7 Benefits of Adventure Therapy for Addiction Recovery
Photo by Vlad Hilitanu
Almost twenty million American adults have struggled with addiction within the last couple of years. So if you’re interested in improving mental health and physical health, drug addiction recovery might just be the right path for you.
Curious about how adventure therapy works?
From outdoor and indoor activities to hiking and biking, there are tons of options for addiction treatment that come in all different forms. Here are the many benefits of adventure therapy for addiction recovery!
1. Improves Mental Health
First of all, adventure therapy can work wonders in improving mental health. That’s because it can give a way for addicts to face their mental illnesses while recovering from everything from:
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorders
- Substance abuse
Not only that, but adventure therapy is also a powerful way to treat depression and anxiety. Additionally, it can help those who are coping with personal losses as well. Plus, adventure therapy can add a productive and exciting element to addiction therapy too, especially for those who are battling schizophrenia.
How can you possibly beat that?
2. Improves Mental Health
As you may already know, taking time to exercise outdoors can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. Besides this, spending more time in nature can also lower the amount of cortisol, or “the stress hormone,” in your body.
But that’s all. Being surrounded by the natural world can inspire a new feeling of positivity or tranquility in addicts as well. Even better, immersing yourself in a scenic mountain landscape or lush forest can encourage more positive, generous social behaviors.
Besides taking you out of your own head, adventure therapy can help you think about something much bigger than yourself. Ditching technology in nature can potentially regulate nervous system arousal and mood disturbances too. Sounds good to us!
3. Engages Real-Life Experiences
Rather than making you focus on your tendencies and habits, adventure therapy can reframe the whole therapy experience altogether. When you take your recovery outside of mental health treatment facilities, you’ll be able to experience goal-centric activities that shed light on your own mental health challenges.
Also, adventure therapy can promote healing by taking you away from bad habits that you may have turned to instead of facing your real emotions. You’ll also be removed from the factors that contributed to your mental health problems in the first place.
By working together to battle a wide range of obstacles, you might enjoy the following activities during your time in adventure-based therapy:
- Using a compass
- Scaling rock walls
- Navigating a river
- Other challenges
Once you can explore your weaknesses and strengths, you’ll be able to take the calculated risks that you need to push your limits in a supportive and safe environment. Simple as that!
4. Improves Personal Development
One of the best parts about trying out adventure therapy as a form of addiction recovery is that it can improve your personal development. That’s because it can help you to understand your coping strategies, behaviors, and thought processes better than ever before. This newfound awareness can offer helpful insights to both mental health practitioners and the individuals that they’re treating.
For recovering addicts, adventure therapy can also provide a chance to take an active part in their own mental health treatments by giving them a bigger sense of:
Additionally, adventure-based therapy can help participants to understand consequences and risks too. In addition to this, it can help you to step out of your comfort zone by giving you a healthier way to face conflicts too. The result is this: A more positive outlook on life altogether.
5. Hones Interpersonal Skills
During your first adventure therapy-based program, you might participate in different group activities that are made to improve your emotional intelligence. When you support other addicts, you’ll be able to pursue a shared goal together: Sobriety.
By improving your ability to speak with others, you’ll be able to receive and give feedback more positively too. Not to mention that respecting your personal boundaries is another critical social skill that you will learn.
When you focus on relating to others in a distraction-free and supportive environment, you may improve your ability to mentor and lead others as well.
6. Provides Physical Activity
Everyone knows that exercising is essential for your overall health, but you might be surprised to find out that it’s also beneficial for your mental health. That’s where adventure therapy comes in. With a focus on regular physical activity, people with depressive disorders might be able to find a more positive outlook once they enter adventure-based therapy.
Besides this, their serotonin levels may improve as well, which is nearly as efficient as taking antidepressants. Talk about a natural high!
7. Supports Self-Reflection
Last but not least, participating in adventure-based therapy will allow you to relate to and positively engage in past experiences. Once you come back from your experience in the wilderness, your mental growth will typically be supported in
- Individual therapy sessions
- Group therapy sessions
- Family therapy sessions
On top of that, you’ll most likely be encouraged to express your growth in a journal too. While your therapist won’t read your journals, they’re the perfect place for you to organize and express your thoughts in a safe way. By reflecting on your own mental recovery, you’ll be able to gain new insight about yourself in the process too.
All About Adventure Therapy
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