It may surprise you to know that some inpatient alcohol rehab programs allow you to bring your pet to treatment. In hearing this, pet owner or not, you may wonder why. Pets are comforting, and they can make us smile, but what benefits do they offer within a pet-friendly alcohol rehab program?
Reasons Why People Bring Their Pets To Rehab
Pet-friendly alcohol rehab programs offer engaging treatment options for animal lovers who suffer from an alcohol use disorder. Like many circumstances surrounding treatment, the exact reason why a person chooses to bring their pet to treatment varies.
For many, pets are considered part of the family. For others, a cat or dog may be the only family they have. Regardless of these things, and no matter how you think of your pet, chances are they’re an important part of your life and daily routine. Beyond this, they make you smile, offer comfort, and provide a welcome distraction from the routines of daily life, all things which can be helpful during treatment.
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When considering rehab, it can be distressing to imagine leaving your pet behind while you go to treatment. Even if you have someone to look after your pet, it may be upsetting to leave your pet in someone else’s care for an extended period of time. Some individuals may not have friends or family members who are willing to help out in this way.
Whatever the reason, choosing a pet-friendly alcohol rehab program can enhance your treatment experience and greatly benefit your recovery.
The Benefits Of Pet-Friendly Rehab Facilities
As you’re facing the challenges of treatment and recovery, a pet’s unwavering love can be a welcome boost. Pets are impartial to your life and your circumstances, responding with loyalty and affection even when times are tough. Within recovery, this rewarding experience can help to build:
- Emotional Stability: Through thick and thin, our animals provide love without judgment or the need for compensation (aside from pets). For an individual in treatment, this can be priceless. Alcoholism often strips away what you hold most dear to you. This includes losing relationships or the trust of the people you care most about.
The companionship of a pet can help to heal these emotional wounds and bolster your morale.
Not only this but having a pet with you during rehab can work as a welcome ice-breaker, making it easier to connect to your peers during treatment.
- Inspiration: As your pet reminds you of your life outside of treatment, and possibly your family too, they help to keep you focused on what you’re fighting for. If you’re bringing a family pet, they might remind you of times spent with loved ones, yet another way you can stay focused on your goals and the good things within your life.
- Responsibility: Taking care of your pet during treatment helps to forge a sense of responsibility and pride and rebuild your self-esteem. Having a pet with you during treatment keeps you accountable, both to yourself and them.
Each day you have a living being waiting for you, requiring your care, attention, and love. This forces you to create and maintain routines, the necessary structure within your life which was likely missing as the pursuit of alcohol took over your life.
- Increased Habits Of Self-Care: The sense of responsibility you encounter while caring for your pet can even inform your own care and sense of self-love. Being responsible for your pet’s well-being encourages you to take your own care-taking more seriously.
- Interpersonal Skills: Looking after your pet’s most basic needs force you to think beyond yourself in a way which develops empathy and encourages you to be more conscientious. These traits can help you cultivate more enhanced interpersonal skills. Being able to interact with people in a positive and engaging way can help to protect your sobriety, while also furthering you within your job and relationships, critical elements of a stable recovery.
Beyond these benefits, quality time spent with pets has been directly correlated to improved mental and physical health.
Pets Help To Improve Mental And Physical Health
Encountering an animal that is receptive and welcoming to you, regardless of the day’s struggles, can help to build a more balanced, positive state of mind. In fact, studies show that interacting with an animal, whether your own or someone else’s, has positive impacts on mood, mental health, and stress reduction.
Drug addiction upsets the fine chemical balance within your brain which is responsible for cognition and mood; specifically, it alters your levels of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in your brain). These negative changes not only perpetuate addiction, but they can also create or worsen mood shifts and mental illnesses.
Quality time with a pet has been shown to boost levels of certain mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and hormones, such as serotonin and oxytocin while bolstering emotional health overall. Depression and anxiety, two co-occurring disorders which frequently present with addiction, have shown a reduction in symptoms after animal interactions, according to numerous scientific studies.
Spending time with your pet doesn’t just benefit your mental health; an individual’s physical health can also improve in various ways due to this companionship. As you take care of your animal, you’ll be reminded of the importance of self-care within your own life, a viewpoint which will help better your general state of health.
One scientific survey of 69 studies which focused on human-animal interactions reported that this connection could increase immune system functioning; have a positive effect on cardiovascular health, including a reduction in blood pressure; and possibly help manage pain. When you consider the fact alcohol abuse causes plenty of health problems, these and other benefits are worth considering.
Pet-friendly alcohol rehab programs aren’t the only way you can enjoy and benefit from these positive impacts. More and more, rehab facilities are integrating animal therapy into their programs, so that even individuals without pets can benefit from the healing, comfort, and inspiration animals offer.
Finding A Pet-Friendly Alcohol Treatment Program
Now that you’ve decided you’d like to bring your pet to treatment, it’s time to find a rehab facility which accepts your furred friend.
While the majority of programs may not offer this accommodation, a fair number do. Don’t get disheartened and let this be a reason why you put off seeking treatment. Choosing the right treatment program offers you the best chance of gaining control over your life and addiction.
Good treatment is multidimensional in nature. For this reason, it’s important to make sure you look at the whole picture and consider what other aspects of treatment are important to you. We can help you to examine your life, health needs, and financial standing to determine which program and treatment modalities are right for you.
Once you select a program, be aware that you will need to provide basic essentials for your animal (food, cat litter, etc.), in addition to being responsible for their day-to-day needs.
Even if your treatment facility doesn’t allow an animal to live with you full time, they may permit your pet to visit you during treatment.
In either case, if you’re an animal lover, you might want to consider looking into a pet-friendly alcohol rehab program.