We humans crave companionship, and our furry and feathered friends can provide us with endless entertainment and joy. However, did you know that your relationship with your dog, cat, horse, or bird can actually be more helpful than you originally thought? According to scientists, interacting with an animal companion on a daily basis can help ease the symptoms of withdrawal and deter cravings for drugs or alcohol. Rooted in ancient philosophy and modern medicine, animal therapy (also known as pet therapy) provides a spiritual and emotional release for many people. So, what specifically makes this form of addiction treatment so effective?
A Closer Look at Pet Therapy
Pet therapy involves controlled, guided interactions between a human being with a specially trained animal companion (therapy animal). Typically, individuals who seek this type of therapy are suffering from emotional problems or underlying health issues (in this case, addiction). The most common animals used for pet therapy include dogs, cats, and horses, but therapists may include guinea pigs, birds, or fish under different circumstances. Medical experts divide this form of treatment into two categories:
- Animal-assisted therapy (AAT): rigorous, scheduled meetings with an animal
- Animal-assisted activities (AAA): individuals interact with animals for recreational purposes
Both forms of pet therapy have roots in the biophilia hypothesis, an underlying scientific principle that human beings receive biofeedback from animals as a result of connections in the wild world of the past. In theory, addicts will receive similar feedback from therapy pets that will help them cleanse their mind, body, and spirit.
Two Forms of Pet Therapy for Addiction
Addicts may find resolution in two forms of pet therapy:
Canine Animal Therapy: Designed to reduce feelings of anxiety and improve physical fitness, this procedure involves controlled or causal experiences with dogs. Trained canines may also accompany greatly stressed addicts during psychotherapy sessions.
Horse Animal Therapy (Equine Therapy): This form of pet therapy involves interactions between recovering addicts and horses. Patients undergoing this process receive foundations for rebuilding self-motivation and battling threatening agents.
In many cases, addicts may not be suffering from underlying mental problems and are simply seeking companionship, something animal therapy can most definitely improve. If you think this form of therapy is right for you, seek out a local organization and meet your future friend.
Remember that drugs and alcohol do not have control over your life. You do. If you are suffering from addiction or abuse or have a friend or family member suffering from these illnesses, get in touch with Asana Recovery. Counselors and healthcare experts can walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and help guide you to a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While it might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to keep you and your unborn child safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your alcohol or drug addiction troubles today.