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Dual Diagnosis treatment specialists are always open to new ideas in drug addiction treatment for those living with co-occurring disorders. It seems that a rehabilitation center in Thailand has taken a good look at their resources and devised an interesting new treatment therapy for their patients struggling with drug and alcohol addiction: Elephant Assisted Therapy.

What Is Elephant Assisted Therapy?

Elephant Assisted Therapy is similar in style and effect to Equine Assisted Therapy or horse therapy. Bonding with an animal during treatment and learning to care for take responsibility for his or her needs can work wonders in those who have a hard time speaking directly about the things that bother them. With addiction and psychological disorders, sometimes a simple relationship with an animal can help the patient to open up and soften much more quickly than would have been possible with talk therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) alone. When animals are injured or need help curbing bad behaviors, the patient can often see themselves and their struggles in the experience of the animal and that increases their ability to progress as they help the animal to grow and heal.

Why Does Elephant Assisted Therapy Work?

When drug addiction meets psychological disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and others, creativity in treatment is necessary in order to reach each individual on a personal level. The holistic drug rehab in Thailand has incorporated Elephant Assisted Therapy into their program that also includes yoga, Tai Chi and other relaxation techniques.

Ian Lyons is a psychotherapist at the Thai drug rehab. He says the elephants who take part in the program come from the Elephant Nature Park: “Its focus is upon elephants that have been abused or have had traumatic experiences, and that may have developed maladaptive behaviors as a result of this, not unlike the personal experiences of many of our clients. It is a parallel recovery process for both client and elephant.”

The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Though it is estimated that 79 percent of those who seek treatment for drug and alcohol addiction also have a co-occurring psychological issue, only about eight percent end up enrolling in treatment that addresses both issues simultaneously, according to the Journal of Psychiatric Services. This leaves the patient with at least one disorder completely untreated, which undermines the treatment received for the co-occurring issue.

Find the Dual Diagnosis Treatment You Need

If you are living with drug and alcohol addiction and you are diagnosed with a psychological disorder as well, make sure that the drug addiction treatment program you choose can address both of your disorders during treatment. If you would like assistance finding a Dual Diagnosis rehab that will work for you, contact us today.

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