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Creativity and Addiction Don’t Mix

group practices creativity in art therapy

It is common in active addiction to attempt to justify your substance abuse to yourself and others.  For those of us that thrive on creativity, substance abuse and artistic expression can sometimes seem like a package deal.  It is easy to point to examples of creative geniuses that abused drugs and alcohol, and artistically talented individuals may worry they will lose their edge or become boring through sobriety.  There is so much wrong with this concept, including the idea that drugs and alcohol somehow inspire art. It is true that especially creative people may face unique obstacles to sobriety, but a sober lifestyle will only improve productivity and artistic clarity.  It is well known that many artists throughout history have abused drugs and alcohol.  Vincent van Gogh abused absinthe, an extremely potent alcohol, in the 19th century.  While many people mistakenly credit his intoxication for his masterpieces, van Gogh himself is recorded saying that his drinking only inhibited his artistic potential.  Kurt Cobain, an alternative rock legend of the 1990’s struggled with substance use disorders throughout much of his life, including heroine addiction. His drug use often interfered with his ability to perform and likely exacerbated his depression, eventually leading to his suicide.  Despite living a hundred years apart, both artists lacked a full understanding about the connections between substance abuse, mental illness, and creativity. Researchers are still attempting to determine why creative people are more likely to suffer from mental illness.  It is clear that incredible art is often produced by people who see the world in unique and complex ways, and this may come with an inclination towards mental health issues.  What is also clear is that drugs and alcohol only worsen mental health and artistic ability by numbing the mind and consuming the user’s life with addiction. Sobriety and creativity compliment each other more than most people realize, and with the right help, creative people can be free of addiction and live up to their full potential. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.