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Does Creativity Enable Addiction? New Ideas & the Road to Recovery

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The story is extremely common. A brilliant writer, musician, or painter claims to have their mind opened by drugs and become increasingly prolific. Or vice-versa and the already creative brain is drawn to the stasis, transformation, and escape drugs have to offer. It is evident that the creative mind and drugs have some sort of relationship. But why is this? How can we learn to avoid drug addiction while promoting creativity and broadening of the mind in recovery?

Neuroscientist David Linden from John Hopkins University told Scientific American that there isn’t a link between substance abuse and creativity, but that the chemicals like dopamine act as a “prerequisite” for creativity, by producing pleasure and reward of risk-taking, “novelty-seeking,” and compulsive behaviors. You can teach someone how to be creative, you cannot teach someone how to not be addicted to narcotics. You can show someone how to think outside the box, to question everything, and how to implement what you find, but you will not be able to instruct someone on how to survive an overdose.

So how can we use these in our attempts to free addicts of addiction at rehab centers and treatment facilities? The short answer is to promote creativity and other dopamine inducing behaviors after detox and as a part of the recovery process at any inpatient residential or clinical center.

Art, music, and books are often described as a form of therapy. And the arts should be introduced to inpatient recovery settings in new and innovative ways. Providing painting classes, writing workshops, and musical instruments at any Dual Diagnosis treatment facility will teach addicts to look for pleasure in more productive and fulfilling ways. Addicts, which are caused 40 percent by genetics, are people of extremes. As family members, friends, and rehabilitation specialists, we need to learn how to better direct the person in need toward the things that make life worth living, things that do not force you to flirt with the brink of death or insanity.

This can be done with mental illness that resulted in substance abuse, in attempts to circumvent depression and anxiety and use them to create meaningful works of art. Instead countless geniuses like Ernest Hemingway, Russian film director Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and Ray Charles, all struggled with addiction despite their prolific work. Many people would argue that drugs helped develop their creativity, but that is not always the case. Stephen King, author of countless horror and sci-fi stories has written some of his most critically acclaimed works after he stopped drinking.

Even if to some degree drug use opens the mind to increased creative endeavors it is not possible to be as hard-working or productive when the mind is wrapped around getting its next fix, whether it’s a prescribed sedative to treat mental illness or crack-cocaine.

If you are an artist, a musician, a writer, or any other creative type, there is surely a rehab center that caters to your needs. Please call Right Path to find out.

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