5 Reasons Art Therapy Can Help With Addiction

art therapy

Whether you enjoy the simple pleasure of strolling through a gallery or you like to get hands-on and create it yourself, art can be relaxing and inspiring. Many people loved to draw, color and paint as children, but outgrew the hobby as they got older. Art therapy for addiction can help you reconnect with the joy of making something and simultaneously improve your mental well-being. 

What Is Art Therapy?

Art therapy can be a valuable part of the healing process for people working to achieve sobriety from substance abuse or those dealing with life challenges such as mental illness. When used as a complementary approach alongside traditional counseling techniques, the process of creating art can boost your self-esteem while you release stress and tension.

An art therapist’s goal is not to shape you into an award-winning artist or prepare you for a career of showing your work at various exhibits. You do not need any artistic talent to thrive in art therapy – the only prerequisite is to come with an open mind and a willingness to experiment and learn more about yourself.

1. Provides a Healthy Outlet for Self-Expression

Sometimes, emotions such as grief, anger, guilt, shame and hopelessness are too complex to put into words. Perhaps you need time and space to process issues such as trauma or abuse. When you are struggling to express yourself, but you still crave emotional release, creating art may help you do it. 

2. Puts You on a Journey of Personal Discovery

Since denial is characteristic of addiction, you might have lost touch with your true self during the time when your primary relationship was with drugs or alcohol. Art therapy for addiction can be an intensely reflective process, as you draw, paint or sculpt the progress you make throughout your recovery. You can watch your creative output evolve as you reconnect with your innermost thoughts and feelings.

3. Helps Prevent a Relapse

Relapse prevention techniques are paramount for people aiming to end their relationship with alcohol or drugs and maintain lifelong sobriety. Art therapy is a holistic treatment approach that gives you the tools to cope with triggers such as anger and loneliness. In creating art, you can learn how to overcome emotional roadblocks and express yourself when communicating with others. 

4. Gives You a New, Healthy Hobby

Substance abuse can be highly time-consuming. Once you are sober, you will need to find a novel way to fill all the hours you spent getting and using drugs or alcohol. If you enjoy art therapy enough, you could turn painting, coloring, drawing or photography into your favorite new hobby. Creating art releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical that elevates your energy and concentration to new heights.

5. Boosts Your Creativity

Learning to think more creatively is an excellent way to engage different parts of your brain and hone your problem-solving skills. Being creative also gives you greater freedom because when you’re making art, there are no rules to hold you back. 

Become Your Best Self

At Pine Grove, we offer various programs and services to adults struggling with substance use disorders. We know that addiction is an illness, not a moral failing, and we are here to help you break the cycle of self-destructive behavior with accredited, evidence-based treatment. Contact us today to learn more. 

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