Many pet owners brag their beloved pets greatly increase their quality of life, providing constant companionship and love. Though not every aspect of pet ownership is glamorous, pets offer a unique sort of company, not even human relationships can replicate.
Even more obvious are the benefits of pet therapy within the context of rehabilitation and recovery. Studies show that just by petting a dog, psychological benefits include a drop in heart rate, lower blood pressure, and reduced stress. Though rehab may feel frustrating and stressful at times, the mere presence of a pet can do wonders for the client’s emotional and mental health.
An often-overlooked benefit of pet therapy is the motivation to exercise and be active. Animals, like humans, need to get outside and get moving. Studies suggest adding exercise to the addiction treatment can greatly improve the effects of recovery. This promotes a healthy and sustainable recovery routine that continues even after rehab ends. Getting active can include almost anything, from playing fetch to going for a run. This releases endorphins that may improve the quality of sleep and reduce symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Finally, pet ownership requires a certain level of responsibility in order to care for an animal with very real physical needs. Their complete reliance upon their owner builds feelings of trustworthiness, which promotes self-worth, self-esteem, and feelings of competence. Particularly during rehab when withdrawal symptoms may be intense and feelings of loneliness ebb and flow, pets offer constant loving approval and companionship that may be one of the pivotal components of addiction recovery.
If you or a loved one are living with a drug or alcohol addiction, call us today at (888) 507-1355 for more information on Pet Therapy. Our trained treatment specialists offer free and confidential assessments to find the best treatment program for you.
“They motivate us to play, be affecionate, seek adventure and be loyal.” – Tom Hayden