Recent studies have documented the positive effect that a human-animal relationship can have, with a measurable reduction of stress levels and significant psychological impact, especially for individuals who have closed themselves off from human relationships and their own emotional states. Therapy with animals can allow these individuals to open themselves up and examine critical issues that relate to their substance abuse or mental health problems. At Seaside Palm Beach, we provide animal-assisted therapy for addiction for all our patients who undergo luxury rehab here at our facility.
What Is Animal Assisted Therapy?
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a therapeutic strategy that uses animals to support, reassure, and encourage patients who are receiving care for physical or mental health difficulties. Hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and institutions for mental health are just a few places where AAT can be offered. From horses, bunnies, and dolphins to dogs and cats, many different creatures can be utilized as therapy animals. A qualified therapist or handler guides the therapy and collaborates with the animal to provide the patient with a secure and comforting setting.
How Animals Can Relieve Stress
Research has shown that interacting with animals, particularly in a structured therapeutic setting, can have a dramatic impact on an individual’s sense of well-being, stress levels, and overall mental health. The human/animal connection goes back thousands of years in human history, with animals providing human beings with numerous tangible and intangible benefits.
Spending time with animals can have a calming effect on the body, lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels, which is a hormone associated with stress. Additionally, petting an animal can release oxytocin, a hormone that helps to promote feelings of relaxation and well-being. The simple act of spending time with an animal, whether it’s a dog, cat, or even a fish, can help to reduce stress and improve overall mood.
Anyone who has ever owned a pet or spent a significant amount of time around one understands the inherent stress relief they offer. A pet’s unconditional love can often make us feel like they are our best and perhaps only friend in the world. This understanding is what prompted Seaside Palm Beach to create a residential rehab program where our patients are allowed to bring their pets to our facility. Engaging in animal-assisted therapy can help so many individuals stay on track in their recovery efforts. Stress can be a major factor in the onset of drug triggers. When patients experience pain and discomfort during treatment from our detox programs, the love of a pet can really help them get through difficult moments.
The Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy for Addiction
Going through the rehab process removes patients from their everyday lives. Permitting their pets to stay with them gives them some comfort in familiarity while also giving them the responsibility to care for another life. This promotes the type of selflessness and self-awareness needed to succeed in addiction recovery. The pets themselves serve as forms of rehabilitation.
Oftentimes, it is best for patients to spend time with pets in therapy, as opposed to opening up to friends and family. Pets offer a non-judgmental ear that recovering substance abusers need. There are many different types of therapy approaches that specifically help addicted individuals overcome the disease, and animal-assisted therapy is one of them.
Additionally, animals can offer a sense of companionship and social support, which can be especially beneficial for those who are under stress due to feelings of isolation or loneliness. The sense of discipline and routine that comes with owning a pet might be helpful for people who are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. The positive impacts of stress can also be mitigated by caring for a pet, which can provide one with a feeling of purpose and meaning. Overall, having pets can help with stress management and general well-being.
The support of an animal companion can go a long way during the recovery journey, and many people rely on their pet’s love during this time. Recovering addicts may feel lonely or empty during rehab, and being in the presence of animals can truly help you cope. If you are struggling with addiction and you don’t know where to turn, our luxury treatment center in Palm Beach can help you overcome this disease. We provide animal-assisted therapy for addiction at our facility, and our patients find support through this companionship.