Pets and the Benefits They Have On Recovery

While there is no cure for alcoholism, there are many ways you can improve your recovering lifestyle. One way you can do this is by having pets.

Any person who has come home after a stressful day working can attest to the benefits of animal companionship. Seeing a dog’s friendly face or hearing a cat’s soft purring can relieve stress and make the day a whole lot better. There has been a lot research showing that human and animal bonding has many health benefits and rewards. For example, animals help lower the agitated behavior sometimes seen in Alzheimer’s patients. It also helps decrease the anxiety some cancer patients experience.

Now, you are probably wondering how an animal can assist people who are dealing with a substance abuse disorder, right? Many addiction treatment centers are currently allowing inpatients the option of bringing along their loving pet. If a patient chooses to bring in their pet, the furry family friend will be incorporated into the patient’s care plan. There are many benefits of using pets to help treat alcoholism and substance abuse disorders.


Pets Help Patients Release Good Chemicals

Feeding, caring for, and playing with a furry friend releases the mood elevating chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. When your mood is elevated, you feel better inside, and are more likely to make positive decisions. This means you are less likely to drink or use any harmful substance.

Pets Help Reduce Negative Emotions

Guilt, anxiety, depression, and loneliness commonly surface in people who are being treated with an addiction. This is especially true in the early steps of recovery. However, the nearness of a beloved family pet may help relieve some of these feelings. It could also bring positive vibes to the patient. In turn, the patient will feel loved, useful, and have a reduction in their negative emotions.

Pets Help You Relax

People with an addiction often suffer with anxiety and high blood pressure. They may have trouble coping with difficult situations, as well. Anxiety and high blood pressure can often be eased when a person relaxes and calms themselves down. Have you ever petted a furry little dog and noticed your anxiety ease up? This is how many people feel when they spend time with animals. Pets can help you relax, reduce anxiety, and decrease blood pressure. They can help a person cope with stressful situations as well.

Pets Decrease Hostility and Sadness

Many experts believe a person who has taken care of, played with, and loved a pet will have less hostility and sadness. Pets can make a person feel loved, needed, and important. This can help a person’s self-esteem and allow them to stay more positive during their recovery program.

Pets Keep You Accountable

Two of the keys in addiction recovery are to learn life skills and take a sense of accountability. These are important factors to achieve your goal of recovery. Being held accountable for another life such as your pet’s life could be a good skill to learn. It also enables you to take responsibility and accountability for someone other than yourself. Being able to do this is a sign that you are heading down the right track.

Pets Encourage Healthy Habits

It is important for a person in recovery to get to work on improving their physical, mental, and emotional health. Thankfully, when a person exercises they get a mood boost which can help them improve their overall health. Walking a dog, playing with a cat, or riding a horse are all good exercises to help you get moving and aid you in recovery.

Pets Reduce Stress Levels

People who enter into a substance abuse treatment program often drop out before completing it. There is a stress hormone, cortisol, that everyone has. Sometimes this hormone becomes elevated, making it hard to cope, and making life a little more difficult. Elevated levels of this hormone might be the reason why so many people choose to drop out of treatment programs. Pets can help reduce stress levels. This is why having pets in addiction treatment facilities could help patients stay for the entire program.

Pets will love you unconditionally. They are always there for you, eager to receive your attention, love, care, and devotion. Pets will not criticize or judge you. They will not treat you unfairly. This acceptance can definitely help people improve their self-esteem and reach their goals in recovery programs. Another positive thing about owning a pet is that they will be happy to greet you when you walk in the home no matter what mistakes you made during your day.

Furry friends give emotional support which makes a person feel wanted, needed, and loved. Yes, humans can also offer you unconditional love. However, often the judgements from humans can be disruptive to recovery progress, especially in families where someone is facing an addiction. However, pets are not able to enable your addiction.

They will simply love you.

Pets of all kinds can help a person in addiction recovery. Birds, horses, dogs, cats, and other types of loving creatures can all give you the support needed for a successful recovery. Animals in general display true emotional honesty. They do not hide their feelings of anger, fear, and happiness. Everyone can benefit from showing emotional honesty. When a person has been addicted to a substance such as drugs or alcohol they have a hard time expressing and showing emotions. This trait has to be relearned. Animals can help you begin to relax and teach you how to express your emotions.

Addiction rehab centers have come to learn pets are beneficial for people with addictions in many ways. For example, in most cases, an addict must let go of old relationships and create new ones. Generally, it is easier to bond with an animal than a person. You can talk to them about anything without feeling ashamed or alone. There are so many great benefits from having a pet help you with your recovery. Perhaps it is time for you to adopt a furry friend who will support you in this time of your life.

2 thoughts on “Pets and the Benefits They Have On Recovery”

  1. Aren’t animals amazing? They provide us with such sweet, healing magic. I enjoyed reading your article although I am not an alcoholic nor suffer any other kind of addiction. But I do suffer from chronic depression and know the ways animals can help. A lot. Thanks for all that you do.


Leave a Comment