Do Any Treatment Methods Embrace Creativity?

Posted in: Treatment

June 1, 2016

Assortment of art supplies

When a person is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, he may feel like his life is out of control. Substance use disorders affect people in major ways, and they can negatively impact a person’s life when left untreated. A person’s life is changed by substance abuse or addiction in several ways, but one of the most significant effects of drug abuse or addiction involves the ways that he is able to express himself. While the person may have engaged in many creative activities before he began abusing one or more substances, he may find that he struggles to reach the same levels of creative output while he is struggling with a substance use disorder. In order to get back on track in life, it often helps to go through a substance abuse rehabilitation program, especially one that incorporates the individual’s creativity.

Most people who struggle with substance use disorders don’t seek out any form of professional help to overcome their disorders. SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that in 2012, 23.1 million people needed treatment for some type of substance use problem. Out of these millions of people, however, only 2.5 million people actually receive treatment at a specialty facility.

Keys to Effective Substance Rehabilitation

While the majority of people with substance use disorders don’t get the professional help they need to recover from their condition, those who do often find that both rehabilitation and recovery can be excellent opportunities for exploring creative interests and developing healthy self-expression practices. There are several types of treatment available, but the following guiding principles for substance abuse treatment, as described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), should be incorporated into any effective program:

  • View addiction as a complex but treatable disease that affects the brain’s functioning and behavior
  • Customization of treatment to fit the needs of the individual, and should address additional needs the person may have outside of his substance abuse
  • Treatment that lasts an adequate amount of time
  • Incorporation of behavioral therapies, such as group or individual counseling, when useful
  • Continual monitoring of treatment throughout and modification when needed

Common Types of Substance Abuse Rehabilitation

As the NIDA describes, some of the most common substance abuse treatment therapies include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Contingency management interventions and motivational incentives
  • Community reinforcement approach plus vouchers
  • Motivational enhancement therapy
  • The matrix model
  • 12-Step facilitation therapy
  • Family behavior therapy

Creativity in the Recovery Process

Each of these types of therapy focus on helping the person achieve both short- and long-term recovery, and most focus on getting the person to analyze, discuss and deal with the psychological, social, and physical problems that contributed to the substance abuse. They also help the person learn how to manage these problems in the future in healthy and productive ways. One common healthy alternative to substance abuse and addiction is engaging in creative activities. These can include any of the following:

  • Painting
  • Writing
  • Dancing
  • Sculpting
  • Singing
  • Acting

Each of these creative activities can help a person begin healing in the recovery process and they can also encourage the person to discover areas of his life that he may not have explored before. Because creativity can be a safe and healthy way for a person to work through complex emotions and experiences, many rehabilitation programs encourage their patients to engage in at least one creative activity.

Learn More about Creativity in the Recovery Process

Going through the recovery process can be difficult, but exercising one’s creativity can be a great way to work through the stress related to recovering from substance abuse or addiction. If you or someone you know is dealing with addiction, we can help. Our admissions coordinators are available to discuss the rehabilitation and recovery process with you, and they can even help you find a quality rehabilitation center that will fit your specific recovery needs. Call us today to learn more 615-490-9376.

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