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Healing Anxiety & Addiction with Art

a woman and man draw sketches at a table

Substance abuse can very easily begin as seemingly harmless self-medication to help get over nervousness. Maybe a few drinks to take the edge off before a big family event, an extra sedative to help settle down before a job interview, or even a combination of the two. This behavior can easily turn into a dangerous habit. Long-term substance abuse can lead to serious anxiety and addiction.

If you have reached the point of abusing substances to manage your anxiety, Northpoint Recovery may be able to help. Our detox and rehab programs can help you learn to use new coping techniques and start your path to sobriety.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety can be a normal and healthy emotion when it’s short-lived and in response to a stressful situation. However, when anxiety is constant or overwhelming, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.

There are many different anxiety disorders, each with its unique symptoms. Some common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Feeling irritable or on edge
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling like your mind is going blank
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Having muscle tension or headaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sweating
  • Racing heart or rapid breathing

These symptoms may all arise as triggers to use drugs or alcohol to try and calm down, which ends up feeding a vicious cycle.

Using Art to Treat Anxiety and Addiction

A growing body of scientific evidence supports the use of art therapy as an adjunctive treatment for anxiety and addiction. People who suffer from anxiety or addiction may find that creating art helps them to cope with their condition in a healthy way, such as:

  • Improved mental and emotional well-being
  • Increased self-esteem and confidence
  • Greater insight into oneself
  • More effective coping mechanisms for anxiety and addiction
  • A sense of accomplishment and satisfaction
  • Improved communication and relational skills
  • Enhanced creativity and problem-solving abilities
  • A deeper understanding of the creative process

The benefits of art therapy extend beyond simply reducing symptoms of anxiety or addiction. People who participate in art therapy can have better self-esteem and feel more connected to others. They may also find that their creative output provides them with satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.

Type of Art Therapy

There are many different types of art therapy, but all involve using art as a form of self-expression. Some popular kinds of art therapy include:

  • Painting – Using paint to express feelings on canvas can be meditative and releasing.
  • Sculpting – Molding clay by hand can bring a sense of actual creation and control.
  • Photography – Capturing and collaging different photographs is a fantastic method to document life and tell a story.

The type of art therapy best suited for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. You may want to try several different styles to see which one you like best.

Using Art Therapy for Your Recovery

If you are still trying to kick your habits and get sober, alternative therapies such as art therapy may be an excellent place to start again. It can be a healthy program to enroll in with other conventional therapy programs such as individual, group, or medication-assisted therapies.

By learning to control both your addiction and anxiety triggers through a healthy outlet, you can learn to turn some of your most tense moments into moments of inspiration and creativity.

Art Therapy at Northpoint Recovery

Ready to take the next steps on your path to a healthy, substance-free life? Contact us at 888.296.8976 to get started today. Our high-quality facilities help you recover in a close-knit community while using creative outlets like art, yoga, and music therapy.