Animal therapy reduces ADHD symptoms in teens. Researchers from UCI School of Medicine found that, “children with ADHD who received canine assisted intervention (CAI) experienced a reduction in inattention and an improvement in social skills.” The CAI group also found that children “demonstrated fewer behavioral problems.”
Alongside behavioral therapies, animal therapy “provides a viable option when seeking adjunct therapies to medication treatment for ADHD.”
What is ADHD?
ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is, “a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.”
What Are ADHD Symptoms in Teens?
Although ADHD symptoms differ for each person, common symptoms include:
- Overlooking/missing details
- Making careless mistakes
- Problems sustaining attention in tasks or play
- Problems with organization
- Losing items needed to complete important tasks
- Feeling restless
- Talking nonstop
- Interrupt or intrude on others
What is Animal Therapy?
Animal therapy, along with traditional psychotherapy, treats ADHD, mood disorders, and behavioral issues.
“Animals provide a sense of calm, comfort, or safety. They divert attention away from a stressful situation and toward one that provides pleasure. Developing a bond with an animal can help people develop a better sense of self-worth and trust, stabilize their emotions, and improve their communication, self-regulation, and socialization skills.”
How Does Animal Therapy Decrease ADHD Symptoms in Teens?
Animal therapy decreases ADHD symptoms in teens by:
- Teaching teens to schedule and plan ahead. This helps with scheduling homework, chores, and extra-curricular activities.
- Frequent walking with a pet helps to burn off extra energy.
- Animals show unconditional love. This helps to build self-confidence and self-acceptance.
- Animal therapy works in conjunction with behavioral modification therapy. Dogs teach positive behavioral techniques to teens and their families.
- They are natural stress reducers.
- Animals help with socialization.
- Exercising with an animal helps to increase concentration.
Animal therapy helps to reduce ADHD symptoms in teens. Animals change negative behaviors and increase socialization.
If you’d like to learn more about ADHD, click here.