wilderness experience
Photo Credit: flickr user – Burning Question

When most people hear addiction, they immediately think of the most notorious offenders: drugs, alcohol or other substances. Though those are serious addictions that can cause irreparable harm for any person, there are other lesser-known addictions that are wrecking havoc amongst today’s teens.

So, what is addiction?

Addiction: is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry … Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships and a dysfunctional emotional response. – American Society of Addiction Medicine

At a basic level, addiction is the inability to abstain from participating in an activity or behavior, causing detrimental effects to one’s health, relationships and functionality. For teenagers, addiction can be toward a number of things:

  • Caffeine
  • Technology
  • Relationships
  • Video games
  • Shopping
  • School work

Although some addictions will benefit from traditional at-home therapy, you are more likely to see substantial changes from a wilderness therapy program, which combines wilderness experiences with intensive therapeutic sessions.

Stress-relief or addiction?

Similar to the use of drugs activities such as playing video games or shopping result in a release of endorphins, the feel-good chemical in your brain. To escape the stress of school work or peer pressure, teens find an outlet that makes them relax and feel better. Although it is healthy to have a form of stress-relief, these behaviors can come to overtake a person’s life. At a time when teens need their peers to develop key social and communication skills, internet, video game or television addictions isolate them from social situations, stunting development.

Wilderness experiences treat addictions

The greatest aspect of wilderness experiences is the ability for teens to be removed from the temptation associated with their addiction. Without the distraction of technology or other triggers, teens are given the opportunity to work through issues that caused their addiction. As with any addiction, there are often underlying issues leading to the behavior. Whether it is social anxiety, peer pressure or depression, a therapeutic environment helps treat the core issues.

Peer support

An added benefit to wilderness therapy is the group of teens it brings together. As teens are facing new and challenging wilderness experiences, they develop a sense of community that bonds them together. While developing much needed social skills, teens learn the importance of teamwork and the power of respecting others.

More information on wilderness therapy

Addiction can present itself in a number of ways. If your teen has troubling abstaining from an activity that is causing hardships for themselves an others, it might be time to step in and help.
For more information on wilderness experiences and their benefit to teenage therapy, call blueFire today at 844-413-1999.


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