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The Importance of Self-Expression in Addiction Recovery

Many people believe that drug users are somehow more creative and expressive types of individuals. Creativity can be enhanced while on certain kinds of drugs, the opposite occurs when a drug addict is trying to get clean. The ups and downs consistent with drug use can limit self-expression and lead to multiple personal and relationship problems. That is why when a drug addict is in recovery that self-expression therapy becomes a valuable tool for recovering what has happened to the brain due to drug use.

How is Self-Expression Related to Addiction?

Self-expression is the ability to express one’s thoughts, feelings, and desires and then communicate these things in a healthy and useful way. Consequently, when someone has limited self-expression, it can take the form of the following:

  • Emotional outbursts
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Abusive behavior to self or others
  • Obsessive/Compulsive disorder
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions
  • Bewilderment

If somebody can not express themselves and they bottle up their feelings, then it takes a toll on the mind and the body.

Types of Self-Expression Therapy

When someone experiences the feelings or actions listed above, they will self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. When they are in an altered state, they are avoiding painful emotions and anxiety. They numb themselves to problems instead of dealing with them, and they create artificial emotional responses to situations instead of authentically dealing with situations. Self-expression therapy is an excellent tool to use in this scenario. Here are some of the self-expression therapies available:

  • Music Therapy

Music therapy is one of the most influential forms of self-expression therapies because most people love music. Just like drugs create a euphoric feeling, so can music when immersed in composing, playing instruments, or singing. Most people can relate to some form of music, and music therapy can be instrumental in helping people find their identity outside of drug use. Composing, performing, or even just listening to music sparks the creative process.  Music can open up the expressive part of the brain and help someone in recovery become more emphatic.

  • Art Therapy

Many addicts who are in recovery choose to do art therapy. When creating art, participants can choose to paint or create anything they desire on the blank slate of a canvas. They can decide to create a symbolic piece of art that represents their journey. Some types of art therapy include sculpture, painting murals, creating dolls, and road building.

Some people who choose this kind of self-expression were avid painters, but their drug use left that world behind. Creating art can tap into the creative part of the brain and allow them to express whatever is desired

  • Expressive Writing

One important aspect of self-expression can reflect on one’s thoughts and actions. Writing can help a recovering addict think about emotional states and bring more self-awareness. Keeping a journal of daily thoughts and emotions can bring about tremendous benefits because the person who is in recovery can look back on past moments and analyze thoughts and actions for better choices in the future.

  • Other Types

There are plenty of other types of self-expression therapies, but the point of most of them is to bring about emotional benefits in a recovering addict who has suppressed that part of the brain. The process that one goes through to create music, art, or writing is directly linked to the emotional state of the moment, and being creative can with the arts can flow over into one becoming a more efficient communicator within themselves and to other people.

Benefits of Inpatient Treatment

One of the best decisions an addict can take is to get help at an inpatient center. At an inpatient center, the addict is taken out of their toxic environment and placed in the hands of skilled individuals that will guide the addict toward recovery. A person who chooses inpatient treatment can expect numerous physical, emotional, and psychological benefits. They can also participate in self-expression therapies while getting the specific help that they need according to their addiction.

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