Labels are quick to be assigned today, and a child who is abusing drugs can get labelled with all sorts of mental health issues that he or she may not actually have. It can be easy to misdiagnosis a child or teen as the behavioral issues associated with drug dependency are symptoms found in many instances of mental illness. Drug abuse may lead a person to exhibit symptoms that are common to ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, oppositional defiant disorder and more—resulting in a misdiagnosis and prescription of medication. When the following symptoms are noticed, it is time to seek professional drug abuse treatment programs.
In combination, the following symptoms could be an indication of a number of different issues:
- Mood swings
- Poor academic performance
- Social problems
- Disengagement in extracurricular activities
- Change in eating habits
A child may have been misusing drugs for multiple years before the symptoms arise, and when they do it is easy to read them as indicators for some other problem. Children who are suffering from bullying, abuse or stress may also display these behaviors in excess.
Taking medication reduces the symptoms, but it does not attempt to alter the conditions for positive change. The prescription of psychotropic drugs can also be dangerous during a child’s mental development. By simply prescribing medicine and subduing the symptoms, it is easy to ignore what is really going on with the child. The only way to properly assess, diagnose and treat is to remove the drugs from the system completely for an extended period of time. In a wilderness therapy setting, participants go through a complete detox during the time of their stay. All chemicals are removed from the system, allowing them to become clean. In many cases, the symptoms that were associated with a mental illness lessen and even disappear completely.
Wilderness Therapy offers a different approach to managing behavioral problems and mental illness issues. A combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) in a natural setting, wilderness therapy re-programs harmful thought and behavior patterns by focusing on core values. The setting forces people to be self-reliant and self-aware under the treatment and supervision of therapists and program professionals. It also forces a reliance on group interaction. Drug abuse is a vicious cycle and wilderness therapy prepares a person for their aftercare by teaching them how to manage issues in a healthy and positive way.
For more information on drug abuse, and drug abuse treatment programs including wilderness therapy, contact Rights of Passage Wilderness Therapy at (800)794-0980.