Why Equine Therapy Works For Substance Abuse

Equine therapy is a unique method of helping addicts who abuse drugs and alcohol learn to lead a drug-free life. Some traditional services offered by centers that provide detox for alcohol and drug abuse for inpatients are chemical detoxification, behavioral therapy and residential treatment programs. These may result in the desired effect for many people, but there are those who need more. Equine therapy for drug abuse may help patients who are having difficulty moving on with their lives. They may be free of the toxins, but they do not really know how to live in society. Equine therapy provides alternative types of treatment in which horses play an important role.

How Equine Therapy Works

The addict develops a relationship with the horse while tending to its basic needs, including feeding, exercise and grooming. Addicts become more effective in managing their own behavior because their violent tendencies may have a noticeable effect on the horse’s behavior. The addict can learn acceptable behavior because of the horse’s reactions. This may show how his or her behavior affects others and help them change their behavior. Addicts may learn:

• Improved verbal and non-verbal communication
• Creative thinking
• Leadership qualities
• Relationship skills
• Trust
• Responsibility
• Confidence

The Advantages of Equine Therapy

It is a well-known fact that pets help people relax, take responsibility and even help lower the blood pressure of some owners. Equine therapy utilizes this tendency to help addicts gain self-esteem and self-worth after years of feeling inadequate and guilty. In a controlled and guided environment, patients develop a relationship with a horse and gain the horse’s trust. This may bring powerful feelings of acceptance to the addict, which in turn is life affirming. When the addict recovers, he or she often feels a great sense of accomplishment.

Signs That Therapy Is Needed for Substance Abuse

If you or your friend or member of your family needs professional help for drug or alcohol addiction, it may not always be easy to see. Many people consider social drinking and prescription drug use as acceptable and do not realize that they are addicted. The symptoms of addiction may appear differently from one person to the next. Some of the most common signs that a person is addicted are:

• They suddenly lose or gain weight
• They stop maintaining personal grooming habits
• Their speech becomes slurred
• They express paranoia or anxiety
• They gradually get habits associated with their substance abuse
• Their friends and social habits start to change

If you see any of the above signs in yourself or a member of your family, you should contact a drug and alcohol detox center as soon as possible. If you believe that you have a drug or alcohol-related problem, you may need the help of a family member to seek professional help. If you have a family member who needs professional help, but you do not know how to convince him or her, consulting with a specialist may help you find ways to assist your loved-one.

Choosing the Right Alcohol or Drug Rehabilitation Facility

Getting the help you or your loved-one needs is vital. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse accounts for more than $600 billion dollars in health care costs, lost work productivity and crime. A healthy life means engaging in productive work with no need for extra health care costs or for resorting to crime to feed the addiction.

For those who have tried other rehabilitation therapies with no success, equine therapy may be a good option. The two main things to look for in a detox center are benefits to the individual and the benefits to society. Equine therapy meets both of these conditions. When the addict enters the program, there are three beginning steps. First, the patient may have a blood test to determine the concentration of toxins in the blood. Second, the center will help the patient become free of acute intoxication and withdrawal, so the real therapy can start. Third, the patient will enter a comprehensive treatment program to help him or her back to a life free of substance abuse.

Drug and alcohol addiction therapy not only benefits the individual who is becoming free of toxins, it also benefits his or her family and their community. Equine therapy is a method for treating people who have alcohol and drug addiction. It is especially useful for children, teenagers and adults who have not been able to recover a normal life with other types of rehabilitation treatment, such as counseling or therapy.

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