Wilderness therapy is highly successful method of Natural ADHD Treatment for teens and young adults. The combination of the natural setting, holistic diet and focus on simple tasks can result in alleviating the symptoms underlying the disorder. Wilderness therapy also provides an individual with the tools needed to manage their aftercare.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. ADHD manifests in many negative ways involving school performance, friendships, social interactions and behavior at home.
There are three types of ADHD:
- Inattentive ADHD (formerly known as ADD)
- Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD
- Combined ADHD
Sufferers of ADHD have difficulty paying attention and staying focused. They can act out impulsively, without regard for consequences. They are often hyperactive, loud and exhibit extrovert behavior. Indicators vary with individual and environmental demands, but if symptoms remain persistent for an extended period of time it is possible that a person may suffer from ADHD.
Wilderness therapy is an effective tool in treating and managing ADHD.
Wilderness therapy provides a calming setting in which to teach teen and young adults behaviors, strategies and good habits that can make ADHD more manageable and less harmful. Holistic nutrition, meditation, physical activity and therapy are all components to an adventure based treatment program and have all been shown to have a positive impact on managing ADHD. In some cases, participants can show such marked improvement that they no longer exhibit the symptoms associated with the disorder.
Components to wilderness therapy that aid in treating and managing ADHD:
- Physical activity. The physical challenges that participants face in wilderness therapy are often exhausting. 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.
- Simplified tasks. The wilderness therapy setting is without the distractions of daily life and the everyday tasks are simplified. Basic tasks are calming and by breaking down duties into simple, manageable parts, individuals can focus all of their attention on accomplishing the challenge at hand. Feeling accomplished, even in the completion of simple tasks, is a powerful component to a person’s ability to manage their symptoms.
- Holistic diet. Nutrition and diet are significantly correlated to mental health and wellness. Eating the right foods—whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts—fuel the brain and body and eliminate many of the symptoms that underlie ADHD. The elimination of sugar from a diet is one of the single most important things to consider when managing hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention.
- Meditation and self-reflection. Activities such as silent hiking, in which the participant focuses on self-reflection, cultivate the skills to concentrate and be quiet. These skills are highly useful in managing ADHD and increase successes made post-treatment.
Medication and ADHD
Medication can help to lessen the symptoms associated with ADHD, but it is not always the right choice for everyone. While medication can improve a person’s concentration, impulse control and ability follow through with tasks, it still only treats the symptoms. A change in lifestyle and being educated about alternative solutions and ways to self-manage ADHD may be a better route. ADHD may be treated with medication, but the long-term mental and physical implications are not yet fully known. Some known side effects can include: psychiatric problems, heart related conditions and interference in brain development.
Decisions about medication and ADHD treatment are individualized and depend on a persons’ unique situation. These decisions need to be made by trusted medical and healthcare professionals. Wilderness therapy can offer an alternative to a treatment that relies solely on medication. In wilderness therapy, participants are not taken off medication prescribed by their doctors, but are presented with additional alternative ways in which to manage and is considered a more healthy and natural ADHD treatment.