In Articles, Drug Rehab, Opioid Addiction
outdoors

During treatment, recovering addicts typically struggle with a plethora of problems including drug cravings, mood swings, depression, and getting their physical health back on track.

While a typical residential addiction treatment center may focus on proven medical processes and therapies, could Mother Nature actually be the best medicine?

As a Pennsylvania drug rehab that sits on top of a mountain, we get to experience the beauty of nature every day, and we know that especially for someone struggling in recovery, being outside can work wonders for their health.

The Health Benefits of Being Outdoors During Treatment

The benefits of being outside for recovering addicts extends far beyond fresh air and a beautiful view. Research suggests that spending time outside can positively impact a person’s physical and mental health.

Reduced Stress

One study found that those that spent more time in a natural setting compared to an urban setting had a 12.4% decrease in cortisol levels, the stress hormone.1 A person in treatment is trying to overcome their addiction while also being in a new setting and trying to create a healthier routine. This process can be extremely stressful so spending some time outside during this time could help reduce their stress levels.

Improved Mental Health

For many people, their mental health and substance abuse problems go hand in hand. They may use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate their bad mood or are more likely to pick up a bottle when they are feeling down. Research shows that being outside can improve mood and decrease depression. One study, in particular, found that a 90-minute walk in a natural environment showed significantly decreased activity in the part of the brain linked with depression compared to a group that walked in an urban setting.2

Better Physical Health

Among the many benefits of being outdoors, one of the most important is how it can positively impact a person’s physical health. From decreasing blood pressure to boosting the immune system, spending time in nature can be especially important for someone who may already be experiencing serious health problems from prolonged drug or alcohol abuse. A research study even found that women who live in areas with greater vegetation have a 12% lower death rate than women whose homes were not as close to high levels of vegetation; the greatest death rate differences were found for kidney disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.3

At Clearbrook Treatment Centers, we understand the many benefits of being outdoors for our patients so we offer a wilderness addiction treatment that promotes participation in healthy outdoor activities to aid in the recovery process.

If you or a loved one is ready to start recovery and enter treatment, get started today. By calling us at 888-280-4763, you could be taking your first step to the next chapter of your life.

 

Sources:

  1. NCBI – [Preventive medical effects of nature therapy]
  2. PNAS – Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation
  3. NIH – Greenness around homes linked to lower mortality
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