Pet Friendly Detox & Rehabilitation
Drug Rehabilitation is a very rigorous and demanding procedure in several ways, especially emotionally. Addicts often feel as if they are being dealt retribution, or that rehabilitation is meant to make them suffer, rather than heal from their addiction.
When an addict’s loved one comes to visit them or interact with them, they often feel that they are being judged, or being looked down upon. The loved one knows what crimes or misdeeds the addict has commited in the past and it is often very stressful and possibly detrimental to the addict’s recovery.
Most of the addict’s family judges the addict, however there is one member of the family that will never judge the addict: the pet. The pet won’t look down upon the addict, the pet won’t hurt the addict’s feelings in a way that will be detrimental to recovery, and will not alienate the addict the way a person can.
The pet gives the addict a sense of purpose. Without the addict, who would feed the pet? Without the addict, who would clean the pet? Without the addict, who would seek medical care for the pet? The pet is a reason for the addict to recover, a reason not to relapse or quit treatment. The pet needs the addict to be clean, and to be a responsible person.
This sense of responsibility has several positive mental effects on the addict. Addicts have a raised sense of self-esteem, and a raised sense of self-worth due to the responsibility of caring for a pet. They tend to improve socially too. They tend to place trust in people more often, they have increased empathy likely from feeling empathy from animals, they show increased eye contact, and show generosity towards others, rather than focus on themselves.
The pet has a positive effect on Co-occurring disorder, which is defined as a mental disorder that occurs with a drug or alcohol addiction. Interactions with the pet can reduce depression and anxiety, and can counteract other mental illnesses, mental illness is prevalent in addicts, and interactions with pets could help a large number of addicts battling mental illness.
The addict even tends to have better physical health, as the pet’s presence has been known to lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. The addict may want to exercise, eat more, and eat healthier. They tend to show increased cardiovascular health, and the hormones that cause stress are lowered in these people. The pet’s presence combined with this hormone regulation balances the addict’s mood, they tend to feel happier, which tends to make rehabilitation much easier for the addict. The pet gives the addict a reason to change themselves for the better.
The addict tends to recover much more gracefully when having the pet near them. The addict tends to focus less on self, they come to realize the situation, and accept the situation for what it is. They accept their addiction, and realize how crucial the treatment is to their recovery, and with the improving mental and physical health, the recovery becomes less rigorous, their bodies are in a better state and their mental state decreases the likely hood that they will relapse.
Many facilities allow pets in one way or another, but the rules regarding pets may vary heavily depending on the facility. Some facilities allow the pet to stay on site with the recovering addict, some may not allow the pet to stay on site, but visitation with the pet is permitted, and some may not allow pets altogether. You need to check with the facility before enrolling, and there are resources online to determine which facilities may or may not allow pets.
Some facilities do not allow the patient to bring their own pet, and have “house pets” at the location to comfort the patients. It is widely accepted that this is not as beneficial to the addict, however it does show some of the positive effects that bringing their own pets pose on the patient.
Whether or not pets are allowed, the patient is responsible for care of the pet financially. They will have to pay for food, cleaning and medical care of the pet, and the facilities bear no responsibility for the pet’s care, the responsibility lying with the patient is key to helping the addict recover.