As children with ADHD enter adolescence, they are more likely to experience behavior problems as they tend to think outside the box. Many parents express concerns about traditional treatment options for ADHD, like medication management, especially if their teen is beginning to experiment with other substances. Wilderness therapy is a powerful option for teens with ADHD as it takes an experiential approach to teaching teens social and emotional skills they have struggled to apply in other settings.
When Does Your Teen Need Treatment for ADHD?
Adolescence brings a new set of challenges that can be hard for teens with ADHD to adjust to. Often, the symptoms of ADHD change with age as school-related tasks and social situations become more complex. Children who received early intervention with medication management and social and emotional skills training may be better prepared for the everyday challenges of adolescents than teens who have continued to struggle with symptoms of ADHD. In adolescence, behavior problems may escalate from rough play on the playground to defiance, substance use, or school refusal. If your teen is also struggling with co-occurring mental health issues, they may benefit from treatment for ADHD focused on teaching them healthier coping mechanisms.
Why Choose a Wilderness Therapy Program for Teen with ADHD??
In recent years, psychologists are beginning to recommend more alternative and complementary therapies beyond just medication management for teens with ADHD. In a wilderness therapy program, the combination of the natural setting, holistic diet and focus on simple tasks can result in alleviating the symptoms underlying the disorder and provides teens with the tools they need to make lasting changes in their lives.
Elements of Wilderness Therapy that are beneficial in ADHD treatment include:
- Outdoor physical activity gives teens with ADHD an outlet for their energy, calms the mind, and reduces feelings of anger and tension. Exercise and structured activities are some of the most effective strategies for managing hyperactivity and minimizing inappropriate restlessness in some group settings. Adventure activities push teens with ADHD to try new things and push past their boundaries. By overcoming overwhelming experiences, teens feel a greater sense of self-efficacy as a result.
- A change in environment allows teens with ADHD space from stressors for a fresh start. Many teens with ADHD appreciate the adventure of a wilderness setting, as they are often restless for new experiences and struggle with staying in one place. Students at blueFire Wilderness transition between base camp and hiking expeditions, rotating through adventure activities, which helps them practice applying skills in different settings.
- Simplified daily routines reduce the stress of the distractions of daily life by breaking down tasks one at a time. Following a schedule helps teens plan ahead and minimize impulsive decisions. Living in a wilderness setting is not easy, but it does help teens see the effects of their behavior more easily. For example, working together with other people ensures that the group is able to complete the day’s activities.
- Lifestyle changes, like a more consistent sleep schedule and a balanced diet can have a significant impact on hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Many of the teens that we work with are working towards leading a healthier lifestyle–physically and emotionally–and becoming more independent. They learn that these simple lifestyle changes can have a significant effect on the way they feel and can prepare them to make healthier choices once they transition.
- Mindfulness and self-reflection are transferable skills that help teens continue to manage their emotions on their own. In a wilderness setting, it becomes easier to focus on the present moment, distanced from other distractions. The natural beauty of the area can add to the transformative experiences wilderness therapy has to offer.
blueFire Wilderness Can Help
blueFire Wilderness Therapy is an adventure-based program for teens ages 11-17 who struggle with mental health issues, like ADHD, anxiety, depression, and behavior issues. Wilderness therapy removes students from the distraction of peers, devices, and demands of life and allows them to heal in a supportive and nurturing environment. Students will be able to focus on themselves and become more aware of their troubling behaviors. BlueFire gives them the skills and tools they need to combat these behaviors and be on their way to a happy and healthy life. We can help your family today!
Contact us at 1-844-413-1999 to learn more about how we help teens with ADHD.