Today’s teens are under more stress than ever before. Unfortunately, the sheer weight of this pressure has also led to an increase in substance use and mental health disorders, such as PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health disorder that occurs when a person has difficulty processing an emotionally disturbing event. Fortunately, there is a cure for this condition. Among other mental health treatments, an equine therapy program reduces the effects of PTSD in children and adolescents. For more information on equine therapy and PTSD, contact the boys’ mental health treatment center at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is a mental health condition that occurs after a person has been through a traumatic event. This traumatic event can be a one-time occurrence, such as a natural disaster or a car accident. Alternatively, it may be a repeated event, such as abuse. A person suffering from PTSD may experience a variety of symptoms, including:
- Intrusive memories taking them back to the event even if they don’t want to think about it
- Vivid flashbacks
- Avoiding reminders of the event
- Trouble eating or sleeping
- Unreasonable outbursts of anger or irritability
- Distorted thought processes
What The Research Says About the Efficacy of Equine Therapy
The Horses and Humans Research Foundation recently funded a study into the “Effects of Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy on Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in Youth”. In the study, there was also a control group that received traditional cognitive behavioral therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Both groups saw a similar reduction in their stress symptoms, indicating that one might not necessitate a full replacement of the other.
Combining both traditional psychotherapy methods and non-traditional ones, like an equine therapy program, might be the most effective approach. Quoting one of the study’s authors, the article touches an important subject of “burnout”. During the treatment process, there is a lot of emotional discovery, progress, and breakthrough.
Through education, life skills, and more, children receive an immense amount of information during the day. Children only go to school for a certain number of hours because more would be overload. Teachers have argued that homework is burdensome because at the end of the day, students are exhausted. “When working with high-risk youth populations who may experience burnout or treatment fatigue from traditional methods, it is useful to identify innovative therapeutic strategies (such as equine-facilitated psychotherapy) that can be used in addition to or in conjunction with traditional methods. The more treatment options that are available, the better.”
Horses have been believed to have healing powers by many ancient civilizations and tribes. For many centuries throughout history, there has been an intimate relationship between man and horse. Children especially can grow loving emotional relationships with horses based on a primary factor: trust. Where children feel unable to let a treatment team get “in”, they can learn to trust a horse. Horses, though they are known to develop quite their own temperament and mannerism, don’t tend to talk back. Life skills like responsibility are crucial for taking care of and participating in an activity with a horse. In addition to the clinical foundation, horseback riding can provide a feeling of freedom and independence.
Contact Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center
At Stonewater, we provide nature and adventure experiences including equine therapy. Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers a continuum of care to adolescents in need of substance use treatment. We are dedicated to building a foundation of love and strength in each client through individualized care and proven treatment methods. We provide treatment for a range of conditions, including:
- Trauma treatment program
- Anxiety treatment program
- Depression treatment program
- ADHD treatment program