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visual artAddicted individuals healing from trauma along their path to recovery can benefit from physical mediums of communication—namely, visual art. Engaging in art forms such as painting, sculpting, and collage foster an artist’s connection with their emotions, memories, and learning. Like a new physical exercise, the visual arts heal the mind by activating creative brain cells, thereby stimulating oxygenated blood flow to relatively depleted regions. 


In a 2010 review from the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), scientists found that regular practice of the visual arts reduced anxiety and depression in patients observed over a short period. In a focus group centering on thirty women with heart disease, test subjects were asked to draw their heart disease. Framing any affliction as its own entity—be it heart disease, addiction, or trauma—prompts those recovering to identify the distinction between the individual and the disease. Acknowledging the separation between the two empowers the recovery process. It allows individuals to distance themselves from the pain within and feelings of blame or judgment. 


The review also tentatively proved art’s mood-enhancing effects on patients in recovery. Focusing on the positive aspects of one’s life is an effective way to limit stress and the risk of anxiety and depression. Reframing one’s challenges to center around the unique opportunities that lie ahead is a life skill endemic to artistic expression. Art not only encourages the artist to understand their individual perspective but to exercise control over it as well.


The act of sitting down, planning a visual project, and honing in on a unified project requires the creator to remain present. Artists also become dedicated to portraying truth. Although we may feel like life does not allow for us to harness control over our situations, art provides a way to influence our own perspectives. Pursuing artistic endeavors motivates those in recovery to be honest with their present situation, which is the first step towards making healthy changes for our future.


The Guest House Ocala encourages art therapy along with our recovery program. Trained art therapists collaborate with you to kick-off the healing process with visual art, providing a safe space to approach treatment, and ultimately, a more fulfilling life! Call The Guest House today at 855-483-7800.