Artist Rehab: The Creativity Connection
What is artist rehab? It means to rehabilitate an artist from active addiction. Hence, it is the process of getting an artist into recovery.
Why does addiction affect so many artists?
In fact, there are many addicted artists. We see it all the time in the news. There are actors and actresses, musicians, authors and more. It almost seems as if creative ability is a risk factor for addiction. So, why do artists suffer so often with drug addiction?
There are several theories about creativity and addiction.
While it may be that there is no good explanation, there are some theories. First, artists may be more at risk for addiction due to creative obstruction in early life. A child may be blocked by their parents and teachers from fully expressing and developing their talent. Or, it could be due to feelings of being different and feeling like an outsider. Another possibility could be an association of depression and anxiety with creativity. In fact, other forms of mental illness could be connected to high creative ability.
What is the best way to help an artist recover?
That’s easy, the best form of artist rehab is to encourage the artist to practice their art! Of course, when an artist gets addiction treatment, the doctor and therapist must provide proven medical therapies. For opioid addiction, for example, this will include medication and psychotherapy. Yet, in addition to medical treatment, the medical professionals must also take into account that they are treating an artist. Artistic expression will be an important component of the artist’s recovery. Music and art therapy have many benefits as described here.
Who should get art therapy?
Residential and outpatient programs should always provide artist rehab programs with art therapy activities. So, which patients should participate in art therapy? All of them, of course! Guided creative expression can help all addicted patients in moving forward in recovery. It is possible that many natural creative people have been suppressed to the point of never having the opportunity to discover their talent. We must provide the tools and instruction to involve all of our patients in artist rehab activities.