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Fighting Substance Abuse with Outdoor Therapy

There are many characteristics that are generally used to describe an individual battling addiction. However, substance abuse affects attitudes, behaviors, and interactions for each person in a very unique way. It’s not just black and white. It’s not one-size-fits-all, therefore, the treatment it also unique. There is no universal formula to helping substance abuse victims.

Group therapy, individual therapy, and skills training have been shown to help some people overcome their addiction and get their life back on track. However, many people respond better to alternative types of therapy like, outdoor therapy.

The Principles behind Outdoor Therapy

Outdoor therapy, like that found at a Utah addiction recovery center, is designed to help a recovering individual regain confidence in himself and his abilities. It helps him learn problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, and to push himself beyond his comfort zone, thereby expanding his boundaries.

Through outdoor therapy, an individual is helped to develop new hobbies and new passions that are unrelated to drugs or alcohol. The recovering individual is able to use his energies and time in activities that promote physical and mental well-being. For some patients, the thrill of engaging in outdoor activities is enough to cause them to feel a similar rush to what they experience when they were addicted to drugs and alcohol. They learn to enjoy life without illicit substances or alcohol.

What Is Outdoor Therapy?

Outdoor therapy is oftentimes referred to as recreational therapy. It is a form of therapy that involves exercise, physical activity, as well as some physical therapy. All of these things are done in an outdoor environment.

The goal is to help recovering individuals see the value of using their leisure time with healthy pursuits. This is important because of the strong link between leisure time and substance abuse.

Many people start drinking or begin their addiction to drugs in connection with leisure activities. Their brain begins to form a link between the enjoyable effects the addictive substance they are using is causing and their leisure activity.

With time, alcohol or the illicit substances go from being a component of social gatherings or of leisure time to becoming the reason for getting together or the thing to do with leisure time. This can lead to dependence, which ends up with addiction.

When a person is addicted to a substance, they will continue to use that substance to maintain a sense of euphoria or to prevent experiencing withdraw when the substance is no longer in use. Outdoor therapy is designed to help people who are recovering from addiction to develop a sense of happiness and satisfaction without the use of drugs and alcohol.

Outdoor Therapy and Drug Treatment

It is understandable that an individual who begins outdoor therapy may do so with trepidation. They may fear to engage in new activities in an unfamiliar environment. They may fear the embarrassment that can come from not being able to successfully do a new activity.

Most people are able to get over that initial sense of discomfort and begin to embrace outdoor therapy as part of their drug treatment. They learn that the recovery process involves them taking a risk and doing things that are outside of their comfort zone.

Some of the activities that are included in outdoor therapy include things like obstacle courses, constructing tree houses and tree forts, wall climbing, hiking, and other activities that are designed to give a person an individual sense of accomplishment, while at the same time encourages a team sports activity.

The coping skills, the ability to control anxiety or face disappointment, the ability to see obstacles as a positive thing as opposed to a negative thing, and the improved physical health that comes from outdoor drug treatment are just a few of the reasons why many view it as the preferred recovery method.

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