5 Ways Animals Help Addiction Treatment Patients in Recovery

by | Oct 6, 2023

Addiction can be a challenging and isolating struggle, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. If you are seeking addiction treatment in Louisville, Kentucky, there is hope.

Recovering from addiction can be challenging and isolating. Sometimes it can feel as if no one understands you or is there for you. This is where animals can step in to help.

Having animals play a part in helping addiction treatment patients in recovery may seem odd but it’s incredibly therapeutic. Animals can provide support whether through animal-assisted therapy, caring for pets, or having a service animal. The animals commonly used this way include dogs and horses in what’s referred to as canine and equine therapy, respectively.

Here are 5 ways animals can help those in recovery:

Reducing stress and anxiety

Petting animals or even spending time interacting with them has been known to encourage the release of endorphins. These hormones help in relieving stress and anxiety which can be helpful, especially in the first stages of recovery.

Providing unconditional love and support

Unlike people, animals don’t judge, criticize, discriminate, or hold grudges. They simply accept people as they are, making them ideal companions for those in recovery. Being accepted unconditionally by animals helps boost one’s self-esteem and also reduces feelings of isolation that are common in recovery.

Promoting physical activity

Regular physical activity and exercise help reduce cravings while improving an individual’s well-being. Caring for animals such as dogs or horses involves physical activity through walking, playing, and engaging in outdoor activities. This contributes to better physical and mental health for those in recovery.

Fostering routine and responsibility

Animals require commitment and adherence to a daily routine that involves consistent grooming, feeding, and exercise. For those in recovery, establishing structure and routine around caring for animals can be instrumental in maintaining sobriety. This regularity can help foster discipline and a sense of purpose in those recovering from addiction, which in turn reduces the likelihood of relapse.

Enhancing emotional regulation

Recovering from addiction involves learning how to manage and regulate emotions without resorting to substance abuse. Animals can serve as emotional mirrors, helping those in recovery become more aware of their feelings. As they bond with animals, individuals can learn healthier ways to cope and express their emotions.

Your Recovery Is Our Priority

Breaking free from the bonds of addiction can be challenging. We at Impact Outpatient Program understand this and aim to provide the necessary support and resources to all who need them. We offer both intensive outpatient treatment and outpatient care in an environment that’s conducive to recovery. To further meet the unique needs of every person, we offer virtual telemedicine sessions for those who can’t make it to the in-person therapy sessions. We also have a simple same-day admission process and work with different insurance providers to ensure addiction treatment and recovery are accessible. Give us a call today to see how we can help you achieve lasting, sustainable sobriety.

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