Chemical Dependency in the Creative Arts

Chemical Dependency in the Creative Arts

Chemical dependency in the creative arts has been so common throughout history that the idea of the “addicted artist” has almost become a cliché. Some of that image has been caused by creative types who have become addicted to drugs and alcohol and have talked about it through their art or who have been subject to high-profile arrests and scandals. However, there are definitely certain aspects of the creative life that may increase the likelihood of becoming addicted.

Unique Addiction Risk Factors in the Creative Arts

While chemical dependency certainly affects millions of business people, tradesmen, homemakers and other “normal” people, the following addition risk factors are unique to creative types:

  • Creative types are more likely to push social boundaries.
  • Many famous actors, musicians, writers and visual artists throughout the ages have endorsed substance abuse as a means of enhancing creativity.
  • Thousands of full-time artists spend much of their time away from normal systems of accountability and emotional care.
  • Successful artists may have easy access to cash, as well as drugs and alcohol.
  • There may be a connection between creativity and depression, which can easily lead to self-medication through drug and alcohol abuse.

Pursuing a career in the creative arts can be a stressful, lonely and relatively self-centered life. Creatives are often also less willing to admit to their need for help and may fear public scrutiny if they were to seek treatment. These fears, excuses and justifications are common to all addicts, but creatives may feel that they are somehow unique in this. Some who have been ushered into a life of wealth and celebrity may feel entitled to their habits.

Depression and Creativity

One of the most common and powerful drivers of addiction is underlying emotional anxiety or distress. Recent mental health theories line up with ancient accounts in recognizing correlations between creativity and mental health challenges that can cause addiction. Bipolar disorder, major depression, attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia and other conditions seem to occur more frequently among individuals who can quickly process the unique or novel associations that drive things like acting, music, songwriting, visual arts and literature. The list of famous creatives who have struggled with emotional disorders is long indeed, including the following:

  • Aristotle
  • Elvis Presley
  • John Lennon
  • Pablo Picasso
  • River Phoenix
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Mozart
  • Ernest Hemingway

While not all emotionally disturbed artists become drug or alcohol addicts, many will. Recovery can be especially difficult, but innovative treatment programs around the country are implementing specialized treatment techniques.

Finding Addiction Recovery Help for Artists

If you are a creative person and are struggling with chemical dependency, please call our toll-free helpline right away. We are also available to provide answers, advice and encouragement to friends and family members of addicts who don’t even know that they need help yet. In fact, our counselors are standing by 24 hours a day and are ready to provide any of the following:

  • Confidential answers to questions about addiction symptoms
  • Confirmation of insurance coverage of treatment costs
  • Access to the best treatment programs with the highest rates of success
  • Exploration of treatment options and financial assistance for artists who do not have insurance

Don’t put off calling for one more day. Life is too precious to waste on addiction. Don’t believe the lie that you won’t be as creative if sober. There are many healthy and productive ways to treat emotional distress that don’t involve deadly chemicals. Call right now.