been threatened with violence, had my Dog threatened, kicked at and threatened with poison). A Service Dog can change your life, but be prepared.

    1. I have 90% VA disability (100% IU), with combat-related PTSD. I recently looked into getting a service dog to help and mentioned it to my therapist at the VA (since the company I am looking at for the dog requires recommendations from my therapist and primary care doctor). My therapist told me that she won’t write a recommendation for PTSD dogs because she believes they encourage “avoidance” and interfere with therapy. I’ve had VA doctors refuse to support any non-VA programs before, so I was prepared for her to say no, but her justification surprised me. I’m curious if you needed recommendations to get your dog accepted as a service animal, plus any pointers on what to do now. Thanks.

    2. Thank you for your service, Keith! I had helped with training PTSD dogs for a couple of Veterans prior to suffering a massive stroke a few years ago, and it’s something I intend to do again once my own situation has stabilized sufficiently. My first Service Dog was poisoned a few months after saving my life during the aforementioned stroke, and I cannot begin to describe how devastating that was, I don’t think I will ever get over it, it was a senseless murder that further degraded my opinion of “humanity” in general.
      You are right to advise people to be prepared, I have encountered inexcusable ignorance from people whose job REQUIRES a basic knowledge of the ADA, such as police officers, and our remedies under the law are limited to filing complaints with the Justice Department and/or suing the offenders in Civil Court, but these actions are an additional ordeal on top of the humiliating and abusive event(s) that made them necessary. Nothing can compensate for being treated as less or other than a human being, but I encourage you and anyone else who suffers such an encounter to PLEASE file that complaint! It’s not for you as much as it is for those who come after us, we are the pioneers of the Service Dog Community, and it is our responsibility to make certain that such discrimination and persecution do not go unnoticed and without consequences, even if those consequences seem horribly inadequate for what the perpetrators put us through. For example, it took a month for a response to my complaint about an incident that happened in Spokane, WA, over the July 4th holiday with a restaurant owner who believed he had the right to refuse to allow Service Dogs in spite of Federal law, and the Gestapo attitudes and tactics of the cops who actually believed that the state of WA can exempt itself from Federal law at their whim! I was threatened and abused and treated abominably by the POLICE, who should have known the law and explained to the business owner (who also should have known the law, as Service animals are covered in the standard Food Handlers licensing test), and the only thing that I salvage of my self-esteem and dignity was gratitude that I managed to make it far enough down the street that none of them could see when I burst into uncontrollable sobbing and tears. I was ready to give up and crawl into a hole if I could find one, but I don’t live in WA, and was taking a train at 2am, so I had to summon all my strength and courage and go on, fortunately I was no longer hungry, lol, just extremely nauseous and terribly aware of how ridiculous it was to think I could be accepted as a normal person when I’m obviously a disabled freak.
      I almost didn’t file the complaint; I wanted to erase the incident from my memory and never visit my friends in WA again, it had been 13 years since I moved away, and the only reason I was able to make that visit is Clyde, my Service Dog, has made it possible for me to do many of the things that have been out of reach for years. I cried when I filed the complaint, writing it down forced me to relive the awful experience, and I cried again when I spoke to the investigator from the Justice Department a month later, but I didn’t feel that I had the option of remaining silent (and yes, I’m even crying a little now, though I’m not one who cries easily or often) knowing that silence implies consent, and someone else who might not be able to withstand such abuse would eventually be subjected to it if I did nothing.
      The fact that there are so many violations that it took a month for a response to my complaint only strengthens my absolute belief that public ignorance must be cured, and the only cure for ignorance is education. As I explained to the man from the Justice Department, I have not retained a lawyer, I’m not a lawsuit type of person (I reserve my right to change that attitude if future events warrant it), I just don’t want anyone else to be subjected to similar mistreatment. This wasn’t even one of those understandable cases of reluctance because of prior experience with a fraudulent and untrained service animal, it was a refusal to allow a well-trained, perfectly behaved Service Dog in his establishment at all under any circumstances, in spite of the laws protecting our rights under the ADA. And believe me, I spent as much time explaining THEIR rights to business owners in WA as I did those of Clyde and myself, probably more. For anyone who might read this who is passing their pet off as a Service Dog even though you don’t NEED your pet’s assistance to function in public, PLEASE TRAIN YOUR DAMN DOG TO BEHAVE APPROPRIATELY! You are making it difficult for those of us who MUST have our teammate’s assistance to have some semblance of a normal existence, and you are going to force the government to make regulations that will cause financial, physical, and mental hardship for a great many disabled people who will then be unable to have access to the type of life now available with the help of a properly trained Service Dog.

  15. I’ve been suffering with major depression and anxiety for 30 years and the panic attacks are getting worse. I am afraid to leave my apartment as I’m afraid to go into the public. I have wanted a service dog for many years. I just want some help please.

  16. I’m pretty sure I have really bad social anxiety since my chest gets really tight and i sweat when I’m talked to or have to talk loud//I front of a crowd. I avoid turning things in or getting up when everyone else is sitting down since I feel like everyone’s staring at me. I get super nervous and my chest tightens when I’m called on or when people look at me. I think I need a psychiatric dog since my anxiety really effects my life but idk if I’m too young?? Im only 13 but it gets really bad and my parents are always like “you don’t have anxiety you’re just shy” but there’s a huge difference. One time when I dropped everything I front of like 40 ppl I couldn’t breathe that well and I was super shaky + my chest tightened. I’m too scared //my anxiety prevents me from talking to a doctor about it. Plus, my parents don’t want another dog, and two of my dogs are too hyper. My third dog is really mellow and isn’t ever hard per but she’s either 8,9, or 10. She’s really well behaved but doesn’t know how to sit or whatever since she’s a rescue. What should I do?? Recently my social anxiety has gotten worse, and it might get even more worse as I age. Please help I’m scared to talk to my family or doc. Abt it bc my anxiety and my fam thinks I just say it for attention 🙁

    1. I also have anxiety and sometimes what helps me with the communication piece is writing or typing what I’m thinking/feeling on a document and showing it to someone. Maybe try writing something to your parents and/or doc? One way or another, you will need to be able to speak up for yourself in order for this to work, in part because you will need to be able to communicate that your dog is a service dog and what task(s) it is trained to do if someone asks. Those are the only questions you may legally be asked, but if you can’t answer them you may be asked to leave public places. I hope this helped and/or it works out for you – good luck!

      1. Yes, this is what I do too sometimes. Write it down and then either read it or give it to them. It helps me a lot with my fear.

  17. What about severe migraines? I get basil migraines and they are so hard to catch, although sometimes I can “detect” I will get a migraine and prevent with tons of advil. My doctor said it would go at the end of puberty. I’m almost 21 and still get them when I am stressed. During these migraines, I’ve been told, I curl in a ball, bawl my eyes out, hyperventilate to passing out multiple times, and sometimes wander outside. I don’t remember ANY of it when I wake up about 12 hours later. My family, who I dont live with anymore, say that they last for about 4-6 hours. My husband is deployed, and I’m scared living by myself. I think a service dog will help me a lot in detecting when I have a migraine coming on, getting me pills when I’m having a migraine, and licking my face or barking at me to get me to take the pills, and keep me from wandering outside the house.

  18. I need a service dog because. I fall I have serve anexity. I can’t sleep I’m depressed because of the situation I’m I’m in . I need a service dog to help me when I fall or to up lift my spirits

  19. How do I know which would be better for me, an ESA or PSD? I feel like I’d need more help/support than an ESA provides, but my anxiety and depression aren’t as severe as lots of the people I’ve heard of who have PSDs. I’m afraid of trying for a PSD and having it be like “oh you’re not nearly bad enough”. Is there a way for me to diagnose myself ahead of time to know which is more suited to my needs?
    Thanks for this post and your website, it’s so helpful!!

    1. I suggest going to tour theripst and talking to them about it. Most times they’ll understand and give you a test for one. Hope I helped any 🙂

  20. This actually makes me really sad in a way. I feel like I might need a PSD becsuse of my depression, anxiety, and other things like anger issues but my parents don’t care or notice and put off trying to find me a therapist. I’m constantly having panic attacks and the only thing that makes me calm down a lot are… well… dogs! Most medications (no matter what they are) don’t even work on me or make if to where I can’t even think. I’ve brought it up that I might need a service dog to my mother but she just said “You’re not getting a service dog.” Very sturnly even though she doesn’t know all the reasons why I need one. I could go on and in because of why I feel like I need a service dog but no one cares in my family. If you read this thank you for your time. Sorry if I sounded mean or anything in sorry heh… 🙂

    1. I am going through the same sort of thing if you ever want to talk you can contact me I feel very alone through this a did not know anyone was going through the same exact thing my email is contact me i’m sure we would have a lot to talk about 🙂

  21. Thank you so much for writing this! I have been looking online for information for weeks (my appointment is tomorrow to discuss this with my doctor) and I’ve printed out several snippets from this and another of your articles to take with me. Seriously, thank you.

  22. This helps a lot cause I have really bad depression that I’m self harming and mess do not work they make it worse and therapy didn’t not help I would also get so stressed I breakdown or I would have self harming meltdowns and I’ve been suffering with it for a while but I would say that I’m fine and act that I’m fine when I’m really not so thank you cause now I’m thinking of a service to help me with this problem sometimes I gets so bad I wouldn’t eat or sleep talk or see others be alone a lot not do anything I would have a hard time working in school because of it so thank you so much I’m going to request it to my doctor

    1. I would also feel very lonely but wouldn’t want to be with anyone or talk to anyone at the same time I would also panic sometimes if I’m over stressed and I would have suicidal thoughts a lot that I had to go through lots of counseling but it never helped I just act like it does so I don’t have to go through it again cause it never helps in fact this is me right now just a little happier now that I know that there is a type of service dog for people like me cause I always thought you had to have ptsd or major medical disabilities to have a service dog so again thank you so much

  23. Hi. I wanted to know if there’s a chance that a service dog would be good for me. I have very bad anxiety that keeps me from being able to socialize and talk to ther people half the time. Sometimes when I’m alone I start thinking about sad stuff that’s happened to me and I start to freak out. It’s really been affecting my school life. My anxiety has gotten so bad that my grades have gone down and I just can’t be me anymore. Sometimes I’m sitting in class and I start freaking out cause I don’t understand anything and quit concentrating on my work. I also have problems where sometimes in the morning when I wake up I get really dizzy, and I’m weak all over. And it’s hard to walk. I’m constantly taking Aleve because I’m always in pain too. But I’ve tried a couple of things for my anxiety. I’ve done counseling a few times but it’s never helped me. And I take medication for my anxiety and other problems. I’ve tried different techniques to calm down and not freak out or get anxious but nothing ever seems to work. Or do any good for me. I’m not sure what to do. I’ve done a lot of research of psd’s and how they could help me. I think it might be a good idea. But I want some more input as well. And then I need some way to tell my mom about this being a possible option for me.

    1. It sounds like you would be a good candidate for a service dog, but I would also talk to your doctor about it to see what he/she thinks. As far as talking to your mom, I would gather up the research you’ve done and give it to her – either a list of links or print out articles that are relevant and just say something like “I really think a service dog would help me with my anxiety. Here’s some information on how I think they can help me.”

  24. I’m currently struggling with what I think is an anxiety disorder. I used to be a very outgoing young girl, but now I’m that person who doesn’t even like to talk online for the fear of getting something wrong. This affects my school life greatly. I also can’t go to sleep without someone around me, as well as have a slight anxiety attack whenever I go to a place that has people in it. I recently told my mom about service dogs, and she said she also went through “shyness” and that I’m just going through a stage in my life that every kid goes through. We agreed that I could try therapy first, and if it “doesn’t work”, we could get a service dog. But I’ve heard of many people who have gotten service dogs while going to therapy. Why do they get them if they’re already getting help? I don’t understand. Can somebody tell me?

    1. Sometimes therapy and medication doesn’t cure all the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety can also sometimes take a long time to get over. Sometimes a service dog can make healing progress faster. It just kind of depends on the individual as to whether or not a service dog makes sense.

  25. Hey can I still get a service dog with a doctors approval and still get one if I have a note saying I need to have one for my seizures that will go away as I get older can I still get a service dog if that happens does this count as a disability…

  26. I suffer from extreme anxiety and depression. I was mentally and physically abused by my mother and sexually abused by her ex boyfriend.

    I do take medication, prescribed by my doctor who diagnosed me, every day. However, I am not able to sleep at night. When I have attacks I am not able to eat. I have hypoglycemia so I need to eat every few hours or I become extremely weak and pass out. I also get hives on my chest and stomach when I have an attack.

    My dog has always been able to sense my anxiety and depression since she was a puppy. When I am having an attack or about to have one, she comes to me and forces me to pay attention to her until my attack goes away. When I am weak she stays by me and lets me use her to get around. I never trained her to do this she just instinctively did it from a puppy.

    She only listens to me, can sit, lay, stay, come and speak when asked. However, she is a very hyper dog.

    If you know how I should go about getting her certified as a Psychiatric Service Dog please let know.

  27. Can my primary care doctor write my son a perscription for a service dog since he is diagnosed autistic and he is 4 years old.

  28. I was diagnosed with servere generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. I have done my research (once I realized the PSDs were a thing) and truly believe having one would benefit (blocking, helping me during panic attacks, obsessive behaviours such as picking, redirecting my attention to them, letting me know someone is coming up behind me etc.). Unfortunately, because of the GAD I am terrified to bring it up with my doctor (a GP) let alone my family. I am afraid he will say no. What do I do if he says no? How would you recommend approaching your doctor about this? What did you say?

  29. I have Severe Depression and mild Anxiety i also am currently dealing with PTSD also but im 11 incredibly broke and not been told by a doctor i habe PTSD Depression or Anxiety but i have the symptons of them all if I get older and raise more money do you think i could talk to a Doctor about this? Thanks.

  30. I have ptsd anxiety and depression but I can’t afford a psd unless i can prove i have to have one and than the state should have to get me one where i am adopted

  31. ive been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder(schizophrenia and depression), social anxiety disorder and panic attacks, psychosis(ive calmed this one down a lot), and PTSD. its all forced me to drop out of school, and when i got a job, i quit it only a few days later because it was just too much.

    close friends and some family members have told me that a PSD would help me out a lot, so i got to looking into it and i really do believe one would help(calming me down or bringing me medication during a panic attack/helping me realize when an attack is coming, helping me during hallucinations + flashbacks, generally just being with me in public to calm me down[where i have the most panic attacks], etc.)

    i cant afford a psd, though. they’re so expensive and i’m 17 years old with a mother on disability. we’ve talked about it a lot and we want to bring it up with my doctor, but havent yet in fear of being let down by the price. could you give me some advice on this, maybe?

    1. Hi Finnian!

      Owner-training might be something to look at then, if you’re worried about the cost of a program dog. The nice thing about owner-training is that a) you can pick a dog from the shelter and b) you can start training the dog to do tasks at home before you even take them into public with you.

      Some program dogs are subsidized (and so cheaper), but that usually means a longer wait too, so it’s a trade off.

      Anyway, hope that helps!
      – Christina

    1. I’m not familiar with the laws for public housing, unfortunately. For most housing, I’d say that ESAs are not subject to pet size limits, but public housing could be subject to different laws.

  32. I feel I could benefit from a psd. I don’t want to say I have anxiety but I’ve been told I do from people that have known me forever. I worry a lot about my family and get really stressed over tgem. I get really stressed and it to the point I get severely stressed at school and can’t pay attention. My grades get really low because of it. When I come home and see my dog me and her go to my room and things go away. At night I get extremely stressed and have to like wiggle my feet to try to go to bed. Rarely ever works. I’ve started outing a medicine ball on my stomach and right beside my shoulder on my chest and it helps but that’s literally my last resort. I have a lot of trouble falling asleep and my migraineshave gotten worse and have had them for 10 years. I have also heard of a migraine alert dog. Could a psd/migraine alert dog help me???? I don’t know what else to do.

    1. It sounds like a psychiatric service dog might be a good choice for you. A service dog can do deep pressure therapy to help relieve the feeling of anxiety, like the medicine ball does. You can also train them so that they can sense when you’re beginning to feel anxious, so you can have them do deep pressure therapy before it gets bad. And some service dogs can alert to migraines as well. However, it’s best to talk to your doctor about your options before going straight to a service dog because it does take time!

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