ADHD In Teens

How Wilderness Therapy Helps Teens With ADHD

ADHD In Teens Defined

ADHD in teens is characterized by the same symptoms displayed in ADHD during childhood- inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. ADHD in teens, however, usually displays hyperactivity in a more subtle fashion. As teens are expected to act more and more independently, ADHD in teens may intensify problems with schoolwork.

ADHD in teens is oftentimes related to problems in “executive functioning”. Executive functioning is the functions in the brain that organize, activate, and manage other functions within the body. They help teens see long term consequences and act accordingly to them. Because of this, ADHD in teens causes teens to lack the ability to plan ahead for things- including schoolwork, social plans, etc.

ADHD in teens can be hard to diagnose if ADHD was not diagnosed in an individual during childhood. Many of the DSM-IV criteria are catered to a diagnosis for children and may not be applicable to ADHD in teens. Additionally, symptoms related to ADHD must be present prior to the age of seven. It is oftentimes difficult to remember behavior from young childhood, which makes diagnosis difficult.

what is wilderness therapy

How Trails Carolina Approaches ADHD In Teens

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Trails Carolina, a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17, takes teens out of the hectic, chaotic environment they live in and into a wilderness setting without any distractions. There, ADHD in teens is treated through a combination of wilderness therapy, evidence-based psychotherapy, and clinical theory.

Trails Carolina has a seasoned, caring staff trained specifically to help ADHD in teens and other struggles. Trails Carolina offers a combination of individual, family, and group therapy. It also offers equine relational programming, which helps ADHD in teens because teens develop close relationships with the horses.

The program geared towards ADHD takes place in a natural setting with natural consequences for positive and negative behavior. If teens act with impulsivity, there isn’t anything in nature than can help them except themselves. Wilderness therapy helps treat ADHD in teens because of this.

Trails Carolina Wilderness Programs Help Students:

Gain Interpersonal Awareness

Instead of being distracted by their phone or worrying about what their peers think of them, children and teens out in the wilderness get to know their peers on a very deep level. It’s a bonding experience that really can’t be replicated elsewhere.

Learn crucial survival skills

In our program, not only do teens learn valuable communication and self-advocacy skills, but they also learn survival skills such as bow drilling, navigational skills, and how to pitch a tent. These skills help with personal growth and help teens become more independent.

Develop leadership and teamwork skills

Wilderness therapy promotes leadership and teamwork skills. In order to work with others, teens must reflect on how their behavior affects others. This reflective behavior can transform problem behaviors into valuable leadership skills and the ability to develop healthy relationships.

Build self confidence

Through the valuable skills they learn during wilderness therapy, our students begin to gain confidence in their abilities and themselves as individuals. With this new confidence, teens are able to transition back to their “everyday” life more successfully.

ADHD In Teens Research

An article on NPR discusses the slight increase in the risk of adopted children having ADHD and other behavioral disorders. The researchers conducting the study found this result studied 692 adolescents. Out of every 100 non-adopted teens, 7 had ADHD. For adopted teens, this number rose to 15.


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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


Trails Carolina Reviews

Comprehensive wilderness therapy program combined with a residential treatment base camp and accredited academics