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.