Music Therapy and Addiction Treatment
Table of Contents
- Music Therapy and Addiction Treatment
- What is Music Therapy?
- Music Therapy History and Benefits
- Music Therapy as Meditation
- Freedom From Addiction: Found Here
- Medically Reviewed By
Have you ever met someone who doesn’t love music? Neither have I. Music is one of the most deeply rooted traditions throughout all of humankind and all of its history. It brings up deep, visceral emotions for us, it is a free form of music therapy whether we are dancing to it, singing along, or screaming it at the top of our lungs while we cry and drive down the road after a long hard day (or is that just me?)
There is no doubt about the power that music has over mankind. It stirs us, brings back memories, it allows us to release our aggression, or sadness, or joy, or grief. The power of music has been entwined with mankind for millennia. That being said, research has been performed on the benefits of music therapy and its power to aid in the recovery of people suffering from a variety of mental illnesses such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson, stroke, depression, and now, substance abuse.
Surprisingly, music and art therapy have been making a huge splash in the drug and alcohol treatment field. Many more progressive and holistic centers have turned towards this creative outlet that is meant to encourage communication and reduce anxiety.
Some centers even use animal and pet therapy as a way for those who are recovering to reduce stress and simply feel the nonjudgemental affection of an animal.
Music therapy works in addiction recovery through a therapist-developed treatment plan. This includes music-making practices along with counseling, psychotherapy, and other forms of evidence-based treatments, to ensure a well-rounded approach to recovery from addiction.
Keep reading to get the latest news on this effective form of therapy, as well as to find the top facilities nationwide if you are seeking a rehab that uses music therapy!
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What is Music Therapy?
By utilizing a wide variety of music-based interventions and therapy in a drug treatment setting, music therapy can effectively address the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of those people who suffer from substance abuse disorder as well as any co-occurring mental disorders.
Let’s Get Physical:
The early stages of detox can bring on a lot of unpleasant sensations in the body. Over time, we go through Post Acute Withdrawal which can have some effect on people’s hand-eye coordination, basic motor functioning, etc.
- Playing Music = Shaking that Butt = activating those motor functions and getting that body in line with the head… or out of line, depending on how you get down!
Similarly, a lot of us are going to take some work at digging back into our emotions, figuring out what they are, or even feeling them at all. Music is 100% guaranteed to be nostalgic, thought-provoking, anger-filling, tear-jerking, or joy-enveloping.
- Playing Music = Feeling Emotion = Talking about what it brings up for you in the group
Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
Again, it’s going to take some time to get our brain functioning back to 100% (if ever at all, am I right?) and music interacts in the brain so beautifully to help get those gears working.
Getting those brain functions jump-started early on in treatment can only bring about even more development, but be aware – since music brings up emotion, you WILL feel things you may not want to, but if you are in treatment, you are in the perfect setting to talk about those feelings 🙂
(that’s a Slipknot reference… best I could do here) If you have ever played an instrument, gone to a concert, or just enjoyed listening to music with others, you will understand the benefits of music therapy in a group setting. It gives us something to talk about, compare, debate, and appreciate with others.
So, long story short, there are a whole bunch of benefits to music therapy, especially in relation to substance abuse treatment. Not only does it help the person and the brain kickstart some awesome motor functioning, but it has a whole bunch of benefits to the overall frame of mind that a person can be in. It is therapeutic for everyone in so many different ways such as
- Increase natural relaxation response
- Incorporate healthy emotional and mood responses
- Alleviate boredom and isolation
- Works great in conjunction with other alternative programs such as exercise like yoga and art therapy like writing or drawing.
Music Therapy History and Benefits
While music has been a favorite art form, probably since man learned how to sing, it has also been an important tool in the development, growth, and flourishing of society. African tribes used drums to communicate messages over long distances, Native Americans use wind instruments to aid in their spiritual practices, and Asian and Greek cultures favored string instruments for festivities and celebrations.
Music therapy was coined in the 1970s and is considered an alternative treatment practice. Again, it is most often used in holistic treatment but has been shown to present very positive results, and there has even been a specific type of intervention method created around the use of music therapy.
Music is a form of creative self-expression and often allows the user to communicate in a non-conventional manner. Many recovering addicts and alcoholics are often filled with shame and guilt and have years of built-up blockages that prevent them from positively expressing themselves.
Music therapy helps users, especially through music that is nostalgic for them, identify and cope with any past emotional trauma, and process it with a therapist or group facilitator. It allows users to:
- Examine emotions and self-esteem.
- Enhance positivity.
- Empower themselves through success.
- Improve self-awareness.
- Increase attention and concentration.
- Build coping and problem-solving strategies.
- Enhance mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
- Improve interpersonal skills.
With all of the high-tech psychological methods and the endless supply of prescription medications that can be handed out to addicts and alcoholics, music therapy is an alternative that promotes health and growth on a spiritual, mental, and even physical plane.
What Different Ways Are Music and Sound Used in Rehabs?
There is a multitude of different ways that music therapy can be used in a group or an individual setting to open communication channels and create understanding. Some of these methods are:
- Listening to music
- Discussing music
- Actively making music
- Music centered games
- Analyzing and writing lyrics
- Improvising with lyrics or an instrument
- Drum circles
- Singing bowls or sound baths (gongs)
It can also be extremely effective too, while the patients listen to the music, allow them to draw or write, or color, and these have also been shown to be forms of meditation and positive introspection.
Music Therapy as Meditation
One of the most valuable but difficult obstacles for people overcoming addiction is the art of calming the mind. This is especially important because it allows a person to develop a self-created “way out” from stress and cravings, which reduces the prevalence of relapse.
Many people who struggle with addiction often find that music can be a safe release rather than a quick way out of drugs or alcohol. They say that music is a great communicator, people of all languages and mental states can appreciate it. It’s no wonder that societies have been using it as a tool for communication, ritual, and healing for thousands of years.
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Freedom From Addiction: Found Here
If you have found yourself or a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then Find Addiction Rehabs can help. We can give you the jump-start you need in order to experience the recovery you have always wanted through placement at top facilities across the country.
We refer to programs that are successful in that they don’t just treat the addiction but treat the whole person and the reasons that led to drinking and/or using. Give yourself the break you deserve, and start (or renew) your recovery with a confidential call today!
Deborah Tayloe is a freelance writer specializing in health and sciences. Deborah earned a B.S.Ed. in Secondary Education/English, accompanied by a Spanish minor. Her writing expertise allows her to craft engaging, impactful articles to help people be well.
In addition, she holds a fully accredited Certificate of Natural Medicine and is a certified Herbalist. Through her understanding of complementary medicine, Deborah helps medical professionals give people the information they need to embrace natural approaches to wellness.
When she’s not working, Deborah trains for 5K races and advocates for animal rights.