Category: Depression & Anxiety

Top Notch Programs for Troubled Youth in the USA

As a parent in can be tremendously frustrating and heart breaking to watch our youth deal with emotional and behavioral issues. Of course, as some youth often keep their emotions bottled up inside them, signs and symptoms are not always apparent. Parents and guardians however, can usually identify subtle changes in the behaviors of their children. Poor choices and behaviors may be indicators of other problems the child is experiencing.  Talking with them and taking advantage of some top notch programs for troubled youth may be beneficial.

Top Notch Programs for Troubled Youth in the USA

Teenagers don't seem to talk much about personal issues regarding how they feel or problems they're having outside the home such as bullying, teasing or a person they may like; quite possibly believing no one would understand. Entering a program in which all other participants are experiencing similar issues can level the playing field. Regardless of the problem, be it substance abuse, obesity, depression or anxiety, no one stands alone. Taking a rites of passage approach to all programs, students are first given the opportunity to reflect on any poor decisions or actions of their past.

Upon this reflection, students come to understand they alone are responsible for the choices they make, the actions they take and the consequences of those actions. These students will be challenged learning new methods of overcoming the natural daily obstacles of life; they will learn that a healthier style of life starts from the inside out with healthy eating and good rest. Certified, expert therapists will be able to treat each individual as a whole with daily therapy sessions, getting to the root of any emotional or behavioral issues.

To learn more about our top notch programs for troubled youth in the USA give us a call today at Rites of Passage NW Wilderness Therapy (800))788-0637. The right step toward self-respect, self-confidence and healthy living.

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.

Depression Wilderness Therapy for Teens and Young Adults

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It has been estimated that one in twelve teens may be suffering from the symptoms of depression. Being the leading cause of disability in the United States, depression can be such a debilitating affliction. Its symptoms absolutely devastating to any individual unless caught early and treatment administered. Symptoms of depression such as:
  • Feeling tired with low energy levels
  • Feeling of sadness most of the time
  • A loss if interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Feelings of constant guilt
  • Feelings of worthlessness
Depression Wilderness Therapy for Teens and Young Adults

These symptoms can and will get worse very rapidly without the intervention of some form of therapeutic treatment. An effective depression wilderness therapy for teens and young adults can provide such a therapeutic intervention.

There are a number of influential factors that can contribute to the symptoms of depression. These factors may include: family history, genetics, medical conditions, environmental situation, social conditions, level of activity and diet.

A premise of wilderness therapy is to remove an individual from any negative environmental influences and provide them with an opportunity to regain or develop an understanding of themselves; to realize their potential, abilities and strengths. With a combination of the challenges of wilderness therapy and intense but nurturing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and group therapy, individuals will be able to change any negative behaviors into a positive, productive, active style of life.

A high intake sugars, food additives and processed foods is believed to wreak havoc on the body's natural chemical balance, contributing to fatigue, lack of energy and scattered thoughts. By learning how to find and prepare delicious, nutritious meals will benefit, onto only an individual in wilderness therapy but their whole family for a lifetime.

For more information about an effective depression wilderness therapy for teens and young adults, contact Rites of Passage NW Wilderness Therapy today at (800)794-0980. Your teens path to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

“Embrace The Suck!” Fight Depression By Doing Things You Really Don’t Want To

It’s one of the mantras that often get chanted in wilderness therapy: “Embrace the Suck!” This military expression means that sometimes doing the seemingly unpleasant things we don’t want to do is the best way to move forward. Whether it’s going for a run when a person doesn’t want to get out of bed, attending to a social event when a person feels anxious or tired, or even participating in a group therapy sharing session—let’s face it: sometimes we have to do things that just seem to “suck”. But in the end, we’re better for it. For teens and young adults trying to fight depression, “Embracing the Suck” can be half the battle!

The Behavioral Side Of Depression

There are two aspects to depression: the clinical diagnosis, and the behaviors that contribute to and reinforce depression (such as isolation). In treating depression, it is important to address both aspects simultaneously. A treatment plan that seeks to medicate without also concentrating on negative behavior patterns and attitudes is unlikely to be successful in the long-term.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), a treatment model utilized in wilderness therapy, operates from the premise that in taking positive actions, thought patterns will begin to follow. Rather than waiting for depression medication to make a person feel better, CBT stresses that a person act their way to feeling better. Forcing oneself to do the unwanted activities reinforces positive behavior patterns for the future.

Out Of The Comfort Zone For Newfound Confidence

Most often, we are adverse to things because either they present a challenge or they make us afraid. But, when a person works through these challenges by doing the activity, they dispel those fears and can actually become better for it. In wilderness therapy, some of the greatest strides come from being forced to overcome difficult obstacles: the pouring rain, rising tides, bad weather. Embracing life’s challenges and working through them shows teens what they’re really capable of doing. And this opens the door to confident, self-sufficient adulthood.

Another aspect to wilderness therapy teens are initially averse to is sharing in group therapy. But, in forcing themselves to engage in activities that are beyond their comfort zone, teens are able to get the full benefit of the experience. You can think of this as an “attitude adjustment.” The knowledge that doing these disliked tasks will help them accomplish their goals, combined with the act of doing them, teens actually begin to crave these activities, even look forward to them. After a few group therapy sessions it’s quite remarkable to see the eagerness to share.

Take It One Step At A Time

Often the activities our teens resist most are the best things for them. Teens and young adults suffering from depression need motivation to tackle the overwhelming challenges they face one step – or disliked activity – at a time. Most importantly, parents need to understand the behavioral habits of depression that reinforce the cycle of negativity and help their children “embrace the suck” for an overall healthier, more positive life.

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.

How to Cure Depression in Teens

Programs for Troubled Youth in Washington State

Spot the Signs of Depression and Isolation

Depression can be hard to spot, especially in teens or young adults who are already known to be moody, hostile, or reckless. All young adults are going to exhibit some of the symptoms some of the time—that’s just part of the growing pains of transitioning into an adult. But, when these signs remain persistent and begin to impact daily functioning, it is time to intervene and address the issue. There is no easy or fast cure for depression in teens, however being aware and knowing what to look for is the first step for parents to take.

The First Step: Know What To Look For

Depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological and social factors. For teens and young adults, it can manifest in a variety of negative ways, such a self-harm, sexual behavior, or drug and alcohol use. But it’s not always manifested by “acting out,” young adults can also become withdrawn and isolated when suffering from depression. Detecting depression is difficult, especially when teens already tend to push parents away, but if they exhibit multiple warning signs, it’s crucial that a parent or loved one steps in.

Warning signs of depression include:

  • Anger or irritability (especially in young men)
  • Withdrawn or isolated
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Hostile, grumpy, or easily loses temper
  • Loss of energy
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Noticeable weight loss or weight gain
  • Reckless behavior
  • Unexplained aches and pains: headaches, sore backs, achy joints
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Talk of suicide
A Parent’s Love Is Not Enough

Despite best efforts, a parent or loved one’s support is often not enough. Reaching out for professional help is the first step in helping a teen or young adult overcome depression.

If a parent recognizes depression or isolation in their child, most of the time hearing it from them won’t work to affect any change. They need to hear it from an outside perspective, like a peer or therapy instructor, because no matter how much a parent loves them, hearing it from them alone is not going to be enough for the message to sink in.

What To Do: Get Third-Party Help

There are often broken or unhealthy family relationship dynamics at play. A young adult’s depression can create an unbalanced structure within the home—especially when it manifests as anger and hostility. In attempting to communicate, tensions usually run high and tempers often reach the boiling point. Over time, this could create a vicious parent-child cycle that needs intervention. An external influence can help to restructure these relationships and provide communication tools that can be used going forward.

Getting better also requires understanding the underlying cause. In these circumstances, parents and children rarely have a clear perspective on the situation, which makes pinpointing the underlying cause next to impossible. Furthermore, the cause of their depression may not be something a teen or young adult wants to share with their parents. A therapist can work to identify and address the underlying issues that cause depression and can help to develop the management and coping skills needed to overcome them.

Sometimes overcoming depression requires being completely removed from the destructive environment. A treatment program, like wilderness therapy, provides an opportunity to break the cycle of depression and make drastic lifestyle changes. In nature, and with the support of peers and instructors, young adults are able to open up about their issues and begin to understand where their hostility and anger stem from. And nature is an environment where transformative change can really take hold. Depression may always be a struggle for certain young adults, but with tools and lifestyle changes that wilderness therapy brings, it can be managed in a healthy way.

With teens and young adults, recognizing the symptoms of depression is the first key step to recovery. If parents and family members are aware of the signs and vigilant, they can immediately seek the outside help of trained professionals, and consider various treatment options. Recovering from depression isn’t easy: for the young adult or for their family, but early detection can help one the challenges of suffering in isolation.

Take any talk of suicide seriously. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 and provides free assistance and support. Reach it by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

For more information and suggestions and how to cure depression in teens, contact Rites of Passage Wilderness at (800)794-0980.

School Avoidance and Anxiety Based Disorders: Anxiety Treatment for Teens

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Being a teen is naturally stressful, and anxiety is a natural response to that stress. When this anxiety becomes persistent and overwhelming, however, it can impact a teen’s desire to attend school and his or her ability to perform academically. Anxiety Treatment for Teens including open communication, and wilderness therapy can be of assistance in alleviating stress and anxiousness.

Attending school and performing academically may be a major source of anxiety in your teen.

Anxiety is a normal part of teenage life, and it can be healthy—to a point. Feeling anxious in the right amount helps the body to perceive threats, avoid danger, and allows a person to navigate tense situations. When this anxiety develops into extreme feelings of worry and fear, however, it is cause for concern.

High anxiety manifests differently in individuals and depends on a combination of factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, environment, physical activity, diet, drug use and medical history. For teenagers who suffer from high anxiety, school can be the number one underlying source of it. Anxiety disorders can develop around times of transition, such as entering middle or high school, moving, or other life events that accompany adolescence. Moreover, the things that accompany school life are stressful: for example, taking tests, public speaking, meeting people, competing athletically, and dating.

Signs that your teen may have an anxiety disorder related to school:

  • Repeatedly asks to see the nurse
  • Avoids school or skips classes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Continued nervousness and restlessness
  • Seems withdrawn or uneasy
  • Excessively wary and vigilant
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, stomach aches, diarrhea
Tips for parents:

Communicate openly. Speaking with your teen about their worries and fears related to school will help to reduce them.

Emphasize the positive. While there may be something specific that is causing your teen to avoid school, speak with them about the advantages and positive aspects of attending school.

Support your teen. Support your teen in their academic achievements and in their failings. The anxiety that teens feel to achieve high grades is amplified when they feel like poor performances will not be accepted.

Set reasonable expectations. Pressuring teens to be perfect is not the way to get them to succeed. Build inner motivation, so that your child understands that doing something well is a reward in itself.

Speak with teachers and counselors. Work to build your child’s support system by reaching out to the professionals at school that can help your child to manage his or her anxiety.

Encourage hobbies and interests. Teens need time to unwind from the pressures of performing academically. Hobbies can help with relaxation and help build self-confidence.

Insist on attendance. Avoidance is habit-forming and reinforces anxiety issues.

Educate yourself. Learn about your teen’s anxiety disorder so that you can better help them to treat it.

As a parent, when you feel that you do not have the tools to help your teen cope with their anxiety issues, it is time to seek professional treatment.

Wilderness therapy teaches the coping mechanisms that teens need to manage their anxiety.

Wilderness therapy is a form of treatment that has been shown to be highly successful in treating anxiety disorders in teens and young adults.

Wilderness therapy employs the cognitive behavior therapy model to treat participants by helping them to identify the underlying factors that contribute to their particular issue, and teaches skills to self manage that issue. Relaxation techniques, coping skills, emotional awareness, and cognitive restructuring are all tools that wilderness therapy teaches.

Upon leaving a wilderness therapy program, teens have the ability to return to school life and control their stresses in a healthy and productive way. For this reason, wilderness therapy programs can be an extremely effective method of anxiety treatment for teens. Contact Rites of Passage today at (800)794-0980 to learn more.

Natural Treatment for Anxiety through Wilderness Therapy

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How Exercise Combats Anxiety

Everybody feels stress and anxiety at some point in their life. When feelings of anxiety deepen and persist to the point that they are impacting a person’s wellbeing, it is time to seek solutions. Physical activity is a natural treatment for anxiety and is highly effective in reducing the symptoms associated with anxiety disorders.

What is anxiety?

In general, anxiety is characterized by excessive feelings of worry and fear. It manifests differently in individuals and depends on a combination of factors including genetics, brain chemistry, environment, physical activity, diet, drug use and medical history.

There are a group of mental disorders that surround anxiety, including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Phobic disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • PTSD
  • Separation anxiety
  • Situational anxiety

A person may experience emotions that range in intensity from nervousness to an anxiety or panic attack. Left untreated, anxiety can lead to a number of other mental and behavioral issues such as depression.

The general symptoms associated with anxiety disorders include:

  • Restlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Muscle tension
  • Irritability

The negative impacts of suffering from an anxiety disorder extend to an individual’s personality and ability to carry out daily life. They may avoid activities or group situations they once took pleasure in and may become anti-social.  Persistent anxiety may result in undesirable changes in a person’s perception of life and they may appear to be constantly “on edge.”

Physical exercise works to alleviate anxiety.

Regular physical activity is a simple and highly successful way to manage and cope with anxiety. Exercise produces endorphins—natural brain chemicals—that work to inhibit the perception of pain and stress, treating anxiety by improving or eliminating the symptoms associated with it. Endorphins increase feelings of euphoria, thus reducing the irritability that comes with anxiety. 

Regular exercise:

  • Reduces fatigue
  • Improves alertness and concentration
  • Enhance cognitive functioning
  • Elevates and regulates mood
  • Decreases muscle tension 

A comprehensive treatment plan for anxiety is one that includes physical activity in conjunction with traditional therapy. 

A treatment program, such as wilderness therapy, that combines physical activity and holistic nutrition with additional treatment methods is the most successful way to treat anxiety. Overcoming the trials of different physical tasks experienced during a wilderness therapy program is empowering and creates an opportunity for an individual who suffers from anxiety to build the self-confidence and self-reliance needed to manage their condition. Exercise is a healthy, natural way to manage and cope with anxiety and stress related disorders, and can take the place of medication in many instances. 

At Rites of Passage Wilderness, we provide a large assortment of wilderness therapy programs which include physical activity and as such, are considered to be a natural treatment for anxiety. Call us at (800)794-0980 to learn more about our programs and to register.

How To Fight Depression With Healthy Eating and Exercise

Almost everyone feels depressed at some time, but when these feelings begin to negatively impact daily life it is time to address the source of the problem. Diet and exercise play a significant role in both contributing to feelings of depression and also in alleviating the symptoms. When trying to best determine how to fight depression, a healthy diet and regular exercise is a key component to successfully managing a depressive disorder.

What is depression?

Depression is a serious illness affecting both the body and mind. When feelings of sadness and hopelessness turn to overwhelming despair, and extend past the point of being able to engage positively in daily life, depression may be the cause. There are many forms of depressive disorders, including: seasonal affective disorder (SAD), bipolar disorder and dysthymic disorder.

The general symptoms of depression are:

  • Continual feelings of sadness, anxiety or emptiness
  • Negative feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
  • Thoughts of helplessness, worthlessness or guilt
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Inability to concentrate or remember
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Dietary problems
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
  • Aches, pains, headaches, muscle cramps

The underlying causes of depression are a combination of factors that are genetic, environmental and circumstantial, and are influenced by diet, activity level, family history, medical past, social conditions and life events.

The effects of poor nutrition and lack of exercise on depression

Poor diet and lack of physical activity aggravate the symptoms that cause depression. Ingesting high quantities of sugar, gluten, food additives and processed foods hinder the body’s ability to regulate brain chemistry and manage the feelings associated with depression.  Serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that directs messages within the brain and body, are affected by diet and exercise. As are dopamine and cortisol—the brain chemicals associated with pleasure and reward and stress—thus contributing to feelings of fatigue, decreased energy, mental confusion and sadness.

Making the switch to a regular exercise plan and holistic diet is a significant factor in treating and managing depression.

Proper diet and exercise allow the brain to create and regulate the appropriate amount of serotonin, dopamine and cortisol, which affect nearly every symptom associated with depression. In some instances, a positive change in diet and exercise results in the disappearance of symptoms, suggesting that diet and physical activity can be the most significant factors contributing to depression in some individuals.

Wilderness therapy combines physical activity and holistic nutrition with traditional therapeutic methods, and is an extremely effective way of treating depression.

Fresh air and sunlight, which help to alleviate feelings of depression, are also part of the natural setting of wilderness therapy. In combination with cognitive and behavioral therapies, the diet and exercise plan that comes with wilderness therapy is directed towards empowering participants to carry forward changes made in treatment. Hiking, carrying equipment and the physical challenges that come from living in nature are combined with a diet focused around holistic nutrition. It is not long before participants start to see the dramatic effects that diet and exercise can have on their body and mind, and find continuing these habits in aftercare instrumental in allowing them to self-manage their symptoms.

Rites of Passage can help to teach how to fight depression in a safe and healthy way. Call us at (800)794-0980 to learn more about our programs.