The psychological community is in favor of using art therapy as a hands-on therapeutic technique. There are various forms of art. For those with substance use issues, woodworking is an underrated artistic medium that offers numerous social and psychological advantages. These are five advantages of woodworking that you might not have known about.
Drug use rapidly deteriorates cognitive abilities. Hallucinogenics, opioids, and depressants all cause concentration to drop. Users frequently discover that they have difficulty carrying out simple tasks. Although stimulants are occasionally considered an exception to this rule, they aren't actually an exception at all. People often misuse them in an attempt to sharpen their focus. The opposite result is produced with prolonged use. It gets harder to focus when under the influence of stimulants since the brain develops reliant on them.
It is possible to retrain the brain like a muscle. Concentration can be developed through woodworking. To avoid mishaps when using saws, drills, and sanders, you have to be extremely cautious. Even little measurement errors can cause a project to lag. You'll practice lengthening your attention span while you work on the wood pieces. You may train your mind by doing simple tasks like screwing in a piece of wood and recording its location. Gradually, your level of attention will return.
Normalizing Brain Chemistry
When addiction reaches its peak, your neurotransmitters malfunction. Alcohol and drugs take over the brain's reward system. Increased dopamine levels from substances overload the receptors, blocking the reuptake. To try to restore equilibrium, the mind blocks receptors. This makes the healing process more difficult.
Activities that involve carpentry can help the brain produce and receive endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. Your brain will release appropriate amounts of these neurochemicals when you exert your muscles and mental faculties in enjoyable activities. They lessen the symptoms of mental disease and control mood. Your brain will reopen receptors when it becomes aware of the changes in neurotransmitters over time. Joy will start to fill you up on a healthier level.
Enhancing Spacial Skills
People going through recovery from a substance use problem come across a lot of difficult situations. This is an essential component of healing. Many people relapse as a result of the emotions associated with stress. It's critical to approach issues rationally rather than irrationally. Objectivity and spatial skills are foundational abilities of logic. Fortunately, there are ways to teach these components throughout addiction therapy.
One technique to enhance spatial thinking is through woodworking. The association between spatial skills and carpentry was investigated in a 2014 study that was published in Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training. Researchers discovered that compared to the general population, those who construct things out of wood have better spatial understanding. Additionally, they discovered that during the kinetic learning process, improvements in the application and comprehension of spatial knowledge occur at statistically significant levels.
Chapter 3 of Learning to Think Spatially by the National Research Council explains how prevalent these skills are. It states:
"Spatial thinking is so deeply embedded in the activities of daily life and thought that it is difficult to disentangle and appreciate its role. We may not even realize its role, but it is fundamental to many taken-for-granted activities, underpinning their successful performance and sometimes accounting for their spectacular failure.”
Activating the Whole Brain
Although wooden things appear simple, their manufacture is a complex process. Working with wood requires a complicated brain system. It requires hand-eye coordination, creativity, arithmetic, logic, memory, spatial reasoning, and emotions. Your entire brain is working as you organize and carry out your project. The hemispheres of the brain's positive neural pathways get stronger. When negative brain circuits associated with substance use disorders are not used, they become less strong. Engaging in whole-brain activities promotes neuroplasticity in a way that helps those who struggle with addiction.
Many people with substance use disorders only socialize with other people who use or drink before receiving treatment. After a residential treatment program, going back into those relationships may promote relapses. Those who are committed to their recovery might find it helpful to cut off or separate themselves from these relationships. As an alternative, they can seek solace in brand-new friendships. Rather of using drugs, they ought to connect over common interests.
In woodshops, people in recovery can make new companions. Everyone shares workbenches and tools a lot. This encourages cooperation and cohabitation. A chance for socialization exists. The setting is helpful to those who have trouble reading social cues.
(Source: Spero Recovery Center)