black lab puppy

Find a furry companion

The experience of psychiatric drug withdrawal can sometimes feel lonely and alienating, especially when those around you—however much they may be trying—simply don’t “get it”. Some people find that animals can be of great comfort in filling that void. Feeling the unconditional, loving presence of another living being without having to engage in any kind of verbal communication can bring a sense of connection, peace, and ease. 

If you have an animal in your home (or are ready and able to adopt one), you may find that taking care of another living being can facilitate taking better care of yourself as well. Having a dog that you care for often also leads to you having a guaranteed reason to leave the house every day and a walking routine yourself. It can also be an uncomplicated and comfortable way to engage with other “dog people” you may cross paths with. On the other hand, some find that just having a soft, furry cat to snuggle up with occasionally can be a good source of comfort and a way to ease stress.

If you’re considering animal adoption, be sure to give your decision sufficient thought and avoid taking on more than you can handle. For example, look for an animal whose energy level is a good match for your own, while keeping in mind that such things can be somewhat unpredictable during withdrawal. Sometimes people like the frequent attention, activity and affection that dogs often want, while others prefer the relative independence of many cats. 

If you’re not able to keep an animal where you live or aren’t ready to own one, perhaps a friend, neighbor, or relative has an animal you can visit with? Alternatively, some people in withdrawal have found that volunteering at an animal shelter to walk dogs or help with the care of cats or other animals can be both a good distraction from withdrawal and a meaningful way to feel connected and valued.