Month: June 2014

Wilderness Therapy Programs: Why Are Teens and Young Adults Separated?

Camps for Troubled Young Adults in the USA

Why Are Teens and Young Adults Separated in a Wilderness Therapy Program?

Troubled Youth Program in the USA Different stages in life require different approaches to treatment. Wilderness therapy programs separate participants into groups of teens and young adults in order to address specific needs related to maturity and development levels. The teen group ranges in age from 10-17, and the young adult group ranges in age from 18-30. Although treatment is personalized to an individual’s particular maturity rate, there are certain general characteristics that differentiate teens from young adults. Teens Teens may not yet fully recognize the immediate consequences of their actions. They are reluctant to change and do not understand the long term effects that their behavior and substance abuse will have. They may also not perceive themselves as being responsible for their issues or for their role in their own treatment. Quick to blame parents, teens may find it difficult to accept the reasons that have landed them in wilderness therapy, and may initially fight the process more than a young adult. It may also be the first time away from home, and in addition to feeling angry and resentful for being in wilderness therapy, they may also feel frightened and anxious. Therapists helping teens adapt to the wilderness therapy setting need to be mindful of this and may need to exhibit extra sensitivity in the situation. Young Adults On the other hand, young adults are more aware of the real life implications that behavioral and substance abuse problems can have. Many have begun college, or started to live outside the family home. Because they have more responsibilities, and have began to live independently, they are better able to recognize that the choices they are making are leading them down the wrong path. Young adults are often more welcoming of the idea of wilderness therapy and are looking for a way to change. The desire to change is a key factor to successful recovery. Young adults are also further along in their stages of addiction. Before coming to a wilderness therapy program, many have been through other treatment programs. Once someone has gone through any chemical dependency or substance abuse treatment of any kind, they acquire a knowledge base that cannot be ignored. A future choice to engage in negative activities comes with an awareness of the consequences for such choices. Tailoring treatment approaches to maturity level is a large factor in the success of a program. Because development and maturity rates are so individualized in teens and young adults, an effective wilderness therapy program will build treatment programs that align with a person’s mental development. For instance, one 21 year old may have already experienced college, living away from home and has a large amount of independence. Another 27 year old may still be living within the family home and have relatively little experience with making personal choices and living as an independent adult. These two individuals, although in the same group, require considerably different approaches to their treatment. Wilderness therapy focuses on individual needs while following the same basic overall structure. Wilderness therapy programs are an effective way to treat the behavioral, mental and substance abuse issues that both teens and young adults face. Separation into age groups, combined with treatment tailored to individual maturity levels, is highly effective in generating lasting improvements. Call Rites of Passage to learn more at (800)794-0980.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder Treatment and Parenting

Why Changing Your Parenting is More Important Than Changing Your Child's Behavior

The underlying factors that contribute to behavioral disorders, such as oppositional defiant disorder, stem heavily from the home environment. But, with the right guidance and tools in place, the solutions to these problems can begin with a new approach to parenting and the family dynamic. Oppositional defiant disorder treatment, includes many contributing factors and solutions, but most often, starts in the home.

What is ODD?

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is a childhood disorder characterized by an ongoing pattern of negative and hostile behavior directed toward parents and authority figures. Children suffering from ODD are angry, defiant and stubborn, but may not see themselves as so. Rather, they view their behavior as a reaction to unreasonable demands or circumstances. There are eight main symptoms of ODD, of which a person must exhibit at least four, over an extended period of at least six months.

These symptoms are:

  • Frequent loss of temper
  • Argues with authority figures
  • Actively defies or refuses to comply with rules and requests
  • Deliberately performs actions to aggravate or annoy people
  • Angry and resentful
  • Spiteful and vindictive
  • Sensitive or “touchy” to what others have to say
  • Blames others for mistakes or misbehavior

ODD is a multifaceted problem involving a combination of influences, circumstances and biological components. There is no sole factor that causes ODD, but the single most contributing influence is family and home life. Thus, any treatment for ODD must focus on both the individual and the family.

Family factors and ODD

Symptoms of ODD are typically more apparent within the home environment and in interactions with parents or persons whom the individual knows well. Generally, the behavior may not initially be exhibited in school, clinical, or other social settings, but over time it extends to these areas as well.

Contributing risk factors within the home include (but are not limited to):

  • Lack of supervision
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Harsh or inconsistent discipline
  • Lack of positive involvement
  • Family history of ODD or conduct problems
  • Financial difficulties
  • Troubled marriage between parents
  • Frequent change or instability

Changing the home environment is crucial to ensuring lasting results.

Because many parents may feel that they are at the end of their rope, and simply do not have the tools or knowledge to overcome the situation, children who exhibit the behaviors of ODD are often met back with the same hostility and anger. Wilderness therapy works with the parents, while providing much needed space, to make the changes needed to allow for the successes made in the program to continue forward when the participant returns home. Parents will have the opportunity to communicate weekly with a therapist about the progress of their child and to discuss ways in which they can make positive contributions and provide the appropriate encouragement and support.

When dealing with a defiant or oppositional child, all parents must:

  • Model positive behavior. Children and teens mimic the behavior of their parents, so setting a good example to model is crucial. Learning appropriate ways to communicate and deal with personal stresses are tools that can be worked on between both parent and child. An aftercare plan may include family counselling.
  • Be consistent. Set up a scheduled routine, including chores and responsibilities that a child has the opportunity to succeed at. Establish clearly communicated consequences for negative choices, and stick to them.
  • Establish boundaries. All children and teens test the limits of authority, but setting ground rules and reinforcing them with reasonable consequences establishes respect.
  • Communicate effectively. Recognize and praise positive behaviors and discipline the negative. Being able to discuss things in a rational, productive and specific way is important. Avoid power struggles and negative speech.
  • Work as a team. A family is a team, and everyone needs to be on the same page. Build in time together to develop a relationship.

The role of the parent in the continued success of the child’s aftercare is one of persistent involvement and support. Participants who return home from wilderness therapy are eager to continue on their newfound path. However, this success depends heavily on parenting. Parents must take an active role in making changes to the home environment if negative behaviors are not to return. There is no overnight solution. Old habits die hard, and parents and caregivers need to expect setbacks and relapses. The key is to have the skills and tools in place to manage these situations when they arise.

Wilderness therapy focuses on equipping parents with the abilities and strategies needed to continue managing a teen or young adult when they return home, resulting in a re-established healthy relationship between child and parent, and an effective form of oppositional defiant disorder treatment.

Weight Loss Treatment Program: Obesity and Overall Health

Obesity: Dangerous to More Than Just Your Physical Health

Medical and healthcare professionals now agree that mental illness and obesity are closely related. The mental and emotional side effects that follow from obesity are just as detrimental as the long-term health repercussions. Treatment must focus on the underlying mental issues that cause, and stem from, obesity, rather than solely on only weight loss. An effective weight loss treatment program such as wilderness therapy which encompasses both body and mind is typically the best approach to consider.

Suffering from obesity causes an individual to be more susceptible to developing related mental health problems because many of the underlying factors are the same. Those who suffer from obesity have an increased 30% risk of having a mental illness. Mental illness increases the risk of obesity by two to three times. More dangerously, a person diagnosed with a serious mental illness has an increased risk of almost 40% of dying from an obesity related issue, like diabetes or coronary heart disease.

The mental health outcomes related to obesity can be more dangerous than the long-term medical problems that arise.

Being overweight comes with a range of emotional issues that bring about mental illness. Specifically, obesity can lead to depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, and many other problems.

The emotional side effects of obesity include:

  • Low self esteem
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of desire to be physically active
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Impulses to cause self harm

The connection between mental illness and obesity can be a vicious cycle.

Obesity and mental illness relate to each another in the way that they both contribute to, and result from, the other. Depression is linked to weight gain, which can lower self-esteem, in turn increasing feelings of depression and continuing the cycle. Just as obesity can worsen the symptoms associated with depression, treating obesity is a preventative measure against depression. The same is true in the other direction. The side effects of depression are contributors to obesity, but treating depression is a preventative measure against obesity. Thus, any treatment of obesity that focuses solely on weight loss and does not address this connection will not have long-term success.

A successful treatment program must look at treating the underlying emotional issues associated with obesity.

The mind and body work in tandem, and the healthy management of one must include the other. Wilderness therapy is a multi-dimensional approach to treatment that addresses the underlying obesity issues through a combination of physical activity, holistic nutrition and therapy. The all-at-once approach to treating physical and mental issues at the same time is significantly more successful because the positive changes made to the mind impact the body, and visa versa.

The elements of wilderness therapy work together to produce positive results in a peer supported environment. In wilderness therapy, weight loss and physical health improvements are the outcomes of improved mental health. Improved mental health is also an outcome of the outdoor physical activity that comes with an adventure-based program. The wilderness setting lends itself to a multi-dimensional therapeutic approach because of the kind of environment that it is. It offers comprehensive and effective solutions to treating obesity and mental health by recognizing that the two are closely related, and by educating participants on ways to manage both issues together moving forward.

Wilderness therapy is an effective weight loss treatment program and encompasses treatment for both the body and the mind. Call Rites of Passage Wilderness at (800)794-0980 to learn more.

What You Need to Know About New Trends in Marijuana Use

Long Term Alcohol Rehab Treatment Program in the NW

“Dabbing,” a relatively new trend in marijuana use, has taken the drug to an extremely dangerous level. What has often been considered “the lesser of the drug evils,” marijuana use now has the potential for serious harm. A discussion with a teen or young adult about their use of marijuana must now not only include questions of whether an individual is using it, but also about how they are.

What is dabbing?

Known by the alternative names earwax, shatter, and honey oil, “dabbing” refers to butane hash oil, a marijuana extract that is almost pure THC. Butane hash oil (BHO) is made through a process of extraction in which marijuana is treated with butane, a solvent that extracts the THC compounds from the flower. Evaporating away the butane leaves only the resin, a viscous, amber-colored, waxy substance that resembles caramel or thick honey. What’s left over is a product that is 70-90% THC (average premium grade marijuana has approximately 10-25%). BHO is then vaporized, either in a pan or by using a dabbing pipe. A needle-like tool, or “dabber,” is used to grab the oil and apply it to whatever is being used to smoke it. Taking a “dab” results in a concentrated hit of extremely potent THC.

The extraction process used to make BHO is dangerous and deadly.

The process of butane extraction is not in itself dangerous nor unhealthy. In fact, butane extraction is a common technique used in the food industry to extract oil from peanuts and vitamins from vegetables, among other uses. However, teens and young adults attempting to make BHO typically use products that contain dangerous chemicals or solvents if ingested. Butane lighter fluid, a commonly used product, contains multiple chemicals that can be left behind in the process and consumed by the user.

Butane, propane, acetone, and other products used to extract THC concentrates are explosive and highly flammable. People who are already abusing drugs, and who have no technical knowledge often perform the process, which can be a deadly combination.

The health risks associated with cannabis use are amplified by “dabbing.”

What was once considered a relatively harmless drug, marijuana use now contributes to serious mental issues. Over time, psychoactive effects are the results of the severe impact on brain chemistry.

These negative impacts of BHO use include:

  • Severe agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory problems
  • Severely impaired reaction time and motor skills
  • Psychosis and schizophrenia
  • Paranoia and panic
  • Heart palpitations
  • Intensified feelings of depression
  • Cognitive impairment

The common perception that marijuana is a safe, benign drug has to shift because of the new ways that people are finding to ingest it. THC levels are at the highest they have ever been in teens and young adults. Professionals in the field of chemical dependency and mental health are seeing a rise both the number of issues and the severity in teens and young adults who “dab.” It is important to be aware of the trends surrounding drug use, and to talk openly with adolescents about the realities of prolonged use. Open discussion and communication is key to preventing an individual from beginning down a very dangerous path.

Rites of Passage Wilderness