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Addiction Treatment and Therapy Animals

Addiction Treatment and Therapy Animals Resurgence – A woman goes through addiction treatment with dogs with this cute pup.

Therapy Animals in Addiction Treatment

There is something special about addiction treatment with dogs and horses. Recovering addicts undergoing treatment must cope with emotional, mental, and physical problems. Therapy animals in addiction treatment is a natural way to rebuild the neurochemical pathways in your brain.

Lifelong addiction invariably changes the ways your brain functions. Drugs artificially stimulate the neurotransmitters and receptors in your brain. Over time this deficiency can hinder your motivation to commit to addiction treatment.

When you interact with a dog or ride a horse, it naturally stimulates the brain’s reward pathways. Therapy animals can help you develop healthy habits and established routines that will reduce the need for drugs.

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Why is Animal Therapy Effective?

Animal therapy is not a stand-alone treatment; however, it can motivate you to stay in alcohol rehab and drug rehab. Animals have a way to help you work through mental health issues compared to other therapy types. Animals are keen to pick up if you are anxious, sad, or angry.

Animal therapy is effective because it can provide immediate feedback regarding your state of mind. However, there is a difference between a therapy animal and a pet. Pets offer round-the-clock companionship, which helps you to deal with depression and keeping stress minimized.

But you are solely responsible for the upkeep of your pet. On the other hand, therapy animals are highly trained, social, friendly, and calm. They can adapt to any environment.

Their trainers provide all the care and upkeep. Therapy animals offer the joy of having a pet, without the stress of providing full-time care.

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Positive Associations in Drug Treatment

The first year in drug recovery is the most difficult. It takes time for your brain to heal from the damages of drug use. Addiction hinders motivation. Many voluntarily leave treatment early because of the emotional and physical problems that come along with drug abuse.

Due to these issues, it can be challenging to find the inner motivation to see treatment to the end. Positive associations are the most important element in any effective treatment program. Animal therapy in a drug treatment program can help you successfully finish.

How Does a Therapy Animal Make a Difference?

When you interact with a therapy animal, your therapists can observe your interactions. Addiction treatment with dogs can help identify unhealthy coping mechanisms. You can find ways to reduce and eliminate the need to use drugs to deal with challenges. Research shows that dogs lower stress without compromising traditional therapy. Research confirms that animal therapy improves long-term outcomes in addiction treatment.

What are the Benefits of a Therapy Animal?

When you add the element of therapy animals, it strengthens your resolve. Having a positive relationship between your provider and self indicates positive outcomes. Addiction treatment with dogs helps you develop mindfulness. You are more likely to overcome emotional barriers more quickly with therapy animals.

Research shows therapy animals in addiction treatment increase confidence, elevate moods, and boost communication skills. These three elements are helpful when you are on the path to recovery. Therapy animals are also an addiction source of help for those with a dual diagnosis.

Addiction is different for everyone. Animals are not interested nor care about this. They only want to seek your attention and provide comfort.

Addiction Treatment with Dogs

Dogs are common therapy animals in treatment. Canines are keenly observant. They are gentle by nature, calm, and responsive. Dogs are ideal therapy animals for addiction treatment. Activities with dogs include physical and verbal interactions.

Addiction treatment with dogs helps recovering addicts develop trust, learn boundaries, improve communication, and increase self-esteem. Dogs in addiction treatment can help develop problem-solving skills. Addiction treatment with dogs is effective because the interaction can help you overcome the shame and fear of talking about your drug abuse.

You may find yourself more open to candidly discussing how the negative consequences of drug abuse affect you. Through this process, the brain can repair itself and motivate you to live a life without drugs.

Addiction Treatment with Horses

Addiction treatment with horses is a growing trend for the treatment of substance use disorders. The element of horses in addiction treatment is complementary to drug detox, alcohol detox, and psychotherapy. Horses have several similar characteristics to humans. The way they respond in their behavior mirrors your state of mind.

This feedback provides you with unique insight into your actions. Addiction treatment with horses can help you work through the emotional and psychological issues related to drug abuse. Under the direction of a licensed professional, you will learn how to care for a horse.

Addiction treatment with horses requires you to perform regular beneficial activities such as riding, grooming, and overall care. As a therapeutic approach, addiction treatment with horses creates a positive experience in a therapeutic setting.

What is the Best Therapy Animal?

There are many different types of animals, besides dogs and horses. Depending on the treatment program you enter, you may discover a variety of therapy animals available. The use of animals during therapy reduces anxiety, strengthens the therapeutic alliance, and enhances positive experiences during treatment.

Many people struggling with addiction leave treatment too soon. A strong therapeutic alliance is necessary. When you can trust the process, you will benefit from therapy and cooperate with treatment.

The research is limited to the effectiveness of different animals. However, researchers believe most therapy animals are equally effective. The choice comes down to your personal preference. While addiction treatment with dogs is the most common, many different types of animals are just as beneficial.

These include:

  • cats
  • rabbits
  • guinea pigs
  • birds
  • llamas
  • alpacas


When you are ready to seek treatment, there are many different ways to help you recover. Knowing the options can help you wisely decide which addiction treatment center is the right fit. Adequately understanding the difference in care is vital to a successful recovery. Having some choice in how you receive treatment can help you keep your commitment to recovery. Not all aspects of addiction treatment are positive.

Nevertheless, positive experiences in addiction treatment motivate you to meet your recovery goals. Therapy animals provide a natural way to help rebuild the reward pathways in your brain.

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Do you want treatment but are worried about how you can pay for it? We have a team of financial professionals who provide free insurance verification. We will work with you to determine how to move forward with the treatment in a way that works for you and your financial situation.

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How to Get Help

Are you or someone you love struggling with addiction? Help is available. You are not alone in this struggle. The trained professionals at Resurgence Behavioral Health are prepared to make sure you can live addiction-free.

Call 877-321-0422 to schedule your consultation. Let today be the day you reach out to so that you can begin to reclaim the life you have been missing!

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At Resurgence, we accept most PPO insurance. Verify your insurance now.