There are a number of disturbing and heart wrenching photos available that depict the hardships that addiction puts people through. It is devastating to see photos of people who have been robbed of their mental and physical health by addiction, yet one of the most effective visual representations of addiction is the art created by addicts themselves. There is actually quite a bit of addiction art available to view because addicts often turn to art to express themselves, rehab centers and treatment facilities frequently offer art therapy and simply because creative minds and addiction prone minds are often one in the same.
Art creation can be a hugely beneficial tool for addicts. Art creation is a cathartic process which harmlessly allows the addict complete control of their creative world. This gives them a tool for self expression and allows them to communicate what addiction is to them. There is no artistic talent required for this process, and addicts do not even need to communicate through recognizable images. They are free to simply express themselves through color, lines, collage items, abstract images and more. Psychologists and mental health specialists have discovered that art creation and coloring is an effective way of connecting a person to their inner child, which is very beneficial to the process of recovery from addiction.
When addicts depict addiction through their art, they seldom depict it as being a part of themselves. They typically create the addiction to be outside of themselves, a separate entity. This is a very important connection to make as it affirms their desire to separate from addiction. It also allows them to address it as its own evil and purge their feelings of betrayal toward it. These art creations are a positive reinforcement to recovery because they aid the addict in moving on from their addiction.
When an addiction first begins, the addict is not aware of how harmful the addiction will become to their lives. They are in a honeymoon phase with the object of their addiction, and are mindlessly happy to escape into it. However, all addictions lead to the same place of destruction. Whether it is a substance addiction, sex addiction or gambling addiction, it will pull your life out from under you while you it has you in a dream state. It will bring you to places of despair, ruin and hopelessness. Many people have been successful at recovering from addiction and these feelings of despair do not have to last. However, it is important to grasp the pain that addiction causes in order to avoid it, even if it means confronting the faces of severe addicts and seeing yourself in their eyes.
Desperation. One of the most notable emotions we see on the faces of addicts is desperation. Even if an addict is being belligerent or defiant, it is still plain to see the desire to change in their eyes, and the frustration of not knowing how. This desperation is very difficult for an addict to voice, or to even come to terms with. It is much easier to think of yourself as someone who lives on the wild side but is still in control than as someone who desperately needs help managing their addiction. But the truth is, there are many addicts who will die if they do not receive help.
Hopelessness. One of the the most painful tragedies of addiction is that people can reach a point where they truly believe there is no way out. They believe they are destined to serve their addiction until they die. Some are so ashamed of their perceived failure that they take their own lives. This kind of hopelessness is thick with despair, and can be seen in a person’s eyes who believes they are past help.
Addiction is not pretty to look at by any means. I am not referring to the out of control behavior or sticky situations that addicts get themselves into, although those things are unattractive as well. A person’s actual physical appearance changes when they are addicted, particularly to a substance. The more severe and extended the substance abuse is, the worse off the person’s appearance will end up. This is not a vain observation, but rather a general health concern. Permanent damage done to a person’s appearance is always an indication of bodily unhealthiness.
For example, we know that alcoholism destroys the liver and can be the cause of many different forms of disease. What is less known is that the bodily destruction that alcoholism causes can be seen on a person’s face as an indication of their failing health. Many alcoholics have a yellowed appearance and unhealthy skin tones. The texture of their skin is becoming visibly leathery, saggy and creased. Their teeth are stained by the repeated consumption of acidic alcohol and they have bags under their bloodshot eyes.
Drug addicts also leave a person with an unflattering physical appearance. Over use of street or prescription drugs has drastic effects on people’s weight, skin and features. Drugs that are depressants tend to pack pounds on people, while stimulants rob people of their weight. Drugs can change the hue of a person’s skin and eyes, dulling them out. There are a number of drugs that can cause sores and abrasions on the skin when used in excess, and drugs like crack cocaine rot the teeth until there is nothing left of them.
And lastly, smoking has one of the most recognizable deteriorated faces in our society. A smoker’s skin becomes hollow, sunken and gray. Lines appear on their faces and yellowing occurs on their teeth. Their breath usually carries an overwhelming scent of cigarette smoke, and their eyes are sunken and red.
Addiction is a destructive, degrading and dangerous disorder to possess. Though indulging in an addiction is always a choice for the addict, some people are highly prone to addiction and easily fall under its control. The easiest way to defeat addiction is to not let it begin in the first place. This blog is a collection and explanation of images that depict addiction, either literally or figuratively, for the purpose of educating the public on the dangers of addiction. People learn most effectively by seeing something with their own eyes, which is why confronting addiction visually may be the key to preventing it.
When someone is addicted to a substance to the point that they are chemically dependent on it, it has a negative impact on their physical appearance. This is because their body chemistry has a high level of toxicity due to amount of the addictive substance within their system. An addiction to alcohol, street drugs, prescription drugs, cigarettes or food will affect the appearance for the worst, and the worse the addiction, the more disfiguring the consequences are.
One of the most destructive things about addiction is what it does to a person mentally. Addiction debases a person and takes them through a downward spiral of their personal character. Addiction makes a person care more about the object of their addiction than they do all the things that should matter most to them, such as their family, their job and their personal health. By the time they realize what is happening to them, they often do not know how to get their lives back on their own. This causes great despair, hopelessness and sadness to the addict.
And lastly, some of the most powerful addiction images come from the artistic abilities of addicts themselves. To be able to see visually how addiction makes a person feel on the inside speaks volumes. The art of addicts reveals a world of personal torment that some people escape from and some people don’t.