Although counseling and detox are essential in overcoming addiction, music can be great adjunctive therapy. Yes, the same music that serves as a medium for relaxation and inspiration can also be used to heal and improve one’s physical, emotional, and health. The body’s ability to produce dopamine is heightened when we hear a song that we enjoy, which is not too far removed from the high associated with drugs or alcohol. In light of its success in improving physical and mental well-being, music therapy has now become an accepted part of drug recovery. Furthermore, studies have shown that music aids in increasing one’s desire to succeed in their recovery program. In this article, we will take a closer look at what music-based therapy entails and why it has been getting so much attention lately.
What Does Music-Based Therapy Entail?
If you’re not familiar with music therapy, it is a form of treatment that builds on the feelings that one ordinarily experiences when hearing great music and makes it not only healing but also transformative. However, to get the most out of music therapy, you should work with a qualified music therapist who can prescribe a course of treatment that best suits your needs and taste in music. As adjunctive therapy, music can help patients overcome emotional, physical, and cognitive problems that would otherwise impede their ability to overcome addiction. These benefits stem from the level of engagement that comes with music-based therapy in that it encourages patients to sing, dance, and tap into their creative side while listening to music. Unlike other forms of therapy, music-based therapy feels less clinical and allows patients to get the help that they need without feeling overly regimented.
Music-Based Therapy And Addiction
Because music induces dopamine, it is effective in relieving some of the pain commonly associated with withdrawal. To further illustrate this point, dopamine is the same reward neurotransmitter that is activated when an individual takes drugs or alcohol. While the sensation is not as great, music can still trigger a “feel good” sensation in the body. Beyond that, it is safe and can bring patients closer to achieving their goal, which is to free themselves from addiction. In addition to relieving pain, music-based therapy also helps to combat anxiety and depression that is normally associated with withdrawal. This is important when you consider that most patients struggling with addiction are simultaneously struggling with some form of mental illness. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 8 million Americans struggle with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.
Music-Based Therapy For Addiction
Although music-based therapy is effective, it is designed to work in conjunction with traditional treatments like detox and counseling, for example. That said, music-based therapy provides the following benefits:
- Encourages relaxation and reduces stress
- Alleviates anxiety
- Alleviates depression and encourages optimism
- Resolves boredom
- Improves concentration and focus
- Helps improve sleep
- Helps boost the body’s immune system
- Promotes self-expression
- Resolves feelings of loneliness
- Relieves headaches, muscle tension, and general pain
Who Is A Good Candidate For Music-Based Therapy?
When it comes to music, taste can vary from person to person; however, it is also great for anyone looking to overcome addiction or wants to improve their overall mood. Studies have shown that music-based therapy is also a viable addiction treatment for babies who were born addicted to opiates. Also, many patients have found music to be more effective than other forms of therapy like psychotherapy, for example. While music-based therapy is only now becoming more accepted, it is by no means a new concept. In fact, it has been around since the 1970s when recreational drug use was at its highest, but as more patients benefited from it, music-based therapy quickly became a standard part of addiction treatment.
What Type Of Music Is Best For Addiction Treatment?
When it comes to music-based therapy, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all approach.” Although patients may have a particular genre of music that they prefer, a music therapist will make suggestions relative to the type of music that will be most beneficial while in recovery. Music therapists understand the relationship between music and the physical system, which means they are extremely adept at helping patients select music that stimulates neurotransmitters in the brain and produces the best possible outcome. To accomplish this goal, therapists typically focus on five key areas including:
- Working with patients to promote a relaxed atmosphere through music
- Encouraging the patient to focus on lyrics and their meaning
- Encouraging patients to move freely as a means of creative expression
- Working with patients to create a musical playlist
It is important to note that music-based therapy can be accomplished through one on one therapy sessions or in a group setting. During these sessions, patients may even be encouraged to write their own songs as a way of expressing their feeling. Of course, patients are not expected to be musicians or professional songwriters as this an alternative to traditional therapy.
Also, patients who are irritable or suffer from anxiety or depression may find playing drums, for example, to be a great way to overcome feelings that may be weighing them down. For those who are trying to overcome drug or alcohol addiction, playing an instrument can be a great distraction from the cravings and desires that could potentially lead to relapse.
Whether you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or substance abuse, music-based therapy has something to offer just about everyone. If you’re ready to take the first step towards overcoming your mental health or substance abuse problem, consider working with a facility that offers this type of treatment.