Pet Therapy at Banyan Treatment Centers
Pets have been part of our households for centuries, staying by our side through it all. There are many noted benefits of having pets in the home, including improvement in mental health. In fact, 74% of pet owners report mental health improvements from having a pet in the home1. We know that pets make wonderful companions and bring mental health benefits, which is why pet therapy programs for addiction treatment are growing in popularity. Our nationwide drug and alcohol detox programs and addiction treatment facilities incorporate many therapies, with some locations offering pet therapy programs.
What Is Pet Therapy?
Also known as animal-assisted therapy, pet therapy is a therapeutic approach where patients interact with pets such as cats, dogs, or even horses in a controlled setting. Patients usually pet the animals. They might play with the animals or simply spend time in a room or space where animals are present. In equine-assisted treatment, a subset of animal-assisted therapy, patients spend time caring for horses.
Other common examples of therapy animals include:
- Dogs (most commonly used therapy animals)
- Birds (such as parrots and canaries)
- Guinea pigs
- Dolphins (used in aquatic therapy)
- Miniature pigs
- Alpacas and llamas
- Turtles and tortoises
- Miniature horses
- Chickens and roosters
- Pot-bellied pigs
There are less traditional options, including turtles, tortoises, miniature horses, and even dolphins, in aquatic therapy in addition to these regularly employed therapy animals. Each of these animals contributes special features and advantages to the therapeutic setting, meeting the varied requirements and preferences of those seeking this kind of care. The range of therapy animals on hand enables a personalized approach to healing and mental well-being, whether it's the calming impact of a horse, the fun engagement with a dog, or the comforting presence of a cat.
Pet Therapy Benefits
Whether utilizing pet therapy dogs or other animals, there are numerous benefits to seeking pet therapy for addiction treatment.
By participating in pet therapy programs, patients can enjoy benefits such as:
- Reduced anxiety
- Better control of emotions
- Improved emotional comfort
- Lessening feelings of isolation or loneliness
The above benefits show how pets are able to respond to humans in healing ways, especially with nonverbal support to subtle emotional cues2. Pet therapy can also help those struggling with mental health disorders improve their social skills, making it easier to socialize with others.3
Pet therapy can help treat:
- Social anxiety
In a drug addiction treatment center setting, pet therapy benefits include better overall mental health through support and companionship. We often offer pet therapy in conjunction with other programs at our mental health treatment facility, such as group or individual therapy. Pet therapy is one component of successful drug treatment.
How Does Animal Therapy Affect the Brain?
The brain has been demonstrated to be significantly affected by animal therapy. Interacting with animals, particularly in a therapeutic setting, causes a variety of neurobiological reactions that enhance mental health. One of the main methods involves the release of oxytocin, sometimes known as the "love hormone" or "bonding hormone." The brain releases oxytocin when people interact with animals, especially when they pet, groom, or are just in the presence of them. This hormone is linked to feelings of social connection, trust, and lower levels of stress. As a result, it fosters a feeling of warmth and connection, which can be especially helpful for people who are dealing with anxiety, sadness, or trauma.
Additionally, animal-assisted therapy promotes the synthesis of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters important for controlling mood and pleasure. Dopamine is released when individuals have enjoyable encounters with animals, which causes feelings of pleasure and contentment. Dopamine is frequently associated with rewarding and pleasurable feelings. Animal therapy also benefits serotonin, a chemical that controls mood and fosters emotions of well-being. Regular interaction with animals has been demonstrated to raise serotonin levels, which may lessen the signs of anxiety and sadness.
Animal therapy also has the ability to relax the nervous system. Heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels can all be lowered by the soothing presence of a therapy animal or the rhythmic petting of an animal. This physiological reaction promotes a setting that is supportive of emotional control and relaxation. Overall, the synergistic impact of these neurobiological factors makes animal therapy a potent tool for improving mental and emotional wellness.
Finding Pet Therapy Programs
There are numerous pet therapy programs available, but for treating substance use, it’s important to find a program that specifically addresses the challenges of addiction. We offer personalized pet therapy programs for addiction at a number of our Banyan rehab locations, helping patients heal and work towards sobriety.
Contact our team to learn more about pet therapy and our additional approaches to drug and alcohol recovery at Banyan Treatment Centers.
Not all programs are available at all locations. Please contact the location for availability.
Finding Pet Therapy Programs
There are numerous pet therapy programs available, but for treating substance use, it’s important to find a program that specifically addresses the challenges of addiction. At Banyan Treatment Centers, we offer personalized pet therapy programs for addiction, helping patients heal and work towards sobriety.
Contact our team to learn more about pet therapy and our additional approaches to drug and alcohol treatment.
Not all programs available at all locations. Please contact the location for availability.
Most Insurance Plans Accepted
At Banyan Treatment Center our goal is to make sure that anyone who needs treatment from drug and alcohol addiction are able to get the help needed to assist them on the road to recovery. If you don't have insurance contact us to inquire about alternate methods regarding treatment for yourself or a loved one.