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The Efficacy of Animal-Assisted Therapy in Patients with Dual Diagnosis: Schizophrenia and Addiction

By M. Monfort, A. Benito, G. Haro, A. Fuertes-Saiz, M. Cañabate, A. Baquero

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The objective of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of an animal-assisted-therapy (AAT) program in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and substance-use disorders in residential treatment in order to intervene in the remission of negative and positive symptoms and improve quality of life and adherence to treatment, favouring the clinical stabilization of patients who participate in the AAT program, within the context of a mental-illness-treatment device. This was a quasi-experimental prospective study with intersubject and intrasubject factors. The sample comprised 36 patients (21 in the experimental group and 15 in the control group) who were evaluated at three time points (in the 3rd, 6th, and 10th sessions). The program lasted 3 months and consisted of 10 sessions that were implemented once a week, with a maximum participation of 10 patients per group. The participants were evaluated with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) for schizophrenia and the Life Skills Profile-20 (LSP-20) questionnaire. We observed a decrease in the positive symptoms of psychosis (F: 27.80, p = 0.001) and an improvement in functionality (F: 26.70, p < 0.001) as the sessions progressed. On the basis of these results, we concluded that AAT seems to be valid as a coadjuvant therapy as part of the rehabilitation processes of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and addiction-spectrum disorders (dual diagnosis).

Date 2022
Publication Title International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume 19
Issue 11
ISBN/ISSN 1661-7827 (Print)1660-4601
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ijerph19116695
Author Address TXP Research Group, Universidad Cardenal Herrera-CEU, CEU Universities, 12006 Castellón de la Plana, Spain.Proyecto Amigó, 12006 Castelló de la Plana, Spain.Torrente Mental Health Unit, Hospital General Universitario Valencia, 46014 Valencia, Spain.Severe Dual Disorder Program, Mental Health Department, Hospital Provincial de Castellón, 12002 Castelló de la Plana, Spain.Psychiatry Service, Hospital La Salud, 46021 Valencia, Spain.University Clinic Hospital, 46014 Valencia, Spain.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Addiction
  2. Animal-assisted therapies
  3. Animals
  4. Humans
  5. open access
  6. Prospective Studies
  7. Quality of life
  8. Residential treatment
  9. schizophrenia
  10. Substance-related disorders
  1. open access