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How Art Therapy Could Help You Stay Sober

Aid in Recovery | Art Therapy and Sobriety | Set of brushes on table

What Science Says About Art Therapy

From 12-step programs to outpatient rehab, multiple therapies are offered in the name of drug and alcohol treatment.

One such treatment option is art therapy. Much like music therapy, creative hobbies such as art can help develop new neural pathways and set you on a path of long-lasting sobriety.

As Psychology Today puts it, “Art as therapy embodies the idea that art making is, in and of itself, therapeutic and that the creative process is a growth-producing experience.”

Utilizing forms such as painting, dancing, acting, and poetry, art therapy encourages people in treatment (including drug and alcohol recovery) to express themselves in a wholesome, productive way that might bolster healing.

You may be wondering, could it work for me?

Here’s what science has to say on the subject and why it might be a key component to your recovery after rehab.

Art Therapy Is a Wise Option for Trauma Victims

The potential causes for addiction are manifold, including a history of personal trauma, such as sexual assault and childhood abuse.

Art therapy may be beneficial for those who fall into this category. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatment states that art therapy may be valuable for those who have endured trauma (such as domestic abuse), in that it allows patients to express themselves in a non-verbal way. Communicating what you cannot say in words but in movement or images may start a conversation that may be critical to getting to the root of your addiction—and learning to manage the pain behind it.

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It Can Also Reduce Stress

Entering addiction recovery is one of the best things you will ever do for yourself, but that doesn’t mean it will be a piece of cake. Sobriety requires you to peer into the issues that may have spawned your addiction in the first place. It also asks you to adopt an entirely new lifestyle, one that doesn’t allow you to hide from stress through the use of substances.

Art therapy can be a blessing in this regard. Numerous studies point to the stress-reduction benefits of art therapy, including research published by the National Institutes of Health, who found that “artistic engagement has significantly positive effects on health,” including decreased anxiety. Bringing creative expression into your life during recovery provides you with another means to handle the concerns and crises that arise from simply living.

Art Therapy May Help You Adjust to Recovery in General

Art therapy may seem new to some but it’s been used in the field of substance abuse treatment since the 1950s.

Part of its promise—and lingering appeal as an adjunct to detox, talk therapy, group therapy, and more—is its ability to help people confront their addiction. Findings published by the National Institutes of Health demonstrate that art therapy may decrease denial, reduce “opposition to alcoholism treatment,” and lessen the shame that you may associate with addiction. What’s more, art therapy can “motivate patients to change by moving them away from reflection and into a state of action.”

In short, art therapy might be a sage consideration as part of your holistic recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. If you would like to learn more about how it might help you or your loved one—or if you’re ready to discuss your overall treatment options—don’t hesitate. Reach out to Aid in Recovery today.

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