The Benefits of Puppy Therapy in Drug Treatment
Affordable treatment centers constantly strive to find new ways to help people heal from addiction. That means getting to the source of the problem, learning new ways to deal with everyday issues, and a whole host of other details. Puppy therapy just happens to be one of the methods that are being investigated, with some surprising results.
When people interact with other living things, their bodies experience a range of chemical interactions. Sometimes the flight or fight response is activated, while other times the pleasure center is. In the case of people who spent time with animals, there seemed to be a significant increase in oxytocin, a chemical that is sometimes referred to as the “bonding hormone.” While it doesn’t produce a sense of euphoria, it does have a calming effect and can reduce the stress chemicals that are often present right before addictive behavior is implemented.
Some addicts simply don’t know anything about nurturing. They may never have learned it as children, and they almost certainly don’t know how to nurture themselves. Puppies offer a unique way to learn about nurturing because they have some abilities not present in humans. For example, when a human baby wants to be held, they simply cry. To those who don’t know about nurturing, the cry can be annoying and even anger-inducing. However, when it comes to puppies, they can move around almost immediately, so they are able to make their way to the person and push their heads under a hand or crawl on a lap, basically forcing you to nurture them. This is helpful to addicts who never knew the pleasure of giving or receiving nurturing.
One thing that affordable treatment centers are finding is that the presence of puppies can lend insight into the personal relationships of patients. Many addicts suffer from low self-esteem. To combat that, they sometimes have unreasonable expectations of relationships. This is demonstrated when they get upset about a puppy not coming to them immediately or when they think a puppy doesn’t like them. Coaches can demonstrate the body language that would make the person more welcoming to the puppy, but this same language can convey messages to humans as well.
Not all affordable treatment centers use puppies in their treatment. However, it might be something for loved ones to consider once the addict goes home from treatment.