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12 Ways Pets Help Addiction Recovery

12 Ways Pets Help Addiction Recovery Resurgence Behavioral Health

Many studies have shown that pets provide many psychological and physical benefits to their owners. Anyone who has ever had a pet can attest to their healing presence and how they can make you feel happy, calm, needed, and loved. Not only do dogs and cats create these feelings, but any type of pet can also elicit happiness and feeling needed including reptiles, rabbits, fish, guinea pigs, horses, and so much more.

Having a pet during the recovery process can be very beneficial, both psychologically and physically. They can help many aspects of the recovery process including reducing feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Pets can also help teach about the importance of responsibility and help those in recovery establish a routine.

If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and are looking for help, you may decide that having your pet during your time in a program may be beneficial for you. You may want to find a pet-friendly alcohol and drug rehab.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

How Pets Benefit Our Mental Health

Pets can greatly impact our mental health in a number of ways, mainly by increasing the happy hormones in our body and reducing the bad. Playing with a dog, cat, or other pet helps elevate serotonin and dopamine levels, both of which have been affected by addiction. They can help reduce anxiety and depression, which are often common in long-term drug and alcohol abuse. They increase self-esteem and confidence by offering unconditional love.

Addiction is a mental health disorder, and because pets have such a positive impact on our mental health, they can greatly improve the chances of successful, long-term recovery. Here are some of the ways pets help with addiction recovery:

  1. Pets Provide Emotional Comfort 

Anyone who has owned a pet can attest to their intuition in knowing when you are feeling down or out of sorts. They can help comfort you during those tough times of recovery when you may have had a particularly rough day. Your pet can help you shake off a stressful situation, sadness, or anxiety more easily than on your own, which can keep you from relapsing. They may also be the support you need when no one else is around.

  1. Having a Pet Reduces Stress 

Seeing your pet get so excited when you walk through the door can wash off any stress from the day. It is virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when you are met with a  wagging tail or a kitty rubbing up against your hand. Pets also have an ability to make us laugh which relieves the body’s stress response, soothes tension, and relaxes tense muscles.

  1. Pets Help Establish a Routine

Pets rely on their own in order to be fed, walked, cleaned, and much more. Having a pet forces you to stick to a schedule whether you like it or not. Building a routine is essential to drug and alcohol recovery, reducing craving and reducing the likelihood of a relapse. A pet will help you build and stick to a schedule.

  1. Pets Reduce Loneliness and Boredom

When you decide to quit using drugs or alcohol, you may find you need to distance yourself from old friends who drink or use drugs because that could be a trigger for you. Having fewer friends may cause loneliness, which is stressful and depressing. For many who have spent a long time in recovery, they will always recommend keeping busy to prevent relapses. A pet can help reduce feelings of loneliness and fill up your time, both helping you keep your sobriety.

  1. Pets Teach Responsibility

One of the biggest aspects of addiction is the person’s unwillingness to take on responsibility. Through pet ownership, a person can develop more responsible behaviors because pets depend on you for their wellbeing. They require being fed, loved, exercised, regular doctor’s visits, and bathroom time. Those in recovery may have more motivation to stay sober because their pet depends on them for their survival.

  1. Pets Get You Out of Your Own Head

Getting caught up in your own problems can lead to anxiety and depression. Pets can offer a great distraction to help you stop thinking about your issues and be able to relax, in the past you may have relied on alcohol or drugs to be able to forget your problems.

  1. Pets Take Away Focus from Drugs and Alcohol

At the beginning of recovery, many find it difficult to retrain their brain to stop thinking about the substance they were addicted to. They spent so much time and energy looking for or using their substance, there wasn’t much time for anything else. Having a pet can help take away those thoughts because your focus is on them, whether they need to be taken care of, getting you out of the house, or simply just watching them play around.

  1. Pets Facilitate Social Contact

They can facilitate social contact in many ways. One way is by giving you a topic of conversation, especially with other pet owners. They can also help you be part of a community of other pet owners. A dog will need to be walked or taken to parks for exercise, which may facilitate contact with other people.

  1. Pets Help You Get More Exercise

Whether it is playing with your pet, taking care of their needs, or if it is a dog, walking them outside, can help get you moving more. Dog owners tend to get more exercise than non-dog owners because they need to be taken outside and can help motivate you to get exercise, even on the days you really don’t want to. Exercise is very beneficial for the recovery process because it helps build many of the brain chemicals that have been affected by long-term substance abuse.

  1. Pets Build Self Esteem

Those in recovery often fear or face rejection because of the stigma surrounding substance abuse and mental health disorders. Pets offer unconditional love and accept you no matter, without judgment, no matter how dark your past may be. Owners can internalize positive messages about themselves and increase their self-esteem through their pet’s love.

  1. Pets Offer Unconditional Support

It can be difficult for friends and family to understand your addiction and the choices you made while during active addiction. The person may easily relapse if they feel their loved ones see them as a failure or are not proud of them. A pet offers unconditional love and support that a person in recovery needs in order to stay motivated with their sobriety.

  1. Pets Help Regulate Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Long-term drug and alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on the body. Not only does physical dependence cause many hormonal and biochemical shifts, but it can also cause health issues such as high blood pressure and abnormal heartbeat. Petting an animal has been shown to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone, in the body and reduce blood pressure, and regulate heart rate.

Pet-Friendly Rehab | Resurgence Behavioral Health

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation can be very stressful and lonely, but having your pet with you can help make the process easier. Pet-friendly drug and alcohol rehabs are available, like at Resurgence Behavioral Health, which allows you to bring your pet with you. Bringing your pet to rehab can have many benefits to your recovery and mental health as well as reduce some other stressors.

Some people avoid getting adequate help, such as an inpatient rehab program, out of fear of leaving their pet. Recovery is a lengthy process and leaving your pet 30, 60, or 90 days can be almost impossible. Pet boarding can be expensive, asking a loved one to look after them can be a big favor to ask, it can be distressing for you and your pet, or you may need a service animal with you. A pet-friendly rehab facility can help alleviate all those fears and worries.

At Resurgence, our priority is making sure you and your pet are comfortable and cared for during your detox and rehabilitation program with us. Our programs are tailored to your unique needs and to give you the best chance of long-term recovery. We also offer continued care after you complete the program with options to meet with therapists and doctors, attend recovery groups, and create connections within our sober community.

If you or someone you love is struggling with drugs and alcohol and have avoided help due to a lack of pet care options, please give us a call to learn more about our pet-friendly rehab. We are happy to answer any questions about how to come to rehab with your pet or to find out more about our programs.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.

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