When most people think about substance abuse treatment programs, they often envision a hospital-like or group home setting. This environment may seem undesirable to some, and may even keep a person from seeking addiction treatment.
Wilderness drug and alcohol rehabs are just one of several alternatives to a traditional substance abuse treatment program. Wilderness rehabs encourage clients to immerse themselves in the environment. Individuals benefit from the drastic difference between the environment they came from and the environment of wilderness rehab.
With origins of wilderness therapies dating back to the 1970s, there have been modifications and updates throughout the years. Currently, the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Cooperative (OBHRC) monitors and evaluates wilderness drug rehab programs, and have conducted hundreds of studies regarding their effectiveness.
Wilderness Rehab Offers Change Of Environment
While each wilderness rehab has its own specifics, they all boast that they lack the stereotypical feel of a substance abuse treatment facility. However, these programs still have the substance abuse treatment interventions that you would find in more traditional drug rehab, as well as additional resources and treatment options.
Many individuals exploring wilderness drug rehab are drawn to the change of pace that it offers. This environment takes away the constant overstimulation of television, computers, cellphones, and the constant connection to job, work, home, friends, and family.
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Being able to disconnect from the stress and pace of daily life is important when treating substance abuse. Many individuals benefit from feeding the body and mind in an environment that allows for self-exploration, growth, and developing a mindset that includes sobriety.
Upon completion, individuals can return home with a renewed understanding of themselves, and on the path toward a life that is drug and alcohol free.
Wilderness Rehab Expectations
Journeying out into the forest is just part of the wilderness rehab experience. In addition to receiving individual and group substance abuse treatment counseling, members will also engage in physical activities, camping, nature activities, and animal therapy in available locations.
Engaging in these activities as a part of a group allows for team building, support, structure, social skills, self-image repair, and self-esteem boosts.
These are all important elements of recovery that are achieved by participating in some or all of the following:
- set up camp
- building fires
- gathering materials
- identifying wildlife
- survival skills
The skill sets that are acquired during wilderness rehab are helpful to the person during treatment as well as once they have completed the program. Individuals can expect to find themselves creating positive environments, becoming motivated by positive stress, and understanding how important it is to have a support system when in recovery.
Wilderness Rehab Benefits
Wilderness rehab allows a person to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of life, and reconnect with nature and themselves. After living with an addiction, a person should to heal and learn who they are without substance abuse. Wilderness rehab can assist with that process.
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can have a number of benefits, such as:
- increase in positive emotions
- lower stress
- blood pressure decreased
- more energy
- decreased cholesterol
- better memory
- improved cognitive function
Individuals in wilderness rehab are often at different stages in recovery at the same time. This allows for residents to develop mentoring relationships with each other, which benefits everyone involved. They also learn how to communicate more effectively and work together toward a common goal.
Another benefit of wilderness rehab is the sense of accomplishment that each person feels upon successful completion of each difficult task they attempt, including finishing the overall program. The people in wilderness rehab learn to survive without substances.
Wilderness Rehab Difference
The biggest difference in wilderness rehab is the focus on nature. Being able to spend an abundant amount of time in nature and working with animals is a major component to this type of substance abuse treatment.
Many of the outcomes are the same, however, the methods are modified to fit into a nature setting. The tranquility that comes from being in nature cannot be matched in a busy city, hospital setting, or clinic.
Combining what nature provides with proven substance abuse treatment interventions and therapies can allow individuals to understand the benefits to a sober lifestyle. They also are given the opportunity to realize that life without substances can still be fun, exciting, and enjoyable.
Does Wilderness Rehab Work?
Yes. This type of treatment has many advocates and individuals who will attest to the successes of wilderness rehab. Not only individuals and professionals, but scientific data supports this method of substance abuse treatment as well.
The OBHRC has more than 20 years of research data, studying outcomes, trends, participants, intervention methods, and therapy intervention options and wilderness rehab. Research supports a decrease in undesirable behavior and an increase in positive behaviors after wilderness rehab.
In addition, wilderness drug rehab also uses evidence-based substance abuse treatment therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This, and many other, methods of treatment are effective both in a clinical and wilderness setting.
Finding A Wilderness Drug Rehab
Wilderness drug rehabs are considered a special type of substance abuse treatment. They are not a typical facility which may make it more difficult to find a program that best meets the needs of the person seeking treatment.
Some programs last 30 days, others can be 60 to 90 days, while others can last up to a year. There are some options that combine wilderness rehab with other types of substance abuse interventions, and even others that use equine therapy or dog training to help treat substance misuse disorders.
To explore wilderness drug rehab and find a program that is best suited for you or your loved one, contact us sooner than later. We can narrow down options and start you toward a new adventure into sobriety.Sources