Rehab & Recovery

How Your Pet Can Help With Addiction and Recovery

As the experts begin to learn more about the benefits of animals during addiction recovery, you may see them in more and more rehab facilities. Research has found that patients may feel calmer, happier and safer during their recovery. Once out of rehab, patients are also more successful at staying sober and avoiding a relapse to previous habits. Having a pet creates a sense of purpose and can boost mood and create opportunities for healthy social interactions. 

Dogs especially offer a wide range of benefits, including creating the need to get up and get moving and providing patients with unconditional love. If you want to explore treatment for your addiction, a dog can become an important part of your recovery. Seek out a rehab facility that allows pets so you can bring your furry friend. If you don’t already have a pet, now would be a good time to consider adopting one. 

Keep reading to find out the best reasons to choose a pet friendly recovery center. 

Security, Stability and Meaning

Entering rehab can be scary and overwhelming and requires you to give up things that previously gave you comfort and security, whether that’s drugs or alcohol. It’s a huge life change, but one that is necessary for your health and well-being, but that doesn’t make it easier to do. One thing that can help make it easier for you is to have your pet by your side. 

Research has found that people with mental illnesses report needing their pet for functioning and for improving their symptoms. Some even compare their dogs to family members, ranking them as higher in importance in many cases. The security, routine and safety that a pet provides offers a sense of control that aids in recovery. 

Boost Mood

Rehab can be a time of frustration, anxiety and depression, but dogs have been proven to be great at boosting mood during difficult times. When you spend time walking, playing with or petting your dog, you may notice a significant reduction in negative feelings. Interacting with a pet can also reduce stress and boost your mood overall. 

If you don’t have a pet of your own, choosing a dog-friendly rehab center allows you to take advantage of these benefits by interacting with dogs that belong to other patients. This includes during group therapy and during other interactions in the center. 

Improve Physical Health

When you enter rehab for drugs or alcohol, chances are that your health isn’t at its best. Using these substances can harm both your body and your mind. The right facility with focus on your physical health in addition to traditional therapy techniques. You should be learning about nutrition, exercise and how to make healthy lifestyle choices. 

A dog is a great way to get on track with your physical health. You will naturally be more active with a dog by your side and simply being around pets has been shown to lower blood pressure. Playing with your dog and taking it for walks gets you moving and jump starts good physical health. This means better heart health and a lower risk of unhealthy cholesterol levels. 

Increase Motivation

Finding the motivation to recover can be difficult for some patients, particularly those who are not in rehab by their own choice. You may be focused on what you’re missing out on, missing friends and family and generally feeling unmotivated to get better. This makes it easier to come up with excuses as to why your recovery isn’t progressing as it should. 

For many people, the prospect of disappointing their pet is harder to cope with than the other reasons they’ve come up with. Your pet won’t be able to function without you. Who would feed it? Who would walk it? This is a strong motivator for many people and can produce action where other techniques can’t. Having your pet is a reminder that someone is counting on you.

Adopting a Dog During Recovery

Adopting a dog is a big responsibility, whether you’re in rehab or not. Make sure you understand how much time and energy you’ll need to devote to your new pet. There is a lot of evidence that dogs are helpful during addiction recovery but going into it unprepared won’t be as successful so make sure it’s the right choice for you before you go through with an adoption. 

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