Although it is not yet recognized in the DSM, Nature Deficit Disorder is a genuine condition first termed by Mr. Richard Louv in Last Child in the Woods. This theory essentially states that in modern society, mankind is not getting enough time outdoors which leads to a variety of behavioral, emotional, and social problems.
The effects of NDD are not completely realized. However, there are indications that NDD leads to attention deficit disorders, depression and anxiety. It can also lead to lower grades in school, obesity, loss of respect for natural orders, and mental and physical stress.
It is important to understand that although this disorder is most common and detrimental to children, it can also have acute and chronic effects on adults.
It is likely that the biggest cause of this disorder is the excessive amount of entertainment that can be found indoors. Both adults and children are persuaded more and more to watch television, use the internet and computers, or play video games. Additionally, as we become a more urban society, we have less and less access to the wilderness and environments where we can experience nature. We also have fears of being outdoors. Whether these form as fears of insects, spiders, snakes, accidents and injuries or even other people, they can play a major role in our decisions to spend time outdoors.
Based on this knowledge, we can easily assess that time outside is critical to our mind, body and spirit. Fresh air and sunlight are imperative to mental and physical health, especially for those who are employed indoors with little physical activity.
The weekend is here. Get outside. Go for a walk. Go for a hike at a local park. Visit a city or state park. Find a place to mountain bike. Find a stream, river, pond or lake for fishing. Take up outdoor photography. Plan for a camping trip for an upcoming weekend. Regardless of how you occupy yourself outdoors, find something that you enjoy and commit to doing it often. If you can think of no other reason to do so, PREVENT NATURE DEFICIT DISORDER for you and your children.