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Treating Co-Occurring Disorders of Depression and Addiction with Wilderness and Eco-Therapy

Published Wednesday, December 30th, 2015 by Dr. Michael Meredith

A sign reading 'Foot Traffic Only' along a tree covered trail.

Depression has long been a primary cuing mechanism for alcohol abuse, drug abuse and addiction. As people fall deeper and deeper into depression and self-directed efforts to overcome their pain, they begin to hibernate, abandoning interaction with the stimuli of nature and all forms of exercise. Additionally we get pure forms of Vitamin D from sunlight, and it is believed to trigger the release of serotonin, a dynamic source of stress relief from the brain.

Showing great promise as effective and evolving treatment components to combat depression and its often co-occurring partner, substance abuse, are wilderness and eco-therapy. As a result, wilderness and eco-therapy for treating depression and subsequent substance abuse are becoming a vivid new option with exciting interest within the treatment community. Both therapies are far from new, yet their recent clinical applications have successfully moved them beyond simple activities, into psychological platforms for change and renewal.

Psychologist Oliver James is quoted in an article in The Alternative Daily as saying "... nature heals itself by putting us in touch with our natural, evolutionarily-based patterns of lightness, darkness, sounds, and smells." He continues to explain the effectiveness of wilderness therapy, for adults who normally turn to food, alcohol, prescription medication or technology to placate them, as benefitting the people being removed from these strategies and behaviors.

In a study by the University of Essex mentioned in Psychology Today, approximately 75% of a recent control group experienced significantly less depression after walking through a country park on a regular basis. Moreover Harvard biologist Edward O'Wilson's groundbreaking therapy of biophilia has found traction in the wilderness treatment community. His conclusion - "Nature makes us whole."

To learn more about the benefits of wilderness therapy, call (855) 329-8732.

How Wilderness Treatment Can Help Individuals Struggling with Addiction

Published Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 by Dr. Michael Meredith

A tree lined river winding through a valley.

Wilderness intervention programs for adults offer an opportunity to reset from the struggles of the modern world. Spending time outdoors can be a change of pace for those who are battling addiction, providing a sense of solace and inner calm. Here are a few ways that nature can strengthen an individual's emotional wellbeing:

  • Nature Awakens: The beauty of nature can trigger feelings of spirituality and harmony. A picturesque scene or a striking sunrise is enough to put the world in perspective. This feeling of connectedness can allow us to reevaluate what matters most.
  • Sunlight Is a Natural Mood Enhancer: Sunlight has long been known to help those who suffer from depression, especially during bouts of Seasonal Affective Disorder. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Essex found that a brisk outdoor walk was effective in reducing feelings of depression in 71% of participants.1
  • Going Outdoors Creates Self Care: In nature, we must learn to be self-reliant. Many drug rehab wilderness programs offer participants the skills and knowledge they need to support a healthy daily routine. Education includes understanding of nutrition and physical fitness, allowing patients the chance to focus their lives into a new direction.

Spending more time outdoors can have regenerative powers that reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. That's why Seven Ponds offers nature immersion programs designed to foster an improved sense of self on the way to renewal. For more information, get in touch by calling (855) 329-8732.



The Benefits of Wilderness Treatment for Adults

Published Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 by Dr. Michael Meredith

A campsite with a beautiful view of snow covered mountains

Local wilderness intervention programs are popping up all over the world as a way for individuals to cope with depression or drug and alcohol addiction. Simply spending time in nature has long been known as a meditative act, and now many rehabilitation centers are offering outdoor immersion treatment to help individuals refocus their value system and gain perspective about the world outside. Here are several ways that wilderness treatment can improve an individual's quality of life:

  • Cardiovascular Health and Weight Maintenance: In today's fast-paced world, many adults lead sedentary lives with minimal time spent outdoors. Going outside more can help get the blood pumping, increasing natural endorphins and serotonin levels, while also maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Reduced Stress: With the advent of the Internet and social media, daily life is speeding at a pace that's faster than ever. Staying connected can take a toll on our mental health as we struggle to keep on top of work email and respond to text messages. Getting outside can help us disconnect from virtual reality and experience the real world.
  • Creative Thinking: Spending more time outside can restore any adult's sense of childlike wonder. Being in nature is all about appreciating life's simple pleasures and feeling rejuvenated by all there is to discover.

Getting in touch with nature can have a profound effect on a person's quality of life, helping to usher in long-term change. Seven Ponds offers nature immersion programs to rehabilitate self-defeating thinking and subsequent behaviors. Our wilderness activities are taxing, both mentally and physically, and are designed to enhance inner peace through team building and personal growth. Get help now by calling (855) 329-8732 or emailing

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Seven Ponds
Bennington, OK 74723

(855) 329-8732

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