art therapy

Millions of people around the world live with alcohol use disorder. Fortunately, this addiction can be treated with art therapy. Although it may seem unorthodox, art therapy is a proven and effective method for treating many addictions, especially alcoholism.

How Alcohol Use Disorder Effects a Person 

Whether drinking too much at once or over time, alcohol can have serious effects on the human body. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol interferes with communication pathways in the brain, which can cause changes in mood or behavior as well as lower coordination. It can also damage the heart, causing increased blood pressure and increased risk of stroke, and damage the liver, which can lead to alcoholic hepatitis and fibrosis.    

What is Art Therapy?

Despite the dangers of excessive drinking, becoming sober is not easy. The path of recovery requires commitment and constant effort. However, walking this path can be made easier with treatment for alcoholism. One option for those with alcohol use disorder is art therapy. 

As the name implies, art therapy uses artistic methods to treat disorders, such as alcohol use disorder, and improve an individual’s mental health. It is rooted in the belief that creativity and creative expression can enhance healing and improve a person’s overall well-being. There are a variety of ways one can engage in art therapy; some of the most popular include dance, drama, music, writing, painting, drawing, sculpting, and photography. Through these practices, a patient explores their emotions, stress, and self in general. In doing so, they can gain new insights about themselves as well as develop coping skills.      

The Benefits of Art Therapy in Treating Alcoholism 

Art therapy offers a number of benefits to those who use it. Some of the benefits of art therapy for treating alcoholism include: 

1. Increasing Communication Creatively

The act of creating art is essentially an act of communication. Whether it’s a sculpture or a piece of music, the art itself communicates an idea, concept, or feeling. Because of this, individuals with alcohol use disorder can use art to communicate and explore feelings and ideas without ever actually speaking. For some, this process makes communication easier. In some cases, it can even allow people to communicate feelings they did not know how to communicate otherwise. 

2. Aiding in Self-Reflection

By increasing one’s ability to communicate and understand themselves and their emotions, art therapy aids in self-reflection. No matter how or what a person chooses to communicate through their art, they create the art by identifying and understanding an idea or feeling within themselves. By doing this regularly, a person can develop greater self-reflection skills, allowing them to gain a greater understanding of their alcoholism, triggers, and how they can cope more effectively. 

3. Improving Emotional Healing 

Art is emotional. Whether the emotion or emotions in a piece of art are positive or negative, they are all relevant, and they all matter. Through the creation of art with art therapy, individuals with alcohol use disorder can heal emotionally by confronting and working through negative emotions, potentially changing them into positive ones. 

4. Creating Self-Confidence

Creating art can be intimidating, especially for individuals with no artistic experience. However, in art therapy, patients are constantly reassured of the importance of art as a means of expression rather than a means to impress or make money. Through practice and reassurance that all art is valid, patients can grow as artists and further explore their art, which often comes with improved self-confidence.  

5. Preventing Relapse

For many living with alcohol use disorder, drinking is at the center of their life. It takes up most of their time and can even be associated with certain hobbies or activities. However, with art in art therapy, there is no drinking. There is only creating and appreciating art, making it a healthy hobby. By engaging in this hobby as a way to explore one’s emotions, addiction, and triggers or as a means of coping, art becomes a way of preventing relapse.   

Seeking Art Therapy for Alcoholism? 

Despite its prevalence in societies around the world, alcohol is a poison. It negatively affects both the mind and the body. Fortunately, for those living with alcohol use disorder, there is hope for sobriety with treatment. One of the best and most pleasurable forms of treatment for alcoholism is art therapy. With it, a person can learn to self-reflect and communicate their emotions and ideas more effectively. They can also use art as a means of coping, which helps to prevent the potential for relapse. 

For more information on art therapy and its benefits, contact us at Knoxville Recovery Center today! Our team of addiction specialists can guide you and help you start your recovery. 

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