For those who struggle with addiction and mental disorders, one piece of advice from mental health professionals is to own a pet, preferably a pet that is intelligent enough to be capable of affection. Love for a pet can be comparably strong to love for another person, and can fill a void for people who are prone to negative thinking. People who have not received treatment for their addiction or mental disorder should perhaps not own a pet until they receive intensive treatment, but once they are in recovery and practicing better lifestyle choices, owning a pet can be a very beneficial therapeutic element.
For those struggling with addiction, there is much to gain by caring for an animal. It is in an addict’s nature to struggle with intense cravings and relapsing, mismanaged priorities, and problems being available to those they maintain personal relationships with. Caring for an animal can reverse this behavior. Being responsible for an animal means following a schedule, time managing, money managing and taking control of the urge to fall back into the routine of addiction. It also means being willing to give of yourself emotionally, affectionately and energetically to see that the animal is happy and receives enough attention.
For those with mental disorders, the benefits are very similar. Mental disorders cause a lot of negative thought and behavioral patterns which require a great deal of grounding in order to beat. Again, treatment is always recommended as the first step in the recovery process, and once that is complete, having an animal friend or companion can be very beneficial. Where a mental disorder prompts people toward immense sadness, agitation, anger, stress, fear and a number of other negative mental states, a companion animal generates feelings of security, lightheartedness, calmness, joy, humor and affection. The good that an animal can do for a person who is in recovery from addiction or mental disorder is truly incredible.
People are very relationship oriented. We need closeness with one another and closeness with fellow creatures in order to feel good. Animals and people have an interesting relationship with one another. Because animals lack the cognitive and linguistic abilities that people possess, but still have emotional and relational capabilities, humans form a unique kind of relationship with animals. Humans and animals never have a full understanding of one another, yet they can still form a friendship around what they do understand about one another. Humans share a need for fun, sociability and affection with many types of animals, and caring for one can do a person a lot of good.
The ways that people are improved by relationships with animals are many. Animals teach people a number of relationship skills, such as how to care for a fellow creature and how to be responsible for another’s needs. The responsibility of providing for an animal gives people a sense of purpose and a reason for being. Through caring for an animal, a person will learn the basics of giving and receiving trust, respect and communication.
It has been found in many instances that caring for an animal improves a person’s mental health. Having an animal as company and as a responsibility gradually creates positivity within a person and subtly begins to treat their mental disorders. Where someone may have long been telling themselves that no one cared about them, the affection their animal has for them will change their thinking into a more positive self-talk.
It has even been found that caring for an animal can improve a person’s physical health. It has been documented that having the company of an animal, a creature that is naturally more light-hearted than a human, can improve a person’s blood pressure and circulation. There are even instances of a person’s cancer or heart condition being reduced when an animal enters the person’s life. The benefits of having a relationship with an animal are nothing short of miraculous.
Having a love for animals is an innately human quality. Throughout history, humanity has had a relationship with animals, despite the separation of being different species. We have observed that it is not uncommon for inter-species friendships to form in the animal kingdom, and humans are no exception. Humans have a long history of keeping animals as pets and companions. Studies have revealed that keeping an animal as a companion can have numerous health benefits for people, including reduced blood pressure, lowered anxiety and longevity. For this reason, having a pet has become a medical and mental health recommendation to those who are struggling in these areas.There are a number of reasons that animals are therapeutic to people. One of them is loyalty. There is no more loyal friend than an animal who is treated well. Some species are more loyal than others. Dogs, who have been aptly called “man’s best friend,” are often thought of as the most loyal kind of pet to own.Animals are also very loving to their care-providers when they are treated well. To a pet, their owner is their entire world. They look to their owner for care, provision, protection and affection, and in return, they give their owner unconditional love. Some animals are even known to stay with their owners after they die. If their owner is not discovered, they lie down and die right next to them.Animals are very entertaining creatures to spend time with. Most animals have an instinct to play, and interacting with them while they are playing can bring people immense joy and reward. People actually release more endorphins when they own an animal, which gives them a sense of purpose and a reason for living. All around, having an animal in your life, offers the opportunity for joy and companionship, which can help people recover from conditions like depression and anxiety. In some cases, a relationship with an animal has even proven to minimize physical disease symptoms.