Monthly Archives: May 2014

Internet Use: Weighing the Pros & Cons

Computers and the internet are an integral part of daily modern life. People use them for work; kids for their homework. Along with tablets and smartphones, they help us keep in touch with friends and family, provide entertainment with games and videos, and keep us informed instantly with online news sources.

young woman with laptopPeople are now used to sitting at a computer for hours on end. Taking time to steal a glance at Facebook, a gossip site, or look up a song doesn’t seem to be a big deal – until two minutes turns into twenty. So, when does productivity and a bit of fun turn into an internet usage problem or addiction?

Pathological internet usage in children and teens is characterized by excessive time spent online accompanied by changes in mood –irritability when they’re not online, preoccupation with thoughts of being online, anger and agitation when online activities are interrupted. Also, other aspects of their lives suffer – from friendships to personal responsibilities, such as household chores and academics.

Research also shows that internet use, especially excessive internet use, can rewire the brain’s pathways. As a type of behavioral addiction, it also shows signs of having similar effects as substance abuse.

The pros and cons of using the internet and technology like computers, video games, and smartphones should be considered. They can also be used as a guide for understanding if your internet use is causing more trouble rather than productivity. While it may not be possible to fully get the internet out of daily life, it is possible to monitor our habits, so that we can better enjoy the people and non-digital world around us.

Getting Away & Breaking the Addiction: Wilderness Therapy

Internet addiction can at times be the result of other issues, such as depression. In searching for comfort or an outlet, someone suffering may turn to the internet. Ultimately, technology is definitely impacting our lives, relationships, and habits – for better or worse. And when it’s for worse, we should do something to change it.

For young adults or adolescents who are struggling with internet or gaming issues along with the possibility of depression and anxiety, getting away from the source of their trouble is a great start. Wilderness therapy can be a great opportunity for a digital detox and a time to discover what is at the root of internet addiction. Pacific Quest wilderness therapy program is a unique mix of outdoor therapy, standard therapy, healthy living, and a wellness program. The Pacific Quest’s holistic approach gives young adults and adolescents an opportunity to learn life and healthy coping skills, apply those skills and ideas, and then understand how those help learn to lead balanced lives – lives in which they know how to better balance internet and technology use.

Getting the Right Diagnosis: Internet Addiction

Today more and more people are being diagnosed with some type of issue – from exhaustion and depression to ADHD. These are real problems that have a variety of health implications, especially for adolescents and young adults because they are still developing mentally and physically.

Unfortunately, people today expect a quick fix, so doctors, clinicians, and parents may be too readily accepting of giving teens medications in an effort to make them feel better rather than taking time to teach coping skills or to understand the issue. This may also lead to overmedicating teens and young adults for another reason: improper diagnosis. Many issues have similar symptoms. For example, internet addiction, ADHD, and sleep deprivation.

What’s Troubling Teens: Internet Addiction, ADHD, or Depression?

When adolescent’s grades slip and inattentiveness becomes an issue, sometimes ADHD is quickly called to blame since it has such a high profile. There are also the issues of depression, which can accompany ADHD, and anxiety; those with depression often exhibit signs of anxiety disorder. The problem in diagnosing these issues can be that they present some of the same symptoms, such as irritability, mood changes, boredom, and poor sleep, as well as causing difficulty concentrating or initiating projects.

Without probing the issues and perhaps wanting a quick solution, medications could be prescribed for one or several issues. The effect could be to not help at all or even worsen an adolescent’s condition if ADHD or depression/anxiety is not his true struggle.

Failing grades, withdrawal from friends and family, and irritability or anxiety can also be attributed to internet addiction. Some research has shown a link between internet addiction and depression in teens as someone with depression may turn to the internet for an escape or source of comfort. If the internet is a true problem rather than ADHD, medication will not help, and simply reviewing qualifying criteria may not lead to a proper diagnosis or treatment.

Tackling the Troubles: Wilderness Therapy for Teens

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy individual therapyTherapy seeks to get to the root causes of issues. A good, comprehensive wilderness therapy program is capable of helping adolescents and young adults dealing with a variety of issues, such as internet addiction, depression/anxiety, ADHD, substance abuse, and adoption issues, among others.

The comprehensive Pacific Quest wilderness therapy program takes a holistic and experiential approach to healing. Naturopathic medicine and principles guide the wellness program, which combines standard medical practices with more traditional, natural healing methods. Pacific Quest’s program is well-suited for families wanting to avoid or reduce the number of prescription medications.

Its innovative therapeutic model includes individualized care plans with a combination of

The medical and clinical staffs take time to evaluate and talk to each student to learn about their struggles, issues, and motivations. Therapy sessions are tailored to their needs and individual progress in the program. Group sessions can focus on shared experiences and struggles, such as divorce, substance issues, or internet addiction. When several issues exist, such as internet addiction and depression, therapy can tackle each one individually and also reveal how one issue can feed another. Wilderness therapy also offers a chance for adolescents or young adults with internet addiction to get away from the source of the problem: computers and technology, and they can learn how to live without them. Pacific Quest understands there is no quick fix, so it takes time to help students then give them long-lasting skills and tools for them to be able to maintain change into the future.

Turn off the Computer, Turn on Your Mind through Wilderness Therapy Programs

From Instagram to Xboxes, at home or in the classroom, we live in an age when our external environment mixes compelling but competing demands for our attention. Rarely are people given the time to reflect, imagine, or daydream. Teens, adolescents, and young adults are forever in the situation of deciding how much attention to give to self-generated thought or to information from the external social or physical environment.  By changing the balance of attention to accommodate more self-generated thought through outdoor therapy programs, like the one at Pacific Quest, students may actually get far closer to realizing the dreams they most want for themselves.

Daydreaming

Did you know that the content of daydreams plays a big but hidden role in emotional well-being? People who report the most positive daydreams experience the lowest levels of negative emotions and depression.  Positive constructive daydreaming is when teens and adolescents enjoy vivid imagery and fantasy and use daydreaming for plotting out their future.  Daydreaming helps consolidate memories and synthesize disparate ideas and plans yielding a greater sense of identity and personal meaning. Because of this, healthy social Pacific Quest wilderness therapy A Day in Lifeand emotional functioning and the ability to make meaning of life experiences rely on constructive internal reflection and daydreaming. What’s more, studies show that daydreaming can enhance self-control and creativity.

Get Smart

Social media, computer, and mindless entertainment – even rote classroom demands – have the potential to rob children of opportunities to reflect and build personal meaning. Such activities focus mental resources on the concrete, physical, and immediate social world, fostering a more superficial self. Internet addiction or overuse can hinder creative or deep thought and encourage people to not deal with any personal issues because they have little time to think constructively.

By turning off the computers and rethinking the way they interact with technology and other people, teens and adolescents can make the most of their mental hardware and become smarter in other areas. Turning attention away from the external world can also help young adults to tap into their wellspring of creativity.

Expert recommendations on how to get young people thinking and daydreaming in a healthy manner include:

  • Nonverbal activities: playing guitar, cooking, running, playing team sports
  • Writing: journaling or creative writing offer a chance to reflect and increase self-awareness.
  • Group work: an opportunity to hear and debate other points of view expands our thinking and intelligence

Pacific Quest Wilderness Therapy

The entire Pacific Quest wilderness therapy process is one of mindful interaction with the world around us.  Mindful processing is enhanced through activities that awaken awareness, intentional silent times such as journaling, development of observation skills, and attention to detail and focus during all activities from exercise to daily chores and therapeutic groups. Here, students get away from sources of internet addiction and get involved in mindful activities.

To recognize what a person is capable of achieving intellectually and creatively requires engaging that person in meaningful activity and allowing time for deep reflection and cultivation of expertise in the value domain. Pacific Quest incorporates horticulture therapy into its wellness program. The garden work allows ample opportunity for daydreaming even though students are also working.

The gardens at Pacific Quest offer a living example of what growth looks like, creating a culture where words match with action and empowers students with life skills that can be practiced beyond gardening and Pacific Quest. Gardening at Pacific Quest is a group activity, which supports critical thinking. Students provide feedback on each other’s work and hear information about themselves from their peers. Outside perspectives give insight, especially when we get a chance to think about that information.

Horticultural therapy utilizes gardening activities in conjunction with traditional counseling techniques to meet specific therapeutic treatment goals, placing the client in a caregiving role, and creating an experiential environment that is growth focused and life-affirming. Horticultural therapy is a client-centered treatment model that seeks to enhance social, cognitive, and physiological functioning with the primary goal of improving health and inspiring motivation for change.

Whole-person wellness addresses all aspects of the body, mind, and emotions. Students are better able to feel the results of positive change and therefore create an internal desire to carry new found wellness techniques beyond Pacific Quest. The process of change and growth that they witness with the wilderness therapy program provides Pacific Quest adolescents and young adults at Pacific Quest an opportunity to look more closely at the change and growth taking root within themselves.

Pacific Quest wilderness therapy can be great opportunity to help troubled adolescents and young adults by getting them away from sources of their media and internet addiction and giving them constructive activities and plenty of time to daydream or think about their lives.