Category: ADHD

Wilderness Therapy Programs for those in the U.S. or the International Community

Camps for Troubled Young Adults in the USA
The number of people across the United States and the world for that matter, silently suffering from the effects of various mental or emotional illnesses is staggering. While the understanding of the importance of treating these afflictions is slowly improving in North America, the stigma attached to these ailments here and internationally still keep some from seeking help. If not treated, these mental issues can manifest into the development of negative behaviors such as over eating, drinking alcohol to excess or using drugs in an attempt to deal with these problems. It is these behaviors that treatment is often sought out for but just treating those behaviors doesn't solve the underlying emotional concerns. Whether in the U.S. or from the International community, wilderness therapy programs will treat the whole individual.

Wilderness Therapy Programs

Removing an individual from the negative influences around them allows them to focus on themselves, their treatment and making the necessary changes in behaviors. The serenity of the wilderness provides ample opportunity for reflection as to where they are, where they want to be and the level of personal investment to get there.

A unique therapeutic program for those suffering from a variety of emotional and behavioral concerns would combine traditional therapies with natural health and wellness. These therapies would include intense yet nurturing sessions enabling the therapists to recognized any underlying issues which may be contributing to poor behaviors.

Empowering individuals to overcome challenges during wilderness treks and adventures using skills and abilities they may not even have realized they had, will begin to prepare them to face the many obstacles of daily life. These individuals may even find themselves teaching and learning from others new methods of dealing with these same daily obstacles.

For more information regarding wilderness therapy programs for the international community or those here in the U.S. give us a call today at Rites of Passage NW Wilderness Therapy at (800)794-0980. Helping get you on the path to health and wellness.

Ditch the Clock: How Wilderness Therapy Helps Teens With ADHD

For many teens with ADHD wearing a watch or having a clock in the room can be a huge distraction. While they still need a healthy routine, there are alternatives to being a “slave to the clock.”

In today’s world, most of us are guilty of it: we are all but lost without our watches or phones to constantly check the time. Teens suffering from ADHD can obsess over time: watching the minutes tick slowly away as they sit in class, they forget to focus on the task at hand. Sometimes it is healthier for the teen to step away, to an environment that is not bound to a clock such as Wilderness therapy.

Routine Without Time: Wilderness Therapy Makes It Possible

Wilderness therapy addresses this issue very simply: there are no clocks in nature. It’s the job of the wilderness therapy instructors to maintain the schedule. So, there’s routine without the distracting preoccupation to know the time. Many teens with ADHD spend so much time thinking about what time it is and where they are supposed to be, that they spend too little time directing their attention on the things that really matter—like paying attention in school or listening to instruction. In an attempt to stay on schedule, they actually get very little done. Getting out in nature offers teens a healthy way to refocus and it creates a new way of thinking about time management.

Eliminate The Clock, Create Task-Oriented Teens

That’s not to say it isn’t incredibly difficult to divert from regular patterns. When teens first enter wilderness therapy, one of the things they miss the most is their watch. Many obsess over finding out the specific time of day. But after a while, the time becomes less significant. What begins to matter is getting the important tasks done during the day that are required for survival in the wilderness—finding shelter, starting a fire, making food, etc.

Through this, teens begin to take on a new understanding of time. It’s not 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and so on. In the wilderness, it’s “time to wake up,” and “time for breakfast,” and “time to break down camp and get to the next location before that thunderstorm hits.” Teens with ADHD become task-oriented. This is a huge step in successfully managing their ADHD.

It’s true that you can’t live practically in the world without having a general idea of what time it is. But a constant fixation on the specific time makes it difficult to get anything of worth done. There has to be a healthy balance. When returning home from wilderness therapy, teens need to find a way to navigate between completing their task list and sticking to a schedule. It’s not easy. But, with the skills and coping tools learned in wilderness therapy, teens are better equipped to manage the things that previously caused the greatest distractions—like wearing a watch.

Is Your Child’s ADHD Medication Failing? Wilderness Therapy Can Help

Medication is a crucial aspect of ADHD treatment. The decision to medicate is highly complicated and should not be taken lightly. However, if ADHD medication is the right course, it is important to consider how and when medication should be administered to best benefit your teen. One often overlooked factor in taking medication: the time of day. Its important to note, that in addition to any ADHD medication, other more long term strategies including wilderness therapy should also be considered.

Medication When Your Child Needs It

A former Wilderness Therapy student – an intelligent sixteen-year old teen suffering from ADHD, who was struggling in school – is a prime example of how medication is not effective in and of itself. He had been taking medication for some time, but with limited success. Results showed he was better focused for the first half of the day, but less so in the afternoon—his grades in the afternoon classes were significantly lower than his morning classes.

The parents of this teen were divorced and didn’t communicate with one another and for the most part, the teen was responsible for administering his own medication.

Upon discovering the link between time of day and his slipping grades, he was able to adjust the dosage and time of day to appropriately reflect what he needed. Some was given in the morning, and some later in the afternoon. The result? He was able to focus for the entire day, allowing him to accomplish more of his schoolwork and boost his grades in those afternoon classes.

This case shows that taking prescribed medication for ADHD isn’t enough. The dosage and the time of day are significant factors in success. Speak with a doctor or health professional to ensure your teen gets the most benefit out of his or her medication.

Other Contributing Factors: Lifestyle

Besides taking medication at the correct the time of day, there are other things teens can do to manage their ADHD. These include incorporating a holistic food diet, engaging in regular physical activity, getting outdoors, and practicing mindful meditation. If a teen needs an immersive experience to learn these tactics first-hand from professionals, wilderness therapy program may be exactly what they need. The advantage of the wilderness setting is that it offers a constant change of scenery and the opportunity to re-group and re-focus when needed. Tired after a long day’s journey, wilderness therapy also helps teens to sleep easier—another key ingredient in managing ADHD.

A Cohesive Strategy

Whether taken on its own, or in conjunction with other ADHD management strategies, medication needs to be used properly in order for it to be a successful treatment. Simply taking a pill here and there won’t help. Medication needs to be taken in the correct dose and at the correct time of day for full effectiveness.

Other more long term strategies including exercise and exploring the outdoors through wilderness therapy should be considered for any child with ADHD in addition to medication. To learn more about wilderness therapy, or the programs we offer, contact Rites of Passage at (800)794-0980.

Self-Medicating and ADHD: Is There a More Natural ADHD Treatment for Teens?

The Dangers of Self Medication for ADHD Treatment

Self-medicating for ADHD has become an increasingly popular choice for teens and young adults, especially when they head off to college and are living independently for the first time. As a parent, your job is to be aware of the serious risk of substance abuse and to take an active role to make sure your child doesn’t head down this dangerous path.

Turning to substances as a way to manage ADHD is especially common for teens and young adults who have never been diagnosed or have been misdiagnosed. Some may be unaware that they suffer from ADHD. Others may suspect or have self-diagnosed themselves as having ADHD, but feel like they can manage it without external help. Some have even been diagnosed, but do not seek treatment. But using drugs and alcohol to manage the symptoms of ADHD is incredibly dangerous. It can lead to addiction, create severe health problems, and it does nothing to correct the underlying issue. For this reason, many parents and families seek to find a more natural ADHD Treatment for Teens, through programs including wilderness therapy.

Why Teens And Young Adults Self-Medicate

In order to get your child the help they need, you need to understand the reasons behind their substance abuse. Some of the common reasons that teens and young adults turn to drugs and alcohol to manage their ADHD:

  • Relaxing Socially: Many teens and young adults abuse drugs or alcohol as a way of fitting in or to reduce anxiety in social settings.
  • Focusing Academically: Some high school and college students report using drugs and alcohol as a study aid to concentrate and get homework done, or to make a “boring” lecture more engaging.
  • Improving Mood: Using drugs and alcohol can elevate mood. But, it also causes that mood to crash when the effects have worn off—contributing to a vicious cycle of abuse.
  • Sleeping Better: Some teens use drugs and alcohol because it helps them get to sleep. Unfortunately, a drug-induced sleep does not result in feeling well rested the next day.
  • Biology: There may be a genetic disposition involved in self-medicating ADHD. There’s an increased rate of drug and alcohol use in family members of ADHD sufferers.
  • Behavior Modeling: Teens and young adults also model the behavior of those they are closest to, so seeing family members or peers self-medicate makes it more likely for them to follow suit.
3 Things Parents Can Do
  • As a parent, there are steps you can take to help your child if you suspect they are managing their ADHD with drugs or alcohol:

    Act! Don’t sit idly by as your child heads down a path of self-destruction. Commit to helping your child find a healthy solution to their issues.

    Communicate. Speak with your child and educate them on the dangers of excessive drug and alcohol use. Get your facts together first and know what you want to say. Take an active role in listening to what your child has to say back.

    Seek Help. A doctor can correctly diagnose your child and prescribe medication that is safe and effective. If you’re met with hostility when speaking to your child, seek the help of a school counselor, therapist, or peer to get the message through to your teen. At this age, teens tend to be more receptive to non-parental figures, so you’ll need people on your side who can help.

    ADHD sufferers are five times more likely to become substance abusers. They are also less successful academically, have a higher chance of engaging in criminal activity, and have more difficulty gaining and maintaining employment. If your teen is using drugs or alcohol to treat the symptoms of their ADHD, start with the source: treat the ADHD to resolve the substance abuse issues. If you suspect that your teen is self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, act now, before it escalates into a serious addiction.

Natural Options

Wilderness therapy programs have proven to be an effective treatment option for teens who have struggled with ADHD on a daily basis. In some cases, a more holistic diet in addition to daily exercise significantly reduce and can eliminate the underlying issues of ADHD. Wilderness therapy promotes a more natural diet plan in addition to implementing a more active lifestyle outdoors.  Call Rites of Passage at (800)794-0980 to learn more about natural ADHD Treatment for Teens including our wilderness therapy and wellness programs.

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.

ADHD Treatment & Sleep: 5 Ways that Wilderness Therapy Can Help

Camps for Troubled Young Adults in North America - USA

The Relationship Between ADHD and Sleep: How Wilderness Therapy Can Help with Treatment

Our minds do not turn off at bedtime, so it should be no surprise that many children suffering from ADHD also suffer from some form of sleep disorder. For those who are excessively hyperactive, impulsive, and restless, getting to sleep and staying asleep proves more difficult than it is for most. Wilderness therapy offers the opportunity to correct sleeping habits and eliminate sleep issues, and in doing so is an effective form of ADHD Treatment.

Nearly half of all children and young adults suffering from ADHD report experiencing sleep difficulties of some kind. Many of the symptoms and behavioral issues that are associated with ADHD also overlap with a variety of sleep disorders, making diagnosis difficult. While more research needs to be conducted to determine the precise relationship between ADHD and sleep disorders, it has consistently been shown that there is a connection. Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and night terrors, are more commonly present in children and teens with ADHD, and treating one may help to treat the other.

Teens and young adults suffering from ADHD often have difficulty:

    • Going to bed
    • Falling asleep
    • Staying asleep
    • Waking up feeling refreshed

Managing both ADHD and sleep disorders requires behavioral and lifestyle changes.

Children with ADHD are more active during the night, and as a result have trouble performing regular daily tasks. Poor sleep can worsen the child’s daily behavior, and poor behavior can lead to trouble sleeping. Fortunately, there are many ways to manage the effects that a poor night’s rest may have on a person’s ADHD. Part of what is achieved in wilderness therapy is correcting sleep problems, which in turn helps to correct the negative behaviors that a tired teen exhibits.

Wilderness therapy works to address sleep problems associated with ADHD by introducing new habits and lifestyle changes.

Wilderness Therapy builds better sleep habits through such things as:

      1. Physical Activity. Exercise is a treatment for both ADHD and sleep disorders, and wilderness therapy is tough work. Hiking, carrying equipment, and setting up camp is a physical challenge. This helps both getting to sleep and sleep quality, as well as getting rid of the built-up energy and hyperactivity that develops due to inactivity. It is important to note that physical exercise immediately before bedtime can actually promote alertness, so exercise is best done earlier in the day.
      2. Holistic Diet. Diet directly influences the ability to sleep and plays an important role in managing ADHD symptoms. For instance, sugar and caffeine consumed before bed make sleeping difficult and only worsen feelings of hyperactivity and restlessness. Maintaining a healthy, holistic diet can be one of the simplest ways of managing ADHD and eliminating sleep problems.
      3. Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Wilderness therapy employs the CBT model, which is founded on the notion that behaviors and interactions are influenced by the way we think: A positive change in our thoughts can positively impact our actions. In some cases, a person’s ADHD and difficulty sleeping stem from a mind that cannot turn off its thoughts of worry and fear. CBT teaches methods to help individuals transform their thought patterns and manage the feelings of anxiety that hinder their ability to fall sleep.
      4. Natural light therapy. Behavioral problems associated with sleep disorders and ADHD can be the result of a biological clock that is out of time. Camping in the wilderness resets this clock by using the natural sleep-wake cycle to align the body’s circadian rhythms. This natural cycle revolves around the rising and setting of the sun, which works to regulate the body’s release of melatonin—the hormone responsible for regulating sleep.
      5. Sleep Hygiene. This is the concept of having healthy bedtime routines and practices. Having good sleep hygiene means having a consistent routine free from sleep distractions—i.e. video games, televisions, computers. Wilderness therapy helps to develop healthy sleep and bedtime practices that participants can continue to practise when they return home.

As research expands, the link between sleep disorders and ADHD is becoming better understood. What is known is that addressing sleep issues can drastically improve the symptoms associated with ADHD. Wilderness therapy works as a treatment for ADHD by tackling the underlying factors that contribute to it, which in many cases are issues related to difficulty sleeping. Better sleep makes for better behavior.

To learn about wilderness therapy as an effective ADHD Treatment, contact Rites of Passage (800)794-0980.

Wilderness Therapy an effective Natural ADHD Treatment

Wilderness Adventure Therapy in the USA

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.

Can I Manage ADHD Through Diet and Exercise? ADHD Treatment Programs

Obesity Health and Wellness Camp for Kids in the USA

Poor diet and lack of exercise can intensify the symptoms of ADHD. Making the switch to a holistic diet and partaking in regular physical activity drastically reduces, and in some cases eliminates, the underlying indicators of ADHD. Individuals who follow a healthy diet and exercise plan are able to better manage their ADHD. When it comes to effective, ADHD Treatment Programs, Wilderness therapy, is also considered to be a highly effective solution.


ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting over six million American youths—almost 10% of school children—many of which carry it forward into adulthood. ADHD is categorized into three types, which are:

  • Inattentive ADHD (formerly known as ADD)
  • Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD
  • Combined ADHD

The symptoms used to diagnose ADHD can manifest in a variety of combinations within an individual. Those who suffer from ADHD exhibit their symptoms over an extended period of time, and to a degree that they begin to interfere with the individual’s mental development and ability to interact socially.

ADHD and the effects of poor diet

ADHD is made better or worse with diet. Processed foods, gluten, sugar, artificial coloring and flavoring, lack of vitamins and minerals, all inflate the symptoms of ADHD. Lack of physical activity only adds to the problem. A successful approach to treatment must take this into account.

Sugar: Hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity are all increased with the intake of refined sugars. Sugar deprives the body of vitamins and minerals and prevents blood sugar levels from remaining stable.

Gluten: Many psychological and behavioral symptoms of gluten intolerance overlap with the indicators for ADHD, such as irritability and feeling fidgety. Removing gluten from the diet has resulted in significant improvements in behavior and ability to think.

Artificial Coloring/ Food dyes: Some studies have indicated that ingesting food dyes can trigger or exaggerate the symptoms of ADHD, particularly red dyes.  Eliminating food dye has been shown in some children to lessen the symptoms, especially hyperactivity.

Lack of vitamins and minerals: With the current average diet, most children are deficient in vitamins and minerals. B6 is needed to make and use the brain chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine—all chemicals that are out of balance in ADHD sufferers. Magnesium deficiency is characterized by irritability, decreased attention span and confusion, which again are underlying symptoms of ADHD. Omega-3 fatty acids are related to cognitive functioning. Zinc regulates brain activity and melatonin, which is linked to behavior. Addressing vitamin and mineral deficiencies in a child can have positive impacts on reducing the symptoms of ADHD.

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, all of which help to manage ADHD. Regular exercise also works to directly impact the symptoms of ADHD by improving alertness, concentration and general cognitive abilities.

The introduction of proper diet and physical activity is an effective remedy in lessening, and even eliminating, the symptoms of ADHD. Under the appropriate guidance of medical and health professionals, it is possible that proper diet and exercise can sometimes even replace medication. Depending on the individual circumstances, a significant lifestyle change can replace the need for medication if the underlying cause of the ADHD is predominately environmental.

Wilderness therapy is highly effective in treating ADHD by incorporating holistic nutrition and physical activity into the overall program.

ADHD is a complicated disorder in which environmental and nutritional factors play major roles. Wilderness therapy is an effective tool in treating and managing ADHD because it addresses both these factors, as well as the behavioral aspects, in its all-encompassing approach to treatment. The improvements that individuals feel and their increased ability to self-manage when they are following a holistic dietary plan and engage in physical activity is motivation for individuals to continue making healthy food choices when they return home.

When seeking natural ADHD Treatment Programs, Wilderness therapy, can be an excellent solution. Call Rites of Passage today at (800)794-0980 to learn how we can help.

ADHD and ADHD Treatment: Does My Child Suffer from ADHD?

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. An estimated 11% (around 6.4 million) of children ages 4-17 in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011, and many continue to suffer from ADHD into adulthood. ADHD manifests in many negative ways involving school performance, friendships and behavior at home, but if diagnosed properly it is manageable through ADHD treatment.

There are three types of ADHD:

  • Inattentive ADHD (formerly known as ADD)
  • Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD
  • Combined ADHD

The Symptoms of ADHD

Symptoms of ADHD develop over a period of time and must persist for at least six months to the point of being disruptive or inappropriate for the individual’s developmental level. The broad symptoms are:

  • Inattention
  • Hyperactivity or restlessness
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Impulsivity

Any of these symptoms on their own, or in combination, may indicate ADHD. Impulsiveness and hyperactivity are often noticed first, but that may be because the child that is talkative or exhibits extrovert behavior is often noticed before the “inattentive daydreamer.” Indicators vary from child to child depending on the environment they are in—and what that environment demands of them.

Symptoms of ADHD are exhibited in most children or young adults at some point, so it is important to remember that just because a child may exhibit these symptoms from time to time does not mean that they have ADHD. Exhibiting these symptoms over an extended period of time is an indicator that they may suffer from ADHD, but there are other potential causes of this behaviour. 

Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD

Hyperactive children are always “on the go” and continuously talk. Sitting still or being quiet can be difficult. Those who suffer from this type of ADHD are internally restless, often feeling the need to keep busy and do many things at once.  Hyperactive symptoms are often present at an early age.

Impulsive children cannot control immediate actions or reactions. They often do not “think before they speak” and show emotions without restraint. Those who suffer from this type of ADHD often act without a consideration of consequences. As an impulsive young adult a person may choose to engage in activities that offer instant rewards, rather than spending time with a more difficult but rewarding task. 

Indicators of hyperactivity-impulsivity:

  • Feeling restless, fidgeting, squirming
  • Inability to sit still
  • Talking excessively and out of turn
  • Difficulty in playing quietly or engaging in quiet leisure activities

Inattentive ADHD

Children diagnosed with this type of ADHD have trouble focusing on any one task and may get bored with that task after only a few minutes, especially if it is new. They often have trouble organizing multiple steps or completing the job. These children have a significant problem paying attention and are regularly forgetful. They may process information more slowly and less accurately than other children. Children with this type are often better at socializing than those with Hyperactivity-Impulsiveness ADHD and may appear to be “quiet workers” which can make identifying the disorder difficult.

Indicators of inattention:

  • Inability to sustain attention on activities
  • Lacking attention to detail and making multiple mistakes
  • Becoming easily distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds
  • Inability to follow instructions
  • Does not finish tasks like chores or homework
  • Losing or forgetting things
  • Not appearing to listen when spoken to directly
  • Avoiding mental tasks that require concentration
  • Disorganized work habits

Labelling and Misdiagnosing ADHD

A child that suffers from ADHD may experience labelling as a result of his or her behaviour. For example, an impulsive child may be labeled a “discipline problem” or the “class clown”. A passive child may be described as “unmotivated,” “careless” or “spacey.” These labels can have a negative affect on a child’s self-image and self-worth.

Labelling a child with ADHD may also have a negative impact by covering up a different, more significant problem—such as drug abuse. There are symptoms common to a number of disorders and proper diagnosis is essential to a healthy future. 

ADHD Treatment

The goal is to teach the child how to manage ADHD in a healthy and positive way so that it does not carry forward into adulthood. Wilderness Therapy provides a calming setting in which to teach participants behaviours, values and good habits that can make ADHD more manageable and less destructive. Holistic nutrition, meditation and physical activity are all components to a wilderness therapy program and have all been shown to have positive effects on managing ADHD. Often times, when participants embrace these components they no longer exhibit the symptoms associated with the disorder.

For information on ADHD, and suggested ADHD Treatment, call Rites of Passage at (800)794-0980 to learn how our programs can help.