In this vein, studies should examine mindfulness not only as a technique in circumscribed interventions to prevent addiction relapse but also examine mindfulness as a long-term, sustainable health behavior that promotes addiction recovery. Pursuit of a healthy lifestyle is not something that is finalized over the course of an 8-week intervention; to the contrary, maintenance of physical health requires ongoing, regular exercise and nutritious dietary choices on a daily basis that do not exceed the caloric needs of the individual. As a point of consideration, 12-Step programs encourage participation in regular meetings for the entirety of one’s life. Similarly, mindfulness might need to be practiced daily or nearly every day on an ongoing basis to achieve durable therapeutic effects and maintain addiction recovery, especially in view of the chronicity of addictive disorders.

how meditation and art therapy helps addiction

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), noted, „These emotions increase the risk for relapse, and unfortunately, circumstances since the pandemic has made peer support, for instance in 12-step meetings and similar groups, much more difficult.” Art therapy has been connected in helping treat schizophrenia meditation for addiction in patients and individuals suffering from PTSD. Do something for one hour a week that integrates mindfulness and art, and you’ll more than likely see benefits to your psychological health. ECHO Recovery is a nonprofit foundation and education organization intended to provide tools and resources to those struggling with SUD.

What Should a Client Expect in an Art Therapy Session?

MBIs might also reduce addictive behavior by strengthening facets of dispositional/trait mindfulness. In a RCT of MBRP among a heterogenous sample of individuals with various substance use disorders, increases in dispositional mindfulness facets like acceptance, awareness, and nonjudgment significantly mediated the effect of MBRP on decreasing craving following treatment [39]. Similarly, in a large cluster RCT of MORE versus CBT or TAU, increases in dispositional mindfulness significantly mediated the effect of MORE on reducing craving following treatment [40].

  • Though findings from the basic science of addiction have yielded novel treatment targets that may inform the development of promising pharmacotherapies, the behavioral treatment development process often lags behind the ever-accelerating pace of mechanistic discovery.
  • You can also call prospective treatment centers to ask about art therapy and other holistic treatments they offer.
  • Finally, we highlight the relationship between the use of EBPs and implementation of art and music therapies in the treatment center.
  • Data from the study revealed that dancing and moving along with music decreased feelings such as guilt, fear, blame, and regret and increased feelings of joy and happiness.
  • ECHO Recovery is a nonprofit foundation and education organization intended to provide tools and resources to those struggling with SUD.
  • In pharmacological research, it is imperative to examine dose–response relationships to identify the optimal therapeutic dose.

Finally, dynamic effects of mindfulness practice on addictive responses are unknown, and could be elucidated through functional neuroimaging techniques with high temporal resolution like electroencephalography (EEG) or magnetoencephalography (MEG). For instance, does the acute state of mindfulness attenuate initial attentional orienting to drug cues? Or, does mindfulness facilitate attentional disengagement and recovery from drug cue-exposure? These questions can be answered by investigating how mindfulness training influences the time course of neural responses to drug cues. Through gaining awareness of substance use patterns, automaticity of use, and the extent to which they are self-medicating negative affect with substances, individuals can then use mindfulness skills to address their SUD symptoms.

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Unfortunately, many people believe art only serves to entertain, but this is patently untrue. In fact, studies have shown that art as a way to recover from SUD can be incredibly effective. For people with mental health issues and SUD, art can be a critical component of a recovery toolkit.

how meditation and art therapy helps addiction

When you are being mindful, you have an enhanced ability in terms of your self-awareness and capacity to reflect on your experience and daily life. For example, consider how the brain can only hold so much information, and it can be difficult to process it all internally. For many people, jotting down a note on paper can not only serve to help them remember the thoughts occurring at any given time, but they may also interpret them differently after viewing it on paper. The same concept applies to art; expressing what’s going on in your brain visually, whether via ink, paint, clay, or something else, allows you to show others your mental state and better understand these emotions yourself. Many people recovering from SUD are hesitant to work with others out of fear, but the end result of a group art project may be worth it. Taking part in a group project at a treatment center, peer group, or even an informal get-together not only helps you express your own personal feelings but allows you to connect with others in a similar manner.

Group Art Project

If a patient suffers from alcoholism and depression, the therapist can be present to notice any patterns and inform the participant of observations. The benefits of art therapy include restoring someone’s identity by strengthening one’s self-esteem. Because patients are working through painful emotions in a constructive manner, they can feel proud of being creative through challenging times. Furthermore, as someone works to bring emotions to the surface, they feel safe being expressive and feeling understood.

The number of studies on art therapy treatment and SUDs remain relatively small, however, so scholars need more evidence to determine the therapy’s effectiveness. Scholars believe that art therapy may be effective because the act of creating art strengthens neurological connections in the brain. Another pioneer in the field of art therapy was Margaret Naumberg, the founder of the Walden School in New York. Often called the mother of art therapy, she promoted the approach in the United States. She said that children were healthier and developed better when taught to express themselves creatively.

Example: Art Therapy in Addiction

Some choose to categorize art therapists with other types of therapists, while others require licensing standards for art therapists. Generally, an art therapist is required to have a master’s degree at minimum in order to practice. As with other forms of therapy, a new client can expect to spend some time getting to know their therapist at the first session. This session also allows the therapist to get to know their client and assess their therapeutic needs. Psychologist and artist Hanna Yaxa Kwiatkowska was also an important figure in art therapy.

  • It allows people to open up about their feelings by giving them the freedom to express themselves with no constraints.
  • Recovery lasts a lifetime, and it can thus be a lengthy journey, but it’s a journey worth taking.
  • However, if she notices she is feeling overwhelmed with craving, she could use mindfulness to disrupt the automatic urge to engage in substance use, and then mindfully respond by taking steps to decrease her risk (eg, leaving the party and calling a supportive friend).

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