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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Animal-Assisted Addiction Therapy

Animal assisted addiction therapy
The internet is overrun with animal videos and cute animal memes: evidence of our love for animal antics. Now, therapists are using the human affinity for animals as a treatment pathway for mental and physical conditions, including addiction—and the results are nothing short of amazing.

Positive Human Responses to Therapy Animals 

Pets and rescue animals have been used in hospitals and nursing homes for years to engage and comfort patients. Horses have been used to help adults and children with mobility challenges. Doctors who monitored these activities began to notice some interesting physical and mental side effects in their patients:

  1. A drop in blood pressure & heart rates 
  2. Improved mood 
  3. Reduction in anxiety, anger, & stress 
  4. Growth in self-esteem & feelings of empowerment 
  5. Improved social function 

Canine Therapy in Addiction Treatment 

These beneficial effects are now being used to impact addiction treatment. Patients respond to the unconditional affection and acceptance of dogs, and often reveal hidden trauma, grief, and abuse. Observing the patient/dog interaction, a therapist can gain insight into the hidden causes of the patient’s addiction. Patients also learn from the interaction, becoming aware that successful social behavior requires acceptance, boundaries, and control of one’s own emotions.

Spiritual and Emotional Reflection and Growth 

Red Oak Recovery®’s beautiful campus in the foothills of North Carolina is a perfect setting for innovative drug treatment that includes canine therapy, recreational activities, and gender-specific programs for young men and women. Our treatment model addresses the emotional and mental conditions that often underlie addictive behavior. At the same time, we provide individuals with the time and space they need for reflection and personal growth. Call 866-831-9107 to speak with an admissions counselor today and begin your journey from addiction to recovery.

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