How Adult Coloring Books Can Help in Addiction Recovery

There has been a major surge in the popularity of adult coloring books in last year. As a result, this really got us wondering about how they can be used as an effective tool during addiction recovery.

What is Art Therapy for Substance Abuse?

Art therapy is usually facilitated by an art therapist. They use the creative process and its resulting artwork to explore feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, and foster self-awareness. In addition, it also helps to manage behavior, develop social skills, and reduce anxiety.

Some researchers don’t really consider coloring a form of art therapy. In order for art therapy to work it’s magic you have to create something from scratch.

“I don’t consider the coloring books as art therapy,” Drena Fagen, an art therapist and instructor at New York University’s Steinhardt School told The Guardian. “I consider the coloring books therapeutic, which is not the same thing.”

It’s not the same thing, that much is true, but it doesn’t discount the effect that a few minutes of scribbling on paper can have on your recovery.

Can Adult Coloring Books Still Have Great Benefits?

Coloring books are a great way for people who may not consider themselves to be creative or artistic to utilize parts of their minds that otherwise don’t get exercised.

Dr. Stan Rodski, a neuropsychologist, says that coloring relaxes the mind in a similar way to that of meditation.

“The most amazing things occurred — we started seeing changes in heart rate, changes in brainwaves,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Another interesting view is from that of Dr. Joel Pearson, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia. He believes that concentrating on coloring in an image or picture may help replace negative thoughts with more pleasant ones.

“You have to look at the shape and size, you have to look at the edges, and you have to pick a color,” he told Nine MSN. “It should occupy the same parts of the brain that stops any anxiety-related mental imagery happening as well. Anything that helps you control your attention is going to help.”

So what’s the deal? Does it work or is it just a passing fad? As Drena Fagen said, it’s not a form of therapy but it is therapeutic, meaning that it can contribute to healing those who are recovering from drug abuse or alcohol addiction.

Have you tried an adult coloring book? What were the results like for you? Share with us in the comments below or via our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!