Month: November 2014

The Dangers of Synthetic Marijuana & Why a Long Term Drug Addiction Program May be Needed

Long Term Alcohol Rehab Program in Washington

“Spice,” or synthetic marijuana, refers to a variety of herbal mixtures that cause effects similar to that of cannabis. Popular among teens, these products are marketed as safe, natural, legal alternatives to marijuana, but they are far from that.  Dealing with drug addiction and the dangers of synthetic marijuana, a long term drug addiction program should be considered for treatment.

What Is Spice?

Spice contains a combination of dry, shredded plant material and chemical additives. Many Spice products boast effects from “natural” mind-altering plant materials, but this is false advertising. Chemical analyses show that active psychoactive compounds in these products are actually synthetic, or designer, in nature. Spice closely resembles potpourri or incense, and is most often smoked, although it can also be prepared as an herbal tea infusion.

Other names for synthetic marijuana include:

  • K2
  • Fake Weed
  • Yucatan Fire
  • Black Mamba
  • Skunk
  • Moon Rocks

Easily Accessible To High School Students

Available at gas stations, large retail outlets, head shops, and of course, the Internet, Spice is readily available for teens looking to purchase it. Furthermore, the chemicals contained in these products are not easily detectible in a drug test, making this harmful drug even more appealing to teens. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Spice is the second most abused drug by high school seniors. Nearly 8% of 12th graders have used Spice in the last year.

Because the chemicals found in Spice have no medical benefit and are easy to abuse, the DEA has classified the five most common chemicals found in these products Schedule 1 Controlled Substances—making it illegal to buy, sell, or possess them. To counter this restriction, companies continually substitute different chemicals into their products, finding legal loopholes to get around the DEA’s ruling.

Why Is Spice So Dangerous?

Often labeled “not for human consumption,” Spice can bind to cannabinoid receptors 1000 times stronger than traditional marijuana. Because chemical compositions are often unclear, these drugs can have powerful and unpredictable results on users.

The effects of using Spice include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Altered mental state
  • Cardiac toxicity
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Case Study: Spice Can Kill

As this dangerous drug becomes more popular, tragic stories continue to emerge. And, it’s not just the so-called “troubled kids” that suffer the consequences. Like the heart-breaking story this past July of a 19 year-old California boy who, after smoking just one hit of synthetic marijuana, quickly slipped into a coma from brain swelling and never woke up.

It’s not unusual for teens to experiment and engage in reckless behavior without knowing the true risks involved, especially when that behavior seems trendy or exciting. Teens will also go against their better judgment when faced with peer pressure. Being informed as a parent is the first step to protecting your teen.

Talk to your teen about the dangers of using Spice, and if necessary take the required measures to ensure that your teen doesn’t end up in the emergency room, or worse. Drug addiction is a serious issue, and considering a long term drug addiction program may be the first step in the right direction. For more information, contact Rites of Passage at (800)794-0980.

The Progression of ADHD and Natural ADHD Treatment Options

Troubled Youth Programs in North America - USA

There is a natural progression to the way that ADHD manifests in those that suffer from it. As a person ages, ADHD tends to progress in a fairly common path depending on what actions have been done to treat it. What is an indicator at one age may develop into something more serious at a later stage in life. Knowing what to expect at all ages can help parents identify and assist in finding natural ADHD treatment options.

Toddlers: Hard To Diagnose

Extremely unruly behavior may indicate that a toddler is beginning to suffer from ADHD. Often not diagnosed until later, a doctor or health professional can still inform a parent of strategies to help them manage their small child’s hyperactivity.

Children: Concrete Symptoms Emerge

In elementary school, symptoms besides hyperactivity begin to show (although not all children will be hyperactive). Some symptoms that may emerge are:

  • Lack of focus
  • Trouble sharing or taking turns
  • Talking over others
  • Constantly losing things
  • Inability to complete homework or chores
  • Easily frustrated

Teens: Emotional Turbulence

At this age, hyperactivity can begin to decline, but suffering teens may still feel restless and not able to sit for long periods of time. The frustration that has been manifesting as a child may now turn into a more serious issue like Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). Other symptoms that appear more significantly are:

  • Time management problems
  • Risky behavior
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • School performance slipping
  • Difficulty driving (multiple accidents or infractions)

Adults: Serious Consequences of Impulsivity

In adulthood, hyperactivity is rarely present. But, other destructive behaviors are even more noticeable as they have become engrained. Impulsivity can cause an adult with ADHD to suddenly quit their job or drive erratically. They also might make poor financial choices, and engage in risky sexual behavior. Relationships are also more likely to fail—divorces are more common among adults who have ADHD.

Controlling ADHD With A Holistic Approach

The best approach to controlling ADHD is a holistic approach. A combination of treatment and lifestyle changes that work together is the best way to manage this disorder. Here are some components to healthy treatment:

  • DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy): This therapy helps ADHD suffers change destructive patterns of behavior. It involves increasing self-awareness, controlling self-defeating thoughts and modifying thinking.
  • Physical activity: Exercising outdoors is extremely beneficial to sufferers of ADHD. Sunshine, air, and exercise relieves stress, boosts mood,calms the mind and reduces feelings of aggression.
  • Diet: Mood, behavior and cognition are closely associated with diet and nutrition. Studies and personal testimonies have shown that ADHD can be greatly managed with the right holistic diet. Eliminating sugar can be the single most important change a person with ADHD needs to make to their diet.

Untreated ADHD, Lifelong Consequences

Left untreated, ADHD has the potential to seriously impact a person’s adult life. ADHD sufferers are five times more likely to become substance abusers, are less successful in gaining and maintaining employment, and are more likely to engage in criminal activity. If you know what to look for as your child ages, you will be in a better position to find a treatment that works.

For more information about ADHD and natural ADHD treatment options, contact Rites of Passage at (800)794-0980. Our wilderness therapy programs and holistic approach to ADHD work together in order to manage this common disorder in young adults and teens.

Parenting a Troubled Teen: Camps for Troubled Young Adults

Anger Therapy

How should you parent a teen that is having difficulty transitioning into adulthood? This grey area poses a challenge for many parents. Here is some advice on how to guide your teen through this difficult time while also holding them accountable for their choices and preparing them for responsible adulthood. In many cases, camps for troubled young adults or wilderness therapy programs can provide a much needed fresh start, and a positive environment.

Support VS Self-sufficiency: Parents Must Strike A Balance

A child’s transition from adolescence to adulthood can be a difficult time for a parent. For teens struggling with behavioral, mental health, or substance abuse issues, it can be especially hard to determine how to parent effectively. The most common struggle is to strike a balance between supporting the child through troubling times, but ensuring they can survive, and thrive, on their own. “Helicopter parenting” isn’t the solution. Hovering over and catering to your teen enables bad behavior and restricts their growth and development. But neither is the “hands off” approach ideal. Teens need help through trying times, and there is no one more responsible for providing this support than a parent.

Compromises To Hold Your Teen Accountable

At this stage, it is better to treat your teen as an adult rather than as a child. One way to do this is to make compromises with your teen so that they can develop a sense of responsibility and accountability. For instance, rather than taking the car away after a failed drug test, your teen should earn their driving privileges by participating in a 12-step meeting. Focus on the actions that can help your teen move forward, rather than on punishments or revoked privileges.

Teens Need A Non-Parent Resource

You don’t have to shoulder the difficulty of helping your teen transform into a healthy adult alone – and in fact, you shouldn’t. Frequently with teens, it’s not the message they resist, but the messenger. No matter what a parent says and how helpful they try to be, there’s a good chance that it will fall on deaf ears. As far as a defiant teen is concerned, parents know nothing. Some teens may go as far as to do the opposite of what their parents advise, just because their parents advise it. When the same message comes from a different source, like a professional therapist, doctor, or school counselor, a teen is much more likely to listen, digest information, and get help. Hearing it from a respected peer, whose behavior they can then model, is even better.

Gain A Fresh Perspective In A New Place

Some troubled teens need more than just a conversation or therapy; they need a change of scenery. Wilderness therapy is a treatment program that combines peer and instructor support. Without parents around, teens find themselves much more open and willing to change. Taken out of the status quo where strained relationships and bad habits reign supreme, teens are able to recognize the changes that they need to make and take the steps towards achieving that.

Many parents find that when their teen returns home, he or she is ready, excited and better equipped to enter adulthood. And after relationships have had a little “breathing room,” it is much easier to move forward in a positive and mutually respectful direction.

The transition from adolescence to adulthood is difficult for both parents and teens – and more so if there are behavioral, mental health, or substance abuse issues to contend with. Parents need to keep balance in mind above all else: neither helicopter parenting nor a “laissez fair” attitude will do. Most importantly, parents need to understand that teens are more receptive to messages from non-family members, such as counselors, therapists, or peers. In some circumstances, the best way to “parent” a trouble teen is to send them to wilderness therapy, where they can gain autonomy and a fresh perspective.

Wilderness therapy is an effective and positive environment and option for those seeking camps for troubled young adults. Contact Rites of Passage today at (800)794-0980 to register now.

How Programs for Troubled Young Adults can be of Assistance After Divorce

Camps for Troubled Youth in Seattle

Co-Parent a Teen After Divorce, and How Programs for Troubled Young Adults can Help

One of the most difficult situations to navigate is how to parent a troubled teen after a divorce — especially when the divorce is not amicable. With unstable and volatile relationships at play, communication lines are often broken and accountability is vague. Don’t let your teen slip through your fingers. There are options for parents to turn to, including wilderness therapy and additional programs for troubled young adults, which can provide great assistance during this transitional time in life.

With this helpful advice, you will be better equipped to parent your teen positively as a divorced parent.

Divorced Parents Need To Be On The Same Page

If your teen shares time between two homes, it’s often the case that the rules of one home are undermined in the other – this gets serious when the mixed-messaging concerns contentious issues such as drinking alcohol.

But it’s not about playing the blame game. Both parents need to establish and agree to a consistent set of basic ground rules. No doubt, both sides will need to compromise. But doing so establishes transparency and uniformity about what parents expect of their teenagers. With everyone on the same page, it makes it more difficult for teens to leverage parents against each other and manipulate them. When you have clear guidelines and restrictions, there are fewer messy arguments about what your teen is and isn’t allowed to do.

Share Responsibilities: Start With Your Strengths

Knowing who is responsible for what helps to ensure that your teen doesn’t slip through the cracks. If you think it’s your ex-spouse’s responsibility to address a certain issue with your teen and they think it’s yours, then your child won’t get the help they need.

Understand your individual strengths and build off those. It may even require saying a positive thing or two about your former partner. Be realistic about the things that your ex-partner can provide your child, and they’re likely to reciprocate in the same fashion.

Divorced Parents In Particular Need Outside Help

When parents have not amicably separated, even beginning this conversation can be tough. It might be a good idea to involve an impartial third party, or communicate through writing about what you want for your teen. If speaking directly doesn’t work, finding another way is necessary if you really want to help your teen with their issues. It might even be beneficial for all parties to participate in some kind of common therapy—whether together or separate.

Co-parenting after a divorce is challenging – and the lack of communication puts your child at greater risk. Despite how difficult it may be to communicate with a former spouse, you both want the best for your child. Divorced parents need to establish clear boundaries and accountabilities for one another and for their teen – and should not try to co-parent in isolation: an experience third party such as a counselor or therapist can facilitate clear communication and help you successfully co-parent your teen.

Rites of Passage offers wilderness therapy adventures and additional programs for troubled young adults, which can provide great assistance during this transitional time in a teens life. Contact us today at (800)794-0980 to learn more.

Transitioning Back To Reality: How To Reintegrate Post Wilderness Therapy Programs

Long Term Rehab Center in Washington

For many young adults exiting rehabilitation, treatment, or wilderness therapy programs, one of the biggest challenges they face is reintegrating back into their daily lives. Implementing the changes and progresses that they have made isn’t easy when former environments and relationships still present obstacles. In addition, proving to those affected by their former behavior that this is a lasting transformation takes time and preparation. But it doesn’t rest solely on the young adult returning home to succeed. Parents also play a significant role in the reintegration process.

Preparing To Reintegrate: Things To Know And Do

For young adults who have been on a path of destruction for a long time prior to entering a treatment program, reintegrating back into family and community life is going to be difficult. Despite making huge changes in a treatment program, young adults still face the pressures returning home and proving that the changes they claim to have made are real. Reintegration is going to be a different process for everybody, but there are a few general things everyone can do:

Understand that it’s going to take time and energy. Convincing others that positive changes are permanent won’t happen overnight. Most likely, there are some burned bridges that need to be repaired. The only way to demonstrate that one has made a real change is to put in the work and to be consistent.

Practice Role-Playing. For someone with a chemical dependency, role-playing is a helpful tool in preparing for reintegration. Knowing how to react to a situation before it happens helps to ensure that when the time comes, a young adult knows how to make the right choices.

Define friendship and establish boundaries. In most cases, the young adult returning home is going to need to cut ties with former friends. There is no place in a healthy lifestyle for negative peer groups. Understanding what a true friend is and being prepared to eliminate negative influences is crucial to successful reintegration.

Create support networks. Therapy shouldn’t end when a young adult returns home. In fact, this is a time when they need support the most. Parents should work to ensure open lines of communication and the family should reach out to community support systems to aid with the reintegration process.

Avoid old environments. To stay resilient, sometimes the best strategy is to start fresh in a positive environment. Moving to a new town, starting college, or going in a new direction can make it easier to implement the changes that a person has made in treatment.

Hit the ground running. Make changes immediately. The more opportunity a person has to slip back into a familiar environment, the more likely they are to relapse.

Supporting Reintegration

Whether a person is returning from a wilderness therapy program or rehabilitation, he or she has worked hard to reshape and realign their belief system. One of the challenges of returning home is that they now have to reshape the belief systems of friends and family. When friends and family have suffered greatly from a person’s destructive behaviors, it can be an overwhelming challenge to prove that he or she has changed for the better.

But parents also have to prove that they too won’t slip back into their unhealthy ways.

This means that former dynamics cannot continue, and this requires the parents to make personal changes. It’s most likely that the dynamics that existed prior to treatment need realigning. With the help of a therapist, a parent can be making the adjustments that they need to make while their child is away, which can make for a much more successful reintegration when they return home.

Most teens return from rehabilitation, treatment or wilderness therapy with a new perspective on life and the attitude that they are ready to take on the world. The challenge is to integrate this newfound perspective into life in a lasting way. With the right support and plan in place, a young adult can return home and begin living the life of a responsible and self-reliant young adult.

To learn more about our wilderness therapy programs, and get started today, contact Rites of Passage at (800)794-0980.

Failure To Launch: How To Help Someone Who Is Stuck In A Rut

Wilderness Therapy can help with "Failure to Launch" Syndrome

The transition into self-reliant adulthood is difficult for some. Some young adults use their safety net of family and friends in an appropriate way as they prepare themselves for independence. For others, the safety net becomes a way of life. Plans to move out stall, goals fade away, and a comfort level sets in, along with a resistance to change. As a parent, it’s a fine line between caring for a young adult who is facing a challenging time and enabling them to continue down a destructive path. For those who have “failed to launch,” a wilderness therapy program can help to guide them into responsible adulthood.

Failure To Launch: On The Rise

It is becoming increasingly common for young adults to remain living under their parents’ roofs and to rely on them as if they were still teenagers. In fact, a recent Gallup poll indicates that nearly 30% of all young American adults between the ages of 18 and 34 still live with their parents, with more than 50% under the age of 24 remaining at home. The unemployment rate for those who remain at home is more than twice that of young adults who live independently. This has come to be known as the “failure to launch” syndrome: young adults stuck in a cycle of reliance and co-dependence, with no sense of urgency in moving forward into the next stage of life. In general, these young adults are unemployed, not attending college, and uninspired to lead independent lives away from home. Understandably, this leaves many parents frustrated, as they are unaware of how to help their child transition into responsible and functional adulthood.

Money And Poor Decisions: The Main Causes Of Dependence

There are a number of roadblocks on the way to independence: student debt, a weak job market, the cost of living, or family obligations such as caring for an aging parent are some of typical reasons young adults choose to live at home. Then there are other kinds of roadblocks—the sort that are destructive and result from a history of poor choices. These include: alcohol and drug abuse, ongoing negative behavior, dropping out of school, associating with harmful peer groups, or playing video games addictively, to name a few. There are also mental health issues that may prevent a young adult from being capable of living an independent life. Short, brief stints back at home may be what a young adult needs to regroup, refocus, and land on their feet. But when the duration begins to seem permanent, it’s time for parents to intervene.

Parents can also work to reshape their role into a healthier one. Through communicating with a therapist, parents learn to define boundaries, realize the appropriate amount of co-dependency, and understand the difference between helping and hurting.

Recognize The Signs Of Failure To Launch - What does failure to launch look like?
  • Lack of motivation
  • Long hours spent sleeping or playing video games
  • Easily distressed
  • Doesn’t accept responsibility
  • Self-absorbed
  • No work ethic or career plans
  • High expectations of others but expects very little from self
  • No long-term goals and lacks purpose in life
  • Lack of basic domestic skills, like laundry and cooking
  • No desire to earn own money and expects money from parents
The Transformative Power Of Nature

Nature is an inherently healing and transformative environment. The challenges that come with living in the wilderness—setting up shelter, cooking, hiking—make the challenges that come with living life back in “reality” seem less intimidating in comparison. Grocery shopping, laundry, and applying for jobs no longer seem like crippling obstacles in comparison to walking 10 miles and setting up camp in the pouring rain.

Coupled with the guidance of professional mental health workers, the physical and mental achievements a young adult accomplishes in nature helps them to develop the confidence they need to launch. Once participants overcome their initial fear and anxiety, many are inspired to move forward into the next phase of their lives. wilderness therapy can be a powerful resource in assisting with dependency issues, contact Rites of Passage at (800)794-0980 to learn how, and more regarding our programs.

Opening Up: Rites of Passage NW and Overcoming Depression

Natural Depression Treatment: The First Step is to Open Up


In order to overcome depression, the affected person has to be willing to talk about it. It’s a difficult thing for most young people to do, especially when they themselves don’t even know how to process their own thoughts and feelings. There are a variety of support groups and programs that persons with depression should consider. A treatment program like wilderness therapy from Rites of Passage NW provides many of the much needed opportunities for individuals to open up—from journaling, to group therapy, to mentoring.

Avoiding Issues And Isolation: The Wrong Way To Combat Depression

In the beginning stages of treatment, teens or young adults are often reluctant to open up about personal struggles; they often seek isolation in an attempt to avoid addressing their issues. Isolation fuels depression, so ensuring the young adult has healthy group interaction where they can learn to address their issues in healthy, positive ways is essential.

Honest With Oneself: Journaling

In order to begin being honest with other people, it first requires being honest with oneself. Many people with depression suppress their emotions. Treating depression involves coming face-to-face with these feelings in order to move past them. Journaling is one way to self-reflect on personal choices and behaviors. The process of writing is a way for individuals to have an honest dialogue with themselves about the reality of their situation and to make explicit goals for the future. With the guidance of a therapist, journaling can be a powerful tool in helping a young adult address and understand what lies beneath their outward indicators of depression.

One-On-One: Instructor Relationships

In the early stages of therapy, individuals are often reluctant to open up and share personal experiences. The role of the instructor or therapist is to guide students through discussions that help them work through their issues. An instructor also teaches young adults how to communicate. For many of them, this is new territory as they have used isolation or anger as ways of avoiding communication. As trust and openness are established in the relationship, the students begin to participate more actively and guide the discussion on their own terms.

Into The Group: Peer-to-Peer Support

Opening up to someone who shares a similar experience is an effective way to work through depression. When individuals open up to one another in group therapy, they are able to see firsthand that they are not alone in their struggle. They can learn from other experiences, and derive satisfaction from sharing their own experiences to help others. When peers are working together to achieve the same goals, individuals feel more motivated and inspired to put the work in. When others express similar thoughts and feelings, young adults also feel less afraid and anxious to voice their own. Peer-to-peer feedback resonates and seems less threatening, because a young person doesn’t see it as coming from a judgmental position of authority.

Becoming A Leader And Mentor

One of the most fulfilling things that students take away from wilderness therapy is the ability to mentor or lead others in a positive direction. As students gain confidence and earn the right to become group leaders, they lead camp councils and exercise talents that many didn’t even know they had. Not only do they open up themselves, but they also guide conversations as they help others open up as well. It’s rewarding to help another person, and it motivates individuals to continue succeeding in their own transformation.

Opening up is the first step in overcoming depression. Whether it’s through instructor relationships, peer support, or the insight gained from journaling, therapy provides an environment where young adults can develop the skills to communicate and explore the thoughts and feelings related to their depression. When a person can talk about it, he or she can then begin to conquer it. Rites of Passage NW can help, call us today to learn more about the programs we offer to assist in the hurdle to overcome depression naturally.

Rites of Passage Wilderness