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Adventure Activities for Addiction Treatment

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Addiction affects people physically, mentally, and emotionally. Because of this, overcoming an addiction to alcohol or drugs can feel like a long process.

Many people may recognize their need to heal physically, but may not realize the impact addiction has had on their mind. Participating in adventure activities at an inpatient rehab center may help some patients restore balance to their mind, body, and spirit.

Each person who struggles with addiction has a unique story. Vertava Health values the individual and creates specialized treatment plans based on each person’s needs. Personalized treatment plans often include a blend of traditional therapies and supplemental activities.

What Are Adventure Activities?

There are multiple approaches to addiction treatment, and the most effective types of treatment will include a diverse offering of treatment modalities. These may range from group counseling to experiential therapies.

Adventure activities are a supplemental service that may help some people process their thoughts and emotions outside of a clinical setting. These recreational groups may also serve to help clients realize the possibility of fun without drugs or alcohol.

Adventure activities may include:

  • hiking
  • water activities
  • problem-solving scenarios
  • team-building
  • outdoor sports
  • communication challenges
  • intentional time in nature
  • high and low ropes courses
  • ATV excursions

These activities are supposed to engage the brain in dopamine and serotonin production. These “feel-good” hormones help to create a sense of excitement and accomplishment among the group’s participants.

Being engaged as a team can also provide clients an opportunity to gain insight into their recovery process. After the activity, group members may be brought together to discuss how they felt during the session.


Benefits Of Adventure Activities in Addiction Treatment

People who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction often report low levels of energy, satisfaction, and self-esteem. While drugs and alcohol can initially seem exciting, substance use often leads people to feel trapped in the cycle of addiction.

Adventure activities also provide the brain with a healthy way to experience risk. By participating in sporting activities and friendly competition, patients are reintroduced to positive ways of relating to the self and others.

In combination with evidence-based treatment modalities, other potential benefits of adventure activities for substance use patients may include:

Increased Self-Awareness

Patients who engage in healthy risk-taking activities may show an improvement in assertiveness. The ability to be assertive comes from a place of confidence and self-worth, both of which may be diminished in active addiction. Rediscovering a sense of self can increase a person’s confidence in their own ability to problem-solve.

Adventure activities also has a way of highlighting a person’s natural likes and dislikes. Addiction often robs people of their sense of identity, and people who are newly sober may feel disconnected from themselves. Getting back in touch with your own personal patterns and preferences can be an affirming factor in recovery.

Improved Trust And Communication

Team-building activities force people to communicate with a purpose. In adventure groups, participants may be paired with another patient or asked to be part of a team. These teams may be tasked with solving a particular problem or achieving a goal.

This type of scenario provides patients with an opportunity to practice skills such as negotiation and listening in a non-threatening environment. These leadership and communication skills are not only valuable during treatment, but will also be helpful for patients who have a goal of re-entering the workforce.

Stress Management

Often times, people get into the habit of turning to a substance when they feel pressured or stressed out. When a person decides to enter recovery, they may feel they are giving up one of their main tools for coping with life.

In recovery, it’s vital to learn new coping skills for managing stress. Exercise, an integral part of adventure groups, may be a helpful way for some patients to relieve stress. During a long hike or an intense sporting activity, patients may be able to release their worries and aggression.

Patients may also have a discussion afterwords that helps them to draw conclusions about emotions that surfaced during the session.

Outdoor-Based Activities for Co-Occurring Disorders

Nearly 8 million Americans suffer from co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Often called dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorders require specialized treatment in order to address the whole person.

Vertava Health is committed to providing customized, holistic treatment to those with a dual diagnosis. When coupled with traditional evidence-based treatment models, adventure activities provide a safe and supportive space for people with co-occurring disorders to feel seen, heard, and connected.

How Vertava Health Uses Outdoor-Based Activities

At Vertava Health, we aim to offer a comprehensive range of recovery options. In addition to adventure activities to enhance the recovery journey, our treatment centers provide cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), trauma processing, and more.

This collaborative care model allows treatment teams to assess each patient individually, and provide a treatment plan that will serve them during treatment as well as in the future.