For a successful, long-term recovery, you need all the help you can get. This means a lot of support. Support may come from your sponsor, friends in recovery, your family — even your pet. Support is a vital part of the healing process, and can also prevent relapse. Pets provide unconditional love and companionship. If you don’t have a pet, you might want to think about getting one.
The Therapeutic Power Of Animals
It’s long been known that animals have tremendous therapeutic value. They aren’t just our friends, although that is certainly part of it. The presence of animals is truly healing, whether the animal is your constant companion, or whether it is just squeezing in a few moments of pets and cuddles with an animal you don’t even know. Humans and animals are drawn to each other. Animals have been used in a therapeutic environment for many years, and the practice is becoming more and more common as research continues to show the benefits.
This is something that is backed by research. Multiple studies have been done over the years that show the healing power of animals. Studies show that the presence of animals lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety, increases perceptions of happiness and normalizes the clinical environment. Pets are brought into hospitals, nursing homes, schools and prisons to help people better cope with and improve their situations.
Animal-assisted therapy is used successfully in the treatment of several populations. This includes persons with both mental and physical challenges. At-risk youth, people suffering from addiction and those who are in the prison system are more recent additions to the list of people who are commonly provided animal-assisted therapy. Other groups include youth with autism, adults suffering dementia, persons with physical disabilities, and those who suffer from PTSD, depression and anxiety. Some of these groups crossover, since many people with addiction also suffer from co-occurring mental disorders.
The most popular animals for this application are dogs and horses, but really any domestic animal can have this effect. Caring for animals increases a sense of well-being, and promotes patience, compassion, empathy and responsibility. Equine therapy works wonders, and therapy dogs are becoming more and more common as people realize the benefits of this relationship.
Many alcohol and drug treatment centers incorporate animal-assisted therapy into their programs. This may be as simple as having a pet in the treatment center for residents to interact with and care for, or it may be a formal therapy.
How To Reap The Benefits Of Animal Interaction In Your Own Recovery
Can your pet help keep you sober? Well, not entirely, but your furry friend can certainly help. Pets lower stress levels and improve your sense of well-being. Pets are amazing companions, offering unconditional love. They help stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation. Since stress and loneliness are common triggers for relapse, there is something to the theory that pets help aid in ongoing addiction recovery.
Animals as therapeutic companions were once reserved for people who had specific disabilities such as blindness. Today, companion animals are also authorized for people who have other disorders, including anxiety and depression. Animals that are registered as therapy pets are given special status and concessions. In other words, you may be able to have a therapy pet in an apartment complex that doesn’t normally take pets, or be able to take your companion pet with you on public transportation or to school.
Still, it’s not always feasible to keep a pet. Even if you can’t, or don’t want to have a pet, you can still enjoy the benefits of interacting with animals. You can volunteer at an animal shelter, for example. This is a great way to combine being of service in your community with getting in some quality time with dogs, cats, horses, etc. You can volunteer to walk a neighbor’s dog, or sign up to temporarily foster animals that are in need.
Getting Help For Addiction
If you are ready to get help for yourself or are looking for help for a loved one, Broadway Treatment Center is there for you. Our facility is an award-winning, progressive addiction rehab that provides cutting-edge treatments and therapies. Broadway Treatment Center recognizes the unique, healing benefits that pets provide, and offers a welcoming environment that is pet-friendly. Call Broadway Treatment Center today at 714-443-8218 to get started.