How Effective is Art Therapy for Addiction

How Effective is Art Therapy for Addiction

Art therapy is a form of treatment guided by a trained art therapist that uses creative techniques and different art mediums to help people with various problems.

People in art therapy are able to explore their emotions and express themselves through art in ways that they may struggle to do so by talking alone. Art therapy is traditionally used to help people with mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, but it can also be used for people with physical ailments or a substance abuse disorder.

How Effective Is Art Therapy for Addiction?

Many different systems and healthcare facilities have started to implement art therapy into their programming because research suggests that this type of therapy works. While overall the results are promising, the effectiveness of art therapy can vary depending on the specific population being treated.

For cancer patients, art therapy has been shown to help this population cope with their psychological symptoms as well as improve their overall quality of life.1 Similarly, patients who experienced a trauma in their life and participated in art therapy found the program to be beneficial with a longer intervention.2

Because mental health and substance abuse are often connected, many people have started to use art therapy when working with addiction patients. While painting a picture or drawing may seem like a silly way to overcome a drug or alcohol addiction during residential addiction treatment, it could be an effective means of helping you heal from addiction.

According to one study, 36.8% of addiction treatment programs offer art therapy for their patients.2  While research on the effectiveness of art therapy for substance abuse still needs to be done to get a more complete picture, art therapy is thought to have many benefits for substance use disorder patients. Patients in this population have been shown to help decrease denial, reduce opposition to treatment, decrease shame, and increase communication.2 While these benefits can help people in their recovery journey, it is important to note the effectiveness of art therapy for addiction improves when it is combined with a variety of other programming like traditional psychotherapy or group therapy sessions.

Because we believe that art can help some people heal, one of our many addiction therapy programs in Gilman we use to aid in our patient’s recovery process is our Art & Music Appreciation program. Here, patients can use these mediums to further explore their substance abuse problems and how their emotions may have contributed to these issues.

The people who find the greatest success in addiction recovery are those who are able to look at their addiction from every angle. At Banyan Heartland, we believe in a comprehensive approach to treatment that helps patients deal will all their problems in a variety of different ways.

If you are ready to begin your journey to recovery or have a loved one who needs help, reach out to us now at 888-280-4763.


  1. NCBI - Effectiveness of Art Therapy With Adult Clients in 2018—What Progress Has Been Made?
  2. NCBI - The Use of Art and Music Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment Programs
Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.