Animal Therapy in Addiction Rehab Florida
Humans have shared a special relationship with animal companions for over 12,000 years.  Animals provide comfort, support, and a sense of security, among other positive impacts. It's no wonder that animal therapy in addiction rehab is becoming popular.
Interactions with animals reduce cortisol stress levels, decrease blood pressure, elevate mood, and even reduce pain. [2, 3] Evidence-based findings demonstrate that the human-animal bond's power can be used to aid in addiction therapy. Many substances, including opiates and heroin, alter brain chemistry and inhibit natural neurochemical and hormone production.  Engaging with an animal can be a healthy way to stimulate these feel-good hormones during detox and recovery at rehab Florida. 
These are just some of the numerous advantages to the inclusion of animal therapy in addiction rehab. Spring Gardens Recovery offers treatment benefits from professional addiction treatment that are used alongside extensive pet therapy.
How Do You Incorporate Animal Therapy in Addiction Rehab?
Animal therapy, or pet therapy, utilizes an animal’s presence to aid in the therapy process. In most cases, when using an individual’s own pet, no special training is required. The companion animal is included in treatment sessions and daily tasks to support you throughout your stay at rehab Florida. Although animal therapy should not be the sole strategy to address substance addiction, it effectively complements various addiction therapy programs.
Animal Therapy During Detox
Pet therapy is particularly beneficial during the detox process. Detox from a substance, the first step on the path to recovery, often results in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These include anxiety, depression, confusion, nervousness, or nausea.  The ability to turn to a familiar, furry face will provide you with the comfort you need when these symptoms surface. Interactions with a pet can increase oxytocin, dopamine, and endorphins while acting as a distraction from withdrawal symptoms. 
Benefits of Using Animal Therapy in Addiction Rehab Florida
The benefits of implementing pet therapy are plentiful. Interactions with a pet during addiction rehab therapy can promote several positive effects, including:
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Increased happiness and wellbeing
- Improved communication
- Promotion of exercise
- Development of social skills
- Sense of responsibility and purpose
- Aids in compliance with a recovery program
Who Can Benefit from Animal Therapy in Addiction Rehab?
Any individual seeking help for substance addiction who has a strong, positive connection with a companion animal will benefit from animal therapy. Those pets who increase the owner’s stress level, are difficult to handle, or do not have a strong bond with the owner would likely not be ideal for this role. The best candidates are animal/human pairs who share a deep relationship. If your pet provides you with a sense of calm and reduces your anxiety when they are around, we highly recommend the addition of animal therapy to your treatment approach!
Heal with the Help of Your Pet
If you seek addiction recovery in Florida, you may worry that you will need to leave your loving companion animal at home. Spring Gardens Recovery is not only a pet-friendly environment, but we encourage the presence of your pet.
When you experience the lows of struggling with addiction at home, you likely turn to your animal companion for emotional support. The same comfort should be available to you while away for rehab. Our pet therapy treatment approach has helped countless individuals find success by enlisting animal companions to enhance the recovery process.
Sources:: https://www.uclahealth.org/pac/Workfiles/PAC/ReviewofBenefits_Morrison.pdf : https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-truth-about-animal-assisted-therapy#1 : https://academic.oup.com/painmedicine/article/13/1/45/1854248 : https://d14rmgtrwzf5a.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/heroinrrs_11_14.pdf : http://www.withdrawal.org/withdrawal/
Samantha Nettleton, CCTP, CMHIMP is the Chief Operating Officer and Clinical Director for Spring Gardens Recovery. After completing and receiving her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Human Services (Concentrations in Mental Health & Addiction Counseling), she became licensed for the State of Florida as a Mental Health Counselor. She has also been a recovery coach since 2012. Samantha specializes in Trauma, Personality Disorders, Substance Abuse, Process Addictions, and Other Mental Health Disorders.