Equine therapy and drug addiction: How it can help

Drug addiction is rife across the UK at the moment, and rehab centres are inundated with people checking in after having their lives destroyed by the likes of opioids, cocaine and other drugs. In fact, it’s a problem that’s being faced all over the world.

Today, drug addiction treatment is more advanced than it’s ever been, with drug rehab clinics tailoring a person’s treatment to suit their needs and how they will best react to the recovery process.

Interestingly, equine therapy is becoming a more common method in this and is effectively saving lives on a regular basis. But how exactly does equine therapy help in the drug addiction recovery process? We asked private drug and alcohol rehab Oasis Runcorn to find out more…

It rebuilds trust and communication in patients

Equine therapy centres around establishing a connection with horses, which, by nature, are highly attuned to non-verbal cues and emotions. Individuals in recovery often face challenges in rebuilding trust, both in themselves and in their relationships with others. Working with horses in a therapeutic setting encourages participants to develop trust and clear communication skills. Horses, being sensitive to human emotions, respond to the authentic and non-judgmental interactions of individuals in recovery, fostering a sense of connection and understanding that is pivotal for them moving forward in life.

It helps reduce stress and regulates emotion

Drug addiction often arises from attempts to cope with unresolved emotions or traumatic experiences. Equine therapy provides a safe space for individuals to explore and regulate their emotions. Interacting with horses requires individuals to remain present and aware, promoting mindfulness. Through grooming, leading, and other activities, participants learn to identify and manage their emotions much more effectively.

It increases responsibility and accountability

One of the key things taught in rehab is to be accountable and responsible for their actions. It’s a transformative exercise that allows patients to live more openly and acknowledge the wrongs they have done. Caring for horses can aid people in caring for others and delivering their responsibilities in their life. Equine therapy teaches participants the importance of consistency, reliability, and follow-through in meeting the needs of the horses they are looking after.

It provides moments of reflection for patients

A key part of equine therapy is for individuals to be able to reflect and draw parallels in their own lives through their interactions with horses. Horses are intuitive creatures that mirror human emotions and behaviours which can bring emotions to the surface, allowing people to gain a deeper understanding of themselves.

It emphasises the mind-body connection and importance of it

Finally, this form of therapy helps people recognisethe impact of physical activities on mental well-being. Engaging in tasks such as grooming, leading, and riding horses requires individuals to be physically present and attuned to their own bodies. This focus on the mind-body connection can be particularly beneficial for those recovering from drug addiction, as it promotes overall well-being and helps individuals reconnect with their bodies in a positive and healthy way.