We have all heard the term ‘art therapy,’ but are you aware that the creative process of being artistic is actually very beneficial to the human psyche? Art has a number of benefits to mental health, hand eye coordination, helping the right and left brain work together and releasing endorphins. The creative part of the brain is a major faculty that was intended to be used regularly, and the visual arts are particularly good for personal expression. In fact, art therapy is so effective that it is a regular part of treatment in many rehabilitation centers to help treat addiction and mental disorder.
People are affected by a vast range of mental disorders, some fleeting and some long term, but one particularly effective way of helping people through mental disorders is through visual art creation. When a person has become entrenched in negative thought or behavioral patterns that are unwinding their well-being, the creative process of making visual art using paints, pencils, collage clippings and other art materials has been found to relieve and even minimize these destructive patterns. Art creation is an effective means of treating mental disorder because it allows for free, uninhibited expression, it gives the artist something to be harmlessly in control of, it uses parts of the brain that are often under resourced which activate a number of creative problem solving abilities.
The condition of addiction can be dealt with similarly. Both addiction and mental disorder can be overpowering to people, and can feel like an entity of their own. Using art to address addiction or mental disorder and expel feelings about it can be an incredible tool for self expression and for venting about the burden of being affected. Creating visual art also channels past thought patterns because it connects the artist to their youth. This is useful in reconstructing the addict’s brain and helping them recall alternative ways of thinking.