Artists and Mental Disorders

mental disorder artistsIt is no secret that artists are commonly plagued by mental disorders. This is not because artists are broken people. It is because the creative mind is a fragile, delicate one. It has to be to achieve the level of sensitivity that being an artist requires. The difficulty in this is that the psyches of artists are so often wounded by negative life circumstances and their mental health struggles desperately. Artists who are struggling severely with a mental disorder should admit themselves to an anxiety and depression center. Some of the more common mental disorders that are associated with artists are described below.

  • Depression is one of our society’s most common mental disorders, and is also one of the most common among artists. Artists are very sensitive people who pick up on the emotions in the people and in the environment around them. They are more deeply aware of the sadness and tragedy in the world, as well as within themselves. This makes them highly prone to mental disorders like depression and leaves them requiring medication and counseling in order to cope with the world around them.
  • Anxiety is another mental disorder that is found in many households across North America. It entails feelings of dread and panic at the thought or the presence of what the individual is afraid of. This stressful disorder hits artists hard because artists have huge imaginations. These imaginations can be used for good, to conceive artistic projects and concepts, but they can also be used for bad, imagining in detail every bad thing that could come of any given situation.
  • ADD and ADHD are hyperactivity disorders that make a person think or act rampantly and impulsively without proper organization of the information. These types of disorders are common among artists, whose impulsive nature is a trademark of their personality. Artists are circular, free thinkers who reject structure on most levels, including within their own brains.

Recovery through Artistry

artistry mental health recoveryOne of the amazing things about the arts is, though it attracts personalities who struggle with addiction, the arts themselves are actually a remedy for addiction. Art creation is a known way of sorting out one’s thoughts on addiction in order to overcome it, which makes it a therapeutic tool, but art creation is also a source of pride for those who are skilled at it, which makes it a motivating tool. These are two major necessities to implement into one’s life when they are working to recover from addiction.

Art as therapy is a frequently utilized addiction recovery tool in the mental health industry. There are many ways that art therapy helps a person work through their addiction issues in order to overcome them. Art allows an addict total freedom and control over their art project, which is liberating after being ravaged by and subservient to their addiction for so long. Recovering addicts are free to express themselves however they want to, whether it is through drawing or painting, literal images or abstract ones. One commonality that has been observed throughout the art projects of addicts is that the art represents the addiction like an entity – a malicious, conscious force that is wreaking havoc on their lives. This does a lot to separate the addiction from their own identity.

Those who have a passion for visual art can reap another kind of reward from creating it: that of motivation. When addicted artists honor their talent enough to put aside their addiction and pursue it seriously, they have a strong motivation for seeing their recovery through. This is a form of believing in one’s self, which is always a nod towards good mental health. As an addict shifts their focus from indulging in their addiction to creating worthwhile, meaningful art, their mind, time and talent is occupied, which naturally transitions them away from their addictive tendencies. This has been found to be a very effective method of recovering from addiction.

Why Addiction is Linked to Artists

artist addictionArtists can be very passionate, driven people, but can also be the kind of person who is drawn into addictive tendencies. It has been observed that many artists, both well known and obscure, have historically struggled with addiction. There is a noted connection between the arts community and addictive tendencies. The reason for this is the profile of an addict and the profile of an artist have similar attributes. Addiction can be found in any part of society, but there are some particular similarities that can be drawn between an artist and an addict. Both addicts and artists are classified as impulsive, pleasure-seeking and intent people, and it is these comparable tracks of thought that often embody artistry and addictive tendencies within the same person.

Several common addictions that are found among artists are sex, drugs and alcohol. Because artists are very sensitive and very pleasure-seeking, these pleasure-inducing activities are frequently vices to their lives and their professions. Sex addiction is found in many different lifestyles, but for artists, this intimate and erotic act becomes an area of intent thought, focus and even artistic exploration. Drugs are very commonly addictive to artists because of their natural desire to expand their minds and bend their thought patterns. Drugs alter the perception and give the user an alternate way of experiencing reality, which is a readily available way of thinking outside the box. And alcohol is often the favorite remedy for negative emotions among artists. Many artists are so sensitive that they cannot sort through their overwhelming emotions, and instead drown them with alcohol.

However, the same personality facets that contribute to addictive tendencies also inspire artistic drive, making it up to the artist to choose wisely on how and where to focus their energy. Their appreciative nature, which can get them stuck on a pleasurable substance or activity, can also be what makes them appreciate the world of the spirit and of nature more. Their tendency to want to see the world from a different angle is the same quality that helps them create truly original art. And their highly emotive tendencies can help them empathize with their audience and make them connect to their work.

The Brain of an Artist

artist brainAnyone who has ever been friends with an artist can attest to the fact that they are unconventional people. They are commonly impulsive, unpredictable and extreme. The unique combination of mental faculties that enable them to create art also give them a largely unconventional lifestyle. The fact of the matter is, an artist needs these unique thought patterns and brain mechanisms in order to maintain their abilities as an artist, however, they can also cause artists problems. Artists are known for their reckless, unpredictable ways – a common bi-product to the functioning of an artist’s brain.

Creativity is the most obvious attribute of an artist’s personality. Their talent and vocation depends on their ability to be creative, so they need to exercise their creative imagination regularly. The downside to this personality trait is an extreme dislike for the confines of structure. A creative mind expects to be able to disseminate and recreate everything they are involved in, as well as reject authority figures.

Fluidity is another commonly observed aspect of an artist’s personality. When someone’s personality is fluid, it means they are likely to be ever changing and are highly unpredictable. Artists often possess this trait because they are fluid in their imaginations, entertaining a range of ideas and sampling different outlooks to see which one suits them. Negatively speaking, this trait can influence someone to be wishy-washy and generally unstable.

And lastly, artists are very passionate people. In a world that grossly undervalues its artists, passion is necessary in order to see to the creative process. Artists can attest to the fact that their work means everything to them, which is why one can frequently observe an artist working for countless hours on end. The drawback to this personality type is that artists can be overly emotional, about their work and about life in general. Artists are known for their extreme sensitivity and their tendency to make choices based on their emotions.