Creativity and fight against addiction – Art Therapy

09-06-2016 Posted in Addiction, therapy, Treatment

Addiction has grown common these days. The availability of drugs such as heroin and marijuana has led to more number of teens and students falling prey to addiction. Besides the conventional drugs, there are many new kinds of drugs and their derivatives that have taken addiction to a new level. Hence, a lot of development has also taken place in terms of recovery and rehabilitation.

There can be various roads to recovery from addiction, such as medical help, professional guidance, natural methods, recreational activities, recovery programs and rehab centers. Another interesting method to tackle addiction is creativity. Creative therapies, like dance, music and art, are emerging as a new trend to recover from addiction. These therapies not only help to beat the addiction, but also prevent relapse.

Origin of art therapy as a recovery mode

Using art therapy to combat shock and trauma is an old practice. It came into existence in 1945 when the therapy was used to treat active military members to overcome the trauma of war, which encompassed the feelings of shock, grief, loss and sorrow. Ever since, art therapy has remained an integral part of mental health program and has helped patients with psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety disorders.

Soon, art therapy was also discovered to deliver excellent results in recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Currently, art therapy is one of the widely picked options for the people who hesitate to participate in rehab groups and sessions.

Colors of art therapy

Activities such as painting, drawing and sketching are not only creative, but also a mode of expression. Observing the positive aspects of art, the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) regards art therapy as the therapeutic way to help people overcome physical illnesses, mental disorders, trauma and other challenges of life.

Art therapy is a holistic approach towards treating a person with addiction, wherein efforts are made to ensure complete recovery of body, mind and the soul. Focusing on four key points – expression, imagination, active participation and establishing a mind-body connection, the therapy also helps in preventing relapse to addiction. Art therapy comes as the best rescue in cases where the addict is shy to express his/her emotions and feeling through conversations with the counselor and the person could express the fears and feeling through drawing and colors.  

Art therapy also helps the person to channelize his/her creativity in the right direction. As an art cannot be judged and does not have any rules and format, this further makes the person free from any restriction while expressing the feelings.

The performance or creation as well as the facial expressions of the person while performing/painting are observed carefully by the therapist. All the factors help the therapist to decide the feelings of the addict and according to which he /she can work further to provide proper guidance to the addict to overcome the negative thoughts. This method becomes useful in ensuring relapse prevention.

Benefits of art therapy

Precisely, art therapy works well to bring out the inner dilemma and crisis of an addict. Through art therapy, the therapist can know the damage that the addiction has caused in the addict and based on which the further course of recovery is decided. Art therapy benefits addicts in the following ways:

  • Improving communication skills: Those who find visiting rehab a challenging situation, may find a solution in art therapy. Through the therapy they can express without actually communicating with people and other addicts.
  • Realizing the inner self: A recovery through art therapy could also help the addict in recognizing his/her inner self. Through their creations, the patients can see the inner reflection. For many, this has helped them in realizing their self-worth.
  • Boosting self-confidence: Lack of self-confidence becomes one of the prime reasons for developing addiction. With art therapy a person tends to gain self-confidence with completion of each creation, as it provides a sense of accomplishment.  
  • Relieving from stress: Drawing and coloring unleash the child hidden in a person. This also helps him in detaching himself from the surrounding and discover the inner self which further helps in relaxing and relieving stress.

Treating addiction

Extensive research and numerous studies have proved art therapy to be a successful tool in rehabilitation process. As a result, it has gained popularity and is being practiced in settings such as hospitals, psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities and wellness centers. Besides art therapy, seeking medical and professional guidance is also suggested for the treatment of addiction.

If you or a your loved one is battling addiction and is looking for relevant information regarding the right kind of treatment facilities providing help for drug addiction with innovative and effective treatment programs, you may contact the 24/7 Drug Addiction Helpline. Our experts can give you information on various inpatient drug abuse treatment centers in the U.S. You can call us at our helpline number 866-403-5607 or chat online for further advice.