“Spending time with  animals boosts the release of endorphins in our body which eases our mind and reduces the feelings of stress”


Animal-assisted therapy, as the name suggests, is the involvement of animals to help with a variety of health issues. For people suffering from mental health disorders, critical illnesses such as Alzheimer’s or cancer, and even patients dealing with substance abuse disorder, animal-assisted therapy has proven to be quite effective. The therapy includes interaction with the animals which helps to alleviate uncomfortable feelings and provides a sense of serenity.

Spending time with animals boosts the release of endorphins in our body which eases our mind and reduces the feelings of stress, depression, anxiety, aggression, and low self-esteem. Numerous hospitals now have therapy dogs to comfort patients who are stressed with their various ailments.

Some treatment centers use a variety of animals such as cats, rabbits, horses, birds, etc., to offer animal-assisted therapy to their patients.

Pets share an extraordinary bond with their owners. The fact that being near your pet provides a great feeling is well known, and is exactly what drives the basic idea of animal-assisted therapy. Various studies over the years have concluded the presence of pets have a positive impact on our minds and help boost the recovery process.


Here’s why pets can be a great choice


As soon as someone turns to addiction, their unwillingness to accept any responsibility, no matter how big or small, is an issue that needs to be fixed. Pets offer love. When with pets, addicts know they have a responsibility to take care of something, and it’s not about them. Having this feeling inside can aid those in recovery to think about something other than themselves.


Emotional Balance

Pets respond to our emotions rather than our actions. Being around animals who understand emotions and react accordingly can help patients control their responses, and adjust it to sync with the animal’s emotional needs and not their own.


Confidence and Self-Worth

Unlike anything else, pets show gratitude for even the smallest gesture of love. When a patient interacts with a pet, their ability to handle the pet in a good way can induce a feeling of self-confidence. This also inspires them to conduct more selfless acts in the future as they progress in their life.


The Best Emotional Escape

Playing with pets and spending a small amount of time with them might become the best time of your day. They provide a healthy emotional escape from the issues burdening your minds such as anxiety, stress, and depression.


Types of  Therapy

According to the National Association of Social Workers, there are two ways in which animals are involved in therapies.

Pet Therapy

In this type, volunteers take ownership of taking their gentle and well-trained pets to different settings involving hospitals or schools. The idea is to make the patients who are suffering from a critical disease or have gone through a painful surgery feel better. Pet therapy is quite straight forward and provides joy.


Animal-Assisted Therapy

This is a more specific approach where the animal is involved in the treatment process based on the recommendations of social workers, therapists, and counselors. Although this therapy can be carried out with a variety of animals, two of the most commonly used therapies involving animals are canine-assisted therapy (dogs) and equine-assisted therapy (horses).


Effectiveness of the Therapy

There have been mixed levels of effectiveness observed in such kinds of therapies. However, in people who relate to animals, animal-assisted therapy has proven to be quite effective. A report from Current Pain and Headache Reports states using animal-assisted therapy on cancer patients resulted in lower pain levels. This is also clinically proven by observing the increased levels of endorphins after the patient’s interaction with the animal.

For substance use disorder, studies say involving a dog in sessions between a therapist and a patient can make the person feel more confident and positive. When animal-assisted therapy is used along with other standard treatment methods, it is bound to provide great results and is known to yield desirable results. 


Content for Scottsdale Recovery Center and Arizona Addiction Recovery Centers created by Cohn Media, LLC. www.cohn.media

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