Pet-Friendly Rehab in Orange County

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By: Renaissance Recovery

Clinically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 7/1/2021

pet friendly rehab in orange county | Renaissance Recovery

Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

If you choose a pet-friendly rehab, you can engage in treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction without the added stress of leaving your pet behind you.

You will find many pet-friendly treatment centers here in California. At these cat- and dog-friendly rehab centers, you can focus fully on detox and recovery rather than having to worry about who is taking care of your pet.

In some cases, treatment centers and pet-friendly rehabs in California will offer more than just an environment welcoming to animals. Look for a rehab offering AAT (animal-assisted therapy) for an immersive and inclusive recovery experience.


What is a Pet-Friendly Rehab?

Pet-friendly drug rehab and alcohol rehab centers are just like traditional treatment centers except for their policies regarding pets.

For those looking to move from addiction into recovery, the idea of going to rehab can be frightening and distressing. Undertaking a course of treatment at an inpatient facility can seem less intimidating when you can do this with your beloved pet by your side.

The best pet-friendly rehabs will do more than just make your pet feel welcome. Your treatment team can include your pet in your personalized treatment plan. Not only can this be beneficial while getting accustomed to life in rehab, but it can also reduce stress when you transition out of the facility and back into daily living.

Benefits of a Pet-Friendly Treatment Center

Animals have traditionally played a role in healing in many societies.

AAT (animal-assisted therapy) was first formalized in 1961 by Dr. Boris Levinson, an American psychologist who discovered the benefits of this form of therapy accidentally. In this seminal paper presented to APA (American Psychological Association), Levinson outlined how pets could help adults and children during psychotherapy sessions.

Today, animals can play an effective part in various therapeutic settings, including drug and alcohol treatment programs.

Research indicates that those engaged with hospital treatment for psychiatric disorders reported lower anxiety levels during AAT sessions.

Another study shows that if animals are involved in therapy sessions, this can help to reduce pain-related symptoms and pain.

According to NIH(National Institutes of Health), AAT can help with the following:

  • Imparts mindfulness and awareness.
  • Reduces blood pressure.
  • Helps with the management of pain.
  • Decreases stress and cortisol levels.

Additionally, heading to a pet-friendly rehab could help in these areas:

When you leave addiction behind and begin the long journey to recovery, that journey can feel overwhelming and extremely lonely at times. You might feel that nobody really understands what you are going through as you kickstart your recovery.

Having your pet alongside you as you make this journey can minimize loneliness and possibly reduce depressed feelings. Pets offer unconditional love and support, highly beneficial during the challenging early phase of recovery.

If you don’t have a pet yourself, you can still benefit from engaging with treatment in a pet-friendly rehab center where you can interact with pets belonging to other residents.

If you have your dog along with you at residential rehab, this can help you to feel more relaxed and calmer as you deal with volatile emotions during your recovery from addiction.

Stress is one of the primary triggers for relapse, so the more you can avoid stressors overwhelming you, the more chance you can maintain your sobriety without relapsing.

Being with your pet at rehab could also reduce feelings of depression or anxiety, and you won’t need to worry about how your pooch is coping either as he will be right by your side.

Many studies show that exercise can boost mood. Even if you know moving around would make you feel better, it can seem like too much hard work during the early stages of addiction recovery. If you need to think about your pet’s well-being, though, you will get outside at least once every day.

By incorporating regular exercise into your recovery, you can:

  • Boost your physical health.
  • Increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, both associated with positive mood.
  • Improve mood.

Finding a Pet-Friendly Rehab

If you want a rehab near you that will accommodate your pet, first try searching online for “pet-friendly rehab Orange County.”

It is also worth asking your healthcare provider and your social network for recommendations.

Alternatively, assemble a shortlist of suitable drug or alcohol rehabs and then call them to clarify their policy concerning pets.

For anyone requiring rapid assistance, shortcut the search by considering our pet-friendly treatment center here at Renaissance Recovery Center.

Pet Friendly Sober Living and Recovery

Pet-friendly sober living homes allow you to step down from residential rehab or to engage with outpatient treatment if your living environment is unsupportive and you have a pet you need to bring with you.

Animal-assisted therapy for addiction, when used in combination with evidence-based treatment, can help many people break the cycle of substance abuse.

Why is this, though?

Well, sustained substance abuse brings about changes to the structure and functioning of the brain. While people abuse many different substances, some legal and some illegal, they all share the ability to interfere with the brain’s reward center. When you use substances, your brain is flooded with neurotransmitters like dopamine. Over time, you’ll be unable to feel pleasure without using the substance in question, as your brain starts producing less dopamine.

In recovery, then, addiction therapy animals can help you to stimulate the receptors in your brain naturally and safely.

A recovery support animal can also help in other core areas like establishing regular routines, forming healthy relationships, and providing unconditional and unwavering support — core ideas that will be established during a stay at our Huntington Beach rehab.

Call today to learn more about pet-friendly sober living.

Do Recovery Support Animals Help?

A recovery support dog might seem like a relatively new phenomenon, but animals have played a role in healing for centuries.

The ancient Greeks used horses to perk up the spirits of the sick. Animals were used in therapeutic settings back in medieval times throughout Europe, and the famous Dr. Sigmund Freud found his pet dog had a calming effect on some patients.

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) was first formalized in the early 1960s. Dr. Boris Levinson presented this paper at the American Psychological Association’s Annual Meeting in 1961. In the paper, Dr. Levinson outlines how pets helped both adult and child patients in psychotherapy sessions.

AAT benefits can be felt in the following areas:

  • Medical problems
  • Emotional well-being
  • Behavioral challenges
  • Autism-spectrum disorder

It is now widely accepted that animals can be used beneficially in a variety of therapeutic settings, including addiction therapy.

Patients hospitalized with psychiatric disorders have been shown to experience reduced levels of anxiety during AAT sessions. Pain-related symptoms and pain are also reduced when patients meet therapy animals.

Therapy animals have been shown to reduce loneliness, depression, and anxiety in military veterans diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

5 Ways Pets Can Help During Rehab

There is less evidence backing the utility of pets for treating addiction, and in part, this is due to the lack of a clear-cut cause for substance use disorder. With no unifying cause underpinning addiction, there is not a single boilerplate form of treatment that works in all cases either.

Nevertheless, there are five key areas where therapy animals can be useful for many people in recovery from addiction:

An infographic for pet friendly rehab

1) Giving you a renewed sense of purpose

In the early phases of recovery, especially once the structured days of treatment are behind you, you may find yourself struggling to fill your days. You may even find yourself questioning what your purpose is in life.

A pet during recovery can help you to shape your days, even simply fulfilling his daily needs. From grooming and feeding to walking, you’ll need to put your pet’s needs uppermost, and you can do this without jeopardizing your recovery.

Your pet can also act as a powerful motivator not to relapse: he needs you. 

2) Reducing your levels of stress and anxiety

Support animals can reduce stress and anxiety. You’ll feel naturally calmed when you pet your animal and when you play around with him.

Stress is a major trigger for relapse, so do everything you can do to avoid it. 

3) Strengthening your physical health

Exercising for thirty minutes each day delivers many proven health benefits, as well as lifting your mood. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to get up and running.

If you have a support animal, you’ll feel compelled to hit the road each day, even if you don’t feel up to it.

Exercising will help lower your blood pressure, and you’ll also trigger the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine. 

4) Reducing loneliness

Recovery from addiction can feel lonely at times. The more you feel that nobody understands what you’re going through, the more tempting it is to withdraw from others, worsening feelings of loneliness, and possibly leading to depression.

With a pet at home or in your pet-friendly sober living community, you’ll always have a friendly face looking up at you. As an inbuilt kicker, you’ll also find walking with a pet increases your social interaction with other pet owners. 

5) Helping you get in touch with your emotions more freely

The more you bond with your pet, the more you’ll become aware of your emotions, moods, and emotional responses.

Call now to get help from a pet-friendly rehab.

Animal-Assisted Therapy for Addiction

People often turn to drugs because they feel that something is missing from their lives. An emotional support animal can provide that missing link during the recovery process.

Those who turn to substance abuse due to chronic pain can also benefit significantly from working with emotional support animals. Visits with therapy dogs reduced self-reported fatigue, pain, and emotional distress.

According to the National Institutes of Health, interacting with animals has been shown to:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Help manage pain
  • Decrease levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress
  • Teach awareness and mindfulness

Renaissance Recovery’s Outpatient Pet-Friendly Rehab Program

Here at Renaissance, you can connect with the addiction treatment you need without the costs or the restrictions of residential rehab. Even better, you can bring your pet along with you when you attend outpatient treatment sessions at our beachside facility or if you’re looking into our sober living programs.

The best part is, we serve the greater Orange County area. whether you are looking for a treatment center in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, or elsewhere, we got your back.

We offer programs for the treatment of alcohol use disorder (alcoholism), substance use disorder (drug addiction), mental health disorders, and co-occurring disorders (addictions with co-occurring mental health conditions).

All of our treatment programs provide personalized treatment plans drawing from these evidence-based interventions:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Psychotherapy (talk therapies like CBT or DBT)
  • Family therapy
  • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
  • Holistic therapies

If you like the thought of attending therapy sessions with your pet along for the ride, reach out to admissions today by calling 866.330.9449.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country

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