Creativity and fight against addiction – Music therapy

09-16-2016 Posted in Addiction, Drug Addiction, Substance Abuse, therapy

Music has the power to transcend the soul to a different world. The tunes and rhythm not only soothe the mind, but also help in calming the nerves. Music can alter mood, relieve stress and energize body. It has also been found useful in healing pains and discomforts. Hence, music has always been considered one of the powerful therapeutic tools.

More recently, some in-depth studies have been conducted to understand the ability of music in treating severe conditions such as addiction. As a matter of fact, music has been a therapy for addicts ever since the 1970s.

Music is believed to be evocative in nature and hence associated with triggering the happy cells of the brain and inducing positivity and jolly mood. As per the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), in treating addicts with music therapy they are trained to get emotionally engaged and motivated with music and consider it as a source of recovery through lyrics and melody.

Understanding nuances of music therapy

Music therapy involves controlled use of music to treat addiction. The music therapists are trained and educated to select the course of therapy from various options, such as just listening to music, lyric analysis, relaxation training, songwriting or musical games.

Studies have found that music effects the release of dopamine in the brain, which rejuvenates the mood. As per the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, music produces GABA inhibitors which help in balancing the neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine. Therefore, music helps the brain in maintaining a balanced level of neurotransmitter, which further keeps check on the release of dopamine. Likewise, it helps the receptors to receive appropriate stimulation.

Different types of music for addiction treatment

The choice of music differs from person to person and it applies in case of addiction as well. Therefore, it is important for a music therapist to consider the addict’s choice and preference of the music while selecting the course of therapy for him. However, the therapist has to be careful with the choice of music as some types of it might trigger the addiction again. The below are some kinds of music therapies and their effects:

  • Blues: Studies have found this style of music helpful for patients in dealing with crisis, such as loss of relations due to drug abuse. Blue music tends to stimulate the cerebellum part of the brain, thereby restoring the motor function that was adversely affected by substance abuse.
  • Songwriting/lyric analysis: While this therapy helps a patient to express the pain and agony through lyrics and writing, it also motivates them to confront the reality. The therapy helps in inducing self-dependence and motivation in the patient to overcome his pain, grief and addiction by realizing the losses.
  • Drumming: As per studies, organized drumming (drum circles) has the ability to relax and enhance brain-wave synchronization. Therefore, the therapy helps a patient to vent out the emotional trauma and angst. As a result, the patient is able to relax and distance himself from addiction.

Medical intervention

It is important to note that music therapy is not given by any musician, guitarist or singer. The therapy is given by certified medical professionals who have a degree in music therapy and have met the standards set by AMTA. Therefore, it is important to have a thorough check about the certification of music therapist as inappropriate music can worsen the situation. For instance, an addict should not be exposed to music which he relates to seeking a high.

Music therapy is similar to art therapy, where the patient can express the suppressed emotions and anger through an art form and creativity. More information on art therapy for addiction treatment can be found here.

In music therapy also, music becomes a mode of communication and expression for addiction patients. If you or your loved one is grappling with drug addiction, it is important for you to seek medical help. You may contact the 24/7 Drug Addiction Helpline at 866-403-5607 or chat online with our certified experts who can give you information on various inpatient drug abuse treatment centers in the U.S.A. and provide you the best help for drug addiction.


Read the first article of the series: Creativity and fight against addiction – Art Therapy

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