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    seasonal affective disorder

    Benefits of Wilderness Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder

    Seasonal affective disorder keeps individuals from enjoying life to the fullest. While researchers are unsure of what exactly causes SAD, some theories suggest it is light affecting the hormone called melatonin. Seasonal affective disorder impacts individuals differently- some experience more mild symptoms than others. Wilderness therapy lends itself to be an extremely effective measure to address SAD and help individuals overcome their struggles.

    Why Wilderness Therapy Works for Seasonal Affective Disorder

    Here are three ways in which wilderness therapy can be beneficial:


    • Facing the Light


    As the term “wilderness” implies. Wilderness therapy is an outdoor program which puts individuals face to face with a piece of their fear- natural light. Being in the natural light allows one to soak in the authentic “feel-good” light. The light that is received through the eyes is proven to boost mood. Temperature has been thought to affect SAD also. In wilderness therapy, students learn to adapt to the weather around them and find the beauty in the situation.


    • Getting Fit in the Forest


    Physical activity contributes to increasing mood-boosting brain chemicals that banish the blues associated with seasonal affective disorder. Wilderness therapy incorporates physical activity into the everyday program. Individuals will test their endurance and learn new activities that they can take with them beyond their time at the wilderness therapy program.


    • Learning Stress Management Skills


    Another important focus in wilderness is learning coping and stress management skills that are healthy and maintainable. By being in the environment that contributes to the disorder, students have the opportunity to face their fears and put management skills into action. Clinical professionals are able to coach students through these processes while being in a serene environment unplugged from the chaos of the real world. With in-the-moment therapy, professionals are able to evaluate how young people are coping with their experiences—and intervene when appropriate. They talk through issues right there and help the student develop strategies to cope more productively. Many young people learn to rely more themselves as well as seek out help when necessary.

    Trails Carolina can help

    Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program that helps teens ages 10-17 who are struggling with behavioral and emotional issues. This program uses adventure-based therapy to help students gain a new sense of self-awareness, confidence, and independence. The skills they learn throughout the wilderness program offer long-term benefits towards their ability to successfully self-navigate in the real world. By removing teens from their fast-paced environment into a safe, nurturing, and peaceful environment, they are able to focus on improving and reflecting upon their behavior. Trails Carolina gives students the tools they need to lead happy and healthy lives. We can help your family today!

    Contact us at 800-975-7303.



    Graham Shannonhouse

    A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Graham Shannonhouse has been actively involved in the wilderness therapy field for nearly three decades. After receiving her degree in 1991, Shannonhouse spent 10 years working with a premiere wilderness-based therapeutic program in south-central Idaho. During her tenure, she served three years as a hands-on Field Instructor, three years as Field Supervisor, and the remaining time as Wilderness Program Director. During this period she developed, managed, and served as counselor for the country’s first wilderness program specifically focused on pre- teens ages 10 to 13 Graham returned to the east in 2002 to serve as Executive Director for a therapeutic wilderness program based in North Carolina, successfully growing it to one of the most respected companies in the industry. In 2008, she resigned her position to open Trails Carolina. Having an intimate working knowledge of the roots of wilderness therapy, Graham has brought her experience and wisdom to her position as Partner and Executive Director with the goal of integrating the true family work that must be done to insure lasting success.

    All stories by: Graham Shannonhouse