Is Drug Rehab with Pets really effective?

09/06/2017 04:43 pm ET

The business of treating substance abuse and mental health issues is growing steadily. With the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency estimating that over 23 million Americans (age 12 and older) are addicted to alcohol and other drugs it is no wonder.

And as with any industry experiencing growth and demand, the rehab industry has responded with many sub niches emerging both in treatment approach and type of facilities available.

One such sub niche is the treatment of addiction with the use of animal therapy as well as the option to bring your beloved pet along with you during your time in treatment.

Making the decision to enter treatment is rarely easy, but having to take that first step when you have to leave your pet behind as well can feel monumental. For some, bringing along a furry friend isn’t just a convenience; it’s the only option aside from putting the pet up for adoption.

Thankfully, many facilities understand this and offer rehab with pets, so you can begin the path to wellness and keep your pet with you throughout treatment.

Benefits of Rehab with Pets

Support: Animals don’t judge and they provide unconditional love. Their presence during treatment is emotionally beneficial.

Recovery: Studies have shown that people who interact with animals recover from illness faster.

Responsibility: Treatment often focuses on creating schedules and holding yourself accountable. Basic pet care provides an excellent opportunity to build your skills.

Self-Esteem: Taking care of your pet, especially if the alternative is putting your animal up for adoption prior to treatment, can help build confidence in your abilities.

Social: It can be difficult to break the ice and talk to new people at first. Animals are an easy gateway to conversation. This is great during therapy and as you get to know other people staying at the treatment center.

Do all rehab centers allow pets?

Each facility sets its own guidelines and the rules will vary greatly from one to the next.

You can start by doing some research into rehabs near you with pets online or by asking your physician or friends for recommendations.

But do not let your desire to keep your furry friend with you prevent you from seeking treatment. Assistance is available if you need help finding a facility that can accommodate you.

Are the animals involved in treatment?

Each facility offers something a little different, but most dog-friendly and cat-friendly rehab centers do integrate the animals into the overall treatment plan. They may come along to therapy sessions or be welcome at group events. Of course, keeping your pet in your room with you to provide companionship and support directly involves them in the process as well.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS