A close-up photo of someone painting on a canvas.

    How Does Art Therapy Aid in Addiction Recovery?

    1013 675 Red Mountain Colorado

    “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”
    – Picasso

    Many of us can remember a time when a piece of art sparked an emotional connection. Maybe the piece of art triggered an old memory or invoked a specific feeling. Or perhaps it inspired your own creativity.

    The takeaway here is art is powerful. So much so that art can even be used as a form of therapy for addiction in young adults.

    An arts therapy program fosters a sense of insight that your teenager can turn into mental and emotional growth. It represents a fresh start with endless possibilities, where the only limit is one’s imagination.

    Think of it as a way to break through barriers. Art therapy opens the door for your teen’s emotions and feelings to flow freely so they can heal. In this post, you’ll learn the benefits of art therapy for addiction and how it can help your teen achieve recovery.

    4 Benefits of Art Therapy for Addiction Recovery

    1. Art Therapy is a Natural Way to Track Progress

    It can be challenging to track the progress of a teen’s mental and emotional state during addiction treatment. One of the key benefits of art therapy is it can monitor that progress in a subtle and indirect way.

    For example, during the early stages of treatment, a teen’s artwork may have an angry or frustrated tone. But, if their artwork gets happier and more open as treatment progresses, that’s a good indicator that their recovery is on track.

    A trained and professional art therapist can use your teen’s artwork to customize their treatment plan and recommend additional support and care, if their art still suggests that they’re struggling.

    2. Art Therapy Builds a Higher Sense of Self Awareness

    Teens suffering from addiction oftentimes struggle with self-awareness. If they aren’t aware of their internal feelings or don’t know how to communicate them, they will have a hard time fully recovering from substance abuse disorders and the effects of trauma.

    Luckily, art therapy is a natural way for those unconscious feelings to be revealed. If your teen is creating artwork, their current emotions appear on the canvas just as much as the paint.

    As art therapists ask questions about their work, your teen will begin to process the emotions and feelings that are coming to light. Once this becomes habit, it’s natural for your teen’s self-worth to improve, as well. This comes as a result of them developing a higher sense of self awareness. After all, learning how to process their inner emotions is a skill that benefits both recovery and their personal growth.

    3. Art Therapy Can Relieve Stress

    Addiction treatment can be stressful and intimidating, especially for a teenager who hasn’t fully formed his or her ability to process and describe what they’re thinking and feeling. Sometimes, talk therapy can be more stressful than beneficial for teens struggling with trauma or high stress mental health disorders.

    This is where art therapy can help. Science has shown that art therapy can actually help relieve stress. In fact, a recent study suggested that creating art boosts your body’s natural production of dopamine to help you feel good. When used in addiction treatment, art therapy gives your teen a safe and healthy outlet to express their trauma and emotions, relieving all that stress and pain they’ve been carrying around.

    4. Art Therapy Can Address Underlying Trauma

    For children and adolescents alike, trauma can affect the brain and influence habits of substance abuse from an early age. Drugs and alcohol may seem a way to forget the traumatic events that your teen has experienced. In reality, drugs and alcohol are inhibiting your child from beginning the healing process from traumatic events in their life. Trauma treatment for teens is a major part of our program, and art therapy can help accelerate the development of your teen at each point in the treatment process.

    In order to effectively treat addiction and substance abuse disorders, co-occurring conditions must be treated as well. Art therapy has been utilized to unearth history of issues such as sexual abuse, underlying PTSD symptoms, and other traumatic events in the lives of our teens. Art therapy is one of our key treatment options that helps us develop trauma-focused approaches to healing addiction.

    Art Therapy at Red Mountain Colorado

    Red Mountain Colorado uses individualized and experiential therapy to help your teen heal from their addiction and any underlying trauma. Our mindfulness-driven residential treatment program can help your teen recover and regain a fulfilling life without drug or alcohol abuse.

    Lasting change is possible and together we can give your teen the tools for a happy and productive life. To get started, contact our compassionate admissions team today.



    All stories by: RMS_Colorado