The most successful addiction treatment programs offer individualized care that addresses each patient’s unique needs. There are many benefits of getting outdoors during drug rehab, but adventure therapy takes this notion a step further, and can help young men confront and overcome many of the issues typically associated with substance abuse.
How Young Men Benefit From Adventure Therapy
Addiction can cause severe mental health problems or occur in tandem with preexisting mental health conditions and make them worse. Substance abuse is also a very alienating experience due to the stigma surrounding addiction and the common repercussions of addiction such as job loss, financial ruin, and destroyed relationships. Rebuilding a life after addiction can be extremely difficult, especially for young men suffering from low self-esteem, shame from past poor decisions, and alienation from loved ones. Adventure therapy rebuilds confidence and restores the body to pave the way for a more successful rehab experience.
Encouraging A Healthier Body For A Healthier Mind
Physical activity is undeniably healthy for everyone and it is especially beneficial when recovering from substance abuse. Addiction causes countless physical problems; some people expose themselves to infectious diseases from sharing drugs and drug supplies with others. Some suffer injuries and illnesses that take longer to heal due to compromised immune systems. Others may suffer abuse and sexual assault that diminish mental health as well as physical health. Exercise and sports support addiction recovery, and adventure therapy can provide even more individualized therapy for young men struggling with addiction.
Overcoming Fears And Self-Doubt
Adventures like fishing trips, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, and rock climbing can help overcome long-standing fears and teach people in recovery more about themselves than they may expect. Adventure therapy is much more than a jaunt outdoors for some fresh air; these experiences can help people with substance abuse problems confront aspects of themselves in a new light that they were unable to confront before.
A person who thought, “I could never climb a mountain”, and then actually does it, will start thinking about the other things he or she could accomplish with dedication and perseverance. Essentially, adventure therapy can be physically therapeutic as well as psychologically inspirational and offer the push a person needs to pursue addiction treatment wholeheartedly.
Learning From New Experiences And Making Changes
Experiences in adventure therapy can help reshape a person’s attitude about his or her life and offer new insights for tackling the problems common with substance abuse. For example, a person struggling with a dual diagnosis for substance abuse disorder and depression may find that regular outdoor activity and the thrill of new experiences offers more profound relief from symptoms of depression than prescription drugs.
Even less intense adventures, like a simple camping trip, can be an invaluable experience. For example, people gathered around a fire is a profound and primitive experience that resonates with early man; fire was necessary for survival in the early days of mankind and gathering around a campfire was a sign of community and strength. Fire offers warmth, a means of cooking food, and the connection human beings have with fire can inspire honest discussions and reveal the layers under a substance abuse disorder.
Developing Healthy Habits For Life After Rehab
Confronting fears and overcoming physical challenges during adventure therapy can be extremely therapeutic in many ways. These events can reshape a person’s attitude about him or herself and offer new insights into solving the problems that accompany daily life. Adventures can also provide moments of clarity away from the usual distractions of everyday life that allow for deeper introspection and self-analysis in a calm, beautiful environment.
One of the most difficult aspects of recovery is learning to implement the lessons learned in rehab into normal life. Relapse is very common among people struggling with substance abuse, and there is no hard and fast method for preventing relapse; everyone has unique needs and risk factors that require individualized attention. The lessons learned during adventures or while traversing the wilderness are invaluable and irreplaceable and leave a lasting impact that can benefit a person living in recovery for years to come.
No “Right” Way To Go Adventuring
Anyone considering adventure therapy should remember that these exercises are not about intensity nor are they solely focused on physical improvement; everyone will learn different things and benefit from different outdoor activities in unique ways. Ultimately, the goal of adventure therapy is to teach participants how to confront fears, overcome challenges, and learn new problem-solving techniques.
Physical activity also has strong links to mental health*, and regular exercise can boost creative thinking and improve neuroplasticity, improving memory and thinking processes over time that may have diminished due to drug abuse. Research from the American Psychological Association reported that walking outdoors offers a more profound mental health benefit than walking indoors or on a treadmill. This could be a sign that despite the evolution of mankind and the massive amount of technology at our disposal, human beings still have a profound connection to the natural world and benefit greatly by walking through it, exploring it, and overcoming its challenges.
Adventure Therapy At Reflections Rehab
Reflections Rehab is a men’s-only addiction treatment facility that offers a full range of substance abuse treatments and therapies with a special focus on outdoor activity. We believe strongly that exercise and exploration are beneficial for everyone, but those struggling with substance abuse disorders can have especially valuable experiences by exploring the outdoors and learning more about their individual capabilities.
Recreational therapy of any kind offers tremendous benefits. Sports, physical games, and simply walking outside offer a tremendous level of relaxation and balance that can be difficult to find in the busy modern age. Adventure therapy takes this further and encourages participants to confront their fears, solve problems, and appreciate their place in the natural world. Reflections Rehab provides individualized treatment plans for young men struggling with addiction, so explore what we have to offer and contact us for more resources and information about your adventure therapy program.