Art Therapy for Addiction Treatment and Recovery

Not all forms of therapy that are used in addiction treatment are traditional forms of addiction therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or dialectical behavior therapy. In fact, oftentimes, addiction treatment centers incorporate holistic forms of therapy into their treatment programs. Holistic forms of therapy are non-traditional forms of therapy that treat the body, mind, and soul rather than just the body or mind. Holistic forms of therapy also do not use medications in their treatment methods. One form of holistic therapy that individuals often use in addiction treatment is art therapy. There are many benefits to receiving art therapy for addiction treatment and recovery.

What is Art Therapy?

Art therapy is a holistic form of therapy that uses different forms of art to help people cope. Art therapy for addiction treatment and recovery uses art to help people cope with their addiction triggers. 

Types of Art Therapy for Addiction Treatment and Recovery

There are various types of art therapy for addiction treatment and recovery. Art in itself is the use of imagination and skill to create something. Therefore, art therapy for addiction treatment and recovery is technically anything that one creates through imagination and skill that people in addiction treatment and recovery use in a therapeutic manner. 

Some popular types of art therapy for addiction treatment and recovery include the following:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Knitting
  • Sculpting
  • Poetry
  • Playing or listening to music
  • Journaling
  • Dancing
  • Coloring
  • Scrapbooking

The types of art therapy for addiction treatment and recovery that a person should choose to use depend on what helps them more effectively cope with his or her addiction triggers.

Benefits of Art Therapy for Addiction Treatment

There are many benefits to taking part in art therapy while in addiction or recovery. Some of these benefits are described below.

It Can Act as a Coping Mechanism

As we’ve previously mentioned, the primary benefit of art therapy for addiction treatment and recovery is the same as that of all forms of addiction therapy, it helps individuals cope with their addiction triggers. This is because by taking part in art therapy, individuals can learn positive ways to help them change their negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors into more positive ones. 

It Helps the Brain Naturally Release Dopamine

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that a person’s brain releases when he or she feels pleasure. Oftentimes, when people suffer from substance addictions, it causes their brains to become dependent on their substances of choice to release any sort of dopamine. As a result, many individuals with substance addictions feel depressed and lethargic when they stop using drugs. 

Because art therapy is an enjoyable activity that builds people’s inner confidence and skill set, it often is a way to help depressed individuals feel happy. Thus, art therapy is a tool that can be used to help the brain naturally release dopamine again.

It Helps Individuals Identify Addiction Triggers

Many traditional forms of addiction therapy first focus on helping individuals identify their addiction triggers. That way they can figure out ways to alter their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in ways that will help them cope with their addiction triggers. 

Unfortunately, though, it is sometimes hard for people that are new to addiction treatment to accurately identify their addiction triggers or the thoughts and emotions that they have because of their addiction triggers. That is where art therapy steps in. 

Through art therapy for addiction treatment and recovery, individuals are able to express themselves in creative ways that make it easier for them to get in touch with their true inner thoughts and emotions. This, in turn, will also make it easier for individuals that take part in art therapy to identify their addiction triggers. Thus, art therapy can help individuals successfully get through the typical addiction therapy process. 

It Helps With Communication

People that are new to addiction treatment and recovery often struggle to communicate with others. This is due to the fact that many people that are new to addiction treatment and recovery are overwhelmed. It also doesn’t help that many people with substance addictions ostracize themselves from society, thus making it harder for them to trust others and communicate once they achieve recovery. Through art therapy though, people in addiction treatment and recovery that struggle to communicate verbally are able to do so artistically. 

It Helps Individuals Build on Their Support Networks

To successfully maintain substance addiction recovery, people need to have a network of people that support them. Luckily, many people in addiction treatment and recovery are able to build their support networks through group art therapy sessions.

Benefits of Art Therapy for Mental Health 

Many people that struggle with substance abuse also suffer from mental illness. Oftentimes this is because people that suffer from mental illnesses start abusing substances to cope. Other times, this is because people with substance addictions experience chemical changes in their brains that make them also develop mental health disorders. 

Either way, because of how often mental illness and substance addiction co-occur, addiction treatment programs often try to improve the mental health of their patients on top of helping their patients achieve recovery. Some ways that art therapy helps people in addiction treatment improve their mental health are described below. 

It Improves Self-Esteem

Art therapy for addiction treatment and recovery is known to empower people and make them feel more confident in themselves. This is partly because art therapy helps people build new skills. Through art therapy, some individuals in addiction treatment or recovery may even tap into artistic talents that they previously didn’t know that they had. 

By empowering and building the confidence of individuals in addiction treatment and recovery, art therapy is simultaneously helping them build the inner strength and confidence that they need to get through life without leaning on the crutch of substance abuse. 

It Helps People Release Pent Up Stress and Emotions

People that suffer from mental health issues often struggle with the stresses of life and the emotions that come along with them. Thus, it’s good for people with mental health disorders to release life’s stresses through some activity. 

Art therapy is a positive activity for people to release their pent-up stress and emotions through. This is because art therapy allows people to express themselves creatively. 

It Helps Slow Down Racing Thoughts

One common mental health disorder that people suffer from is anxiety. One of the common symptoms of anxiety is racing thoughts. Art therapy helps to reduce racing thoughts though by forcing people to focus on creating their art as opposed to obsessing over life’s issues.  

It Helps the Brain Release Dopamine

Just like we previously mentioned in the benefits of art therapy for addiction treatment, art therapy helps the brain naturally release dopamine. As a result, people in art therapy feel a sense of enjoyment and pleasure as they create their artwork. This is beneficial to people who suffer from low dopamine levels and struggle to feel pleasure because of their mental health disorders. 

Who Benefits Most from Art Therapy

Anyone can benefit from art therapy. The people that would benefit from it the most though are the ones that struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD and/or trauma, and/or substance addiction. 

Receive Art Therapy for Addiction Treatment and Recovery at Harmony Place

To receive quality art therapy for addiction treatment and recovery, one should do so at a quality rehab facility such as Harmony Place. Harmony Place is a co-ed addiction treatment center that’s located in Los Angeles, California. Here at Harmony Place, we make sure to cater to the individual needs of each and every one of our patients. That’s why we only treat a maximum of 12 clients at one time. 

Here at Harmony Place, we believe in hospitality and emphasize spiritual, emotional, and physical as part of recovery. That’s why we make sure to incorporate holistic forms of treatment, such as art therapy, into our rehab programs. 

We also offer our patients nutritional support through gourmet meals, weekly massages, acupuncture, chiropractic and yoga sessions, psychodrama, equine-assisted psychotherapy, and physical fitness assistance, along with evidence-based substance abuse and mental health treatment programs. Thus, you will receive the highest quality of care while in rehab here at Harmony Place. 

At the end of the day, you will never be able to live a full life, until you treat your substance use issues. So, what are you waiting for?! Life is too short to continue to go down the wrong path. Contact us here at Harmony Place today and receive the addiction treatment services that you need to overcome your substance addictions and any co-occurring mental illnesses once and for all.

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