The Institute for Therapy through the Arts has worked at a residential drug rehabilitation facility on Chicago’s Southwest side since 2005. ITA therapists work on a special unit at this facility serving the dually diagnosed population: adults who must manage a mental illness while working to overcome their addiction. For the dually diagnosed or “double trouble” population, getting and using the help available to them can be a daunting process. So many of the clients seen by ITA staff at this rehab facility have expressed an understanding that their addiction is a fatal disease, and if they cannot remain sober they feel sure their addiction will claim their lives sooner or later. A staggering percentage of the dually diagnosed population fall victim to physical and/or sexual traumatization while in the home or the neighborhood, while acquiring drugs, or while incarcerated. For them, recovery from this trauma is just another part of the hard road that leads to sobriety.
The creative arts therapies can offer clients opportunities for self-expression through the safety of projective means, which can be important in the sometimes-overwhelming and always-ongoing process of recovery from addictions. Addiction is an emotional as well as a behavioral and a cognitive concern, and the creative arts therapies can simultaneously leverage the benefits of thinking, feeling and acting through created story, music, physical movement and/or visual image. Each creative arts modality can offer something unique providing the tools needed during the transition to a sober life. Clients can strategize the right coping skill to use in a given circumstance and test its efficacy, honing their relapse-prevention skills and building their strategic tool-boxes.
Definition of Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders:
From the DSM-5:
‘The substance-related disorders encompass 10 separate classes of drugs: alcohol; caffeine; cannabis; hallucinogens (with separate categories for phencyclidine [or similarly acting arylcyclohexylamines] and other hallucinogens); inhibits; opioids; sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics; stimulants (amphetamine-type substances, cocaine, and other stimulants); tobacco; and other (or unknown) substances. These 10 classes are not fully distinct. All drugs that are taken in excess have in common direct activation of the brain reward system, which is involved in the reinforcement of behaviors and the production of memories. They produce such an intense activation of the reward system that normal activities may be neglected. Instead of achieving reward system activation through adaptive behaviors, drugs of abuse directly activate the reward pathways. The pharmacological mechanisms by which each class of drugs produces reward are different, but the drugs typically activate the system and produce feelings of pleasure, often referred to as a “high.” Furthermore, individuals with lower levels of self-control, which may reflect impairments of brain inhibitory mechanisms, may be particularly predisposed to develop substance use disorders, suggesting that the roots of substance use disorders for some persons can be seen in behaviors long before the onset of actual substance use itself.’
American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders (481-585). Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013.
Disclaimer: Due to the nature of this post, this information is meant to be inform and not serve as a diagnosis for communication disorders. If you believe you or someone you know need help in regards to a communication disorder, please seek out a doctor or professional for a proper diagnosis.