The Benefits Of Music Therapy For Substance Abuse

The Benefits Of Music Therapy For Substance Abuse

Music is a universal language that can help calm down or regulate emotions. When it comes to addiction recovery, it can play a crucial role as a form of therapy. What are the benefits of music therapy in substance use disorder treatment? Read to know more.

There are many forms of therapies that can help people towards their journey in addiction recovery. Some of the well-known ones include cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, rational emotive behavior therapy, among many others. These are evidence-based programs which can help determine the root cause of substance use disorder and treat the problems from its roots.

However, one of the less-known yet potentially effective therapies involves not just consultations and conversations with people, but also music. Formally known as music therapy, it involves the clinical and evidence-based use of music by a professional within a specialized program. In this article, we will understand the benefits of music therapy in recovery.

What is music therapy?

Music therapy is not simply just a program that involves listening to relaxing sounds, ambiences, or music. As previously mentioned, it is a clinical and research-based program that involved the systematic use of music by a licensed professional to address problems with addiction.

What problems can be addressed through music therapy?

Like other types of research-based strategies, music therapy is multi-faceted and can help solve a variety of health-related problems. Some of the common uses of music therapy include:

  • Treatment for anxiety and depression
  • Addiction recovery
  • Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD)
  • Brain development for infants and toddlers
  • Treatment for Autism and other developmental disorders

There are may research studies that suggest how music can help in the overall well-being of people and has an effect in a patient’s cognitive, emotional, and physical concerns. Thus, it can help a diverse group of patients with varying physical, mental, or emotional issues.

How does music therapy work?

Initially, the patient is formally evaluated based on their demographic information, baseline clinical manifestations, and present needs. After this evaluation, the licensed music therapist will create a specific program which addresses the patient’s concerns. The ultimate goal of music therapy is a thorough addiction recovery. Some of the activities done in music therapy include:

  • Creating music
  • Listening to music, sounds, or ambience
  • Moving to music
  • Singing to music

Now that we have understood what this treatment is about, it is important to understand the benefits of music therapy for people who undergo substance use disorder problems.

What are the top benefits of music therapy in recovery?

Music naturally helps reduce stress.

Music profoundly affects the brain. According to evidence-based studies, music that has a frequency of 60 Hz naturally synchronizes with the alpha brain waves. The alpha brain waves are present when the brain is at a relaxed state. These types of music can also help induce sleep. It is recommended that a person needs to have 45 minutes of listening to 60 Hz of calming music to achieve the delta brainwave of 5 Hz, which indicates sleep.

If you are wondering what kinds of music are very relaxing for the brain, studies suggests genres such as Native American, Celtic, or Indian. Drums with regular beats as well as flutes can help in relaxation as well. Ambient sounds such as thunder, rain, or other nature sounds can be very relaxing along with various types of instrumental music. However, the patient undergoing music therapy can also ask for music that is particularly relaxing for them. They can choose to combine the ambient sounds or instrumentals, or can choose either of the two. The relaxation that comes from music can help improve focus and productivity for important tasks.

Music therapy is a non-medicative way of treating addiction problems.

Although there are programs that involve the use of medication to help in the initial stages of addiction recovery, there is a growing need for holistic or alternative treatments to help in the progress of patients. This one of the benefits of music therapy which is ideal for people who prefer natural alternatives.

Music therapy is one of these non-medicative-ways to help in addiction disorders. Since it does not involve the use of synthetic drugs, there are no known side effects with this type of treatment. Additionally, non-medicative strategies such as music therapy can also be easily accessible especially when home programs are endorsed by the licensed professional.

Music creation can also be a form of a productive hobby.

People in addiction recovery may find themselves having difficulties getting back on their normal lives before substance use because of idleness or a lack of productive hobbies. One of the benefits of music therapy is that patients can learn to play a new instrument, discover an interest in singing, listening, or music production.

The therapist is open to varying strategies that can be interesting for the patient, such as giving lessons to play the piano, guitar, or any other instrument of choice. Digitally, the patient can also combine sounds with beats and compose music on their own. This can be a form of a productive hobby which not only helps in removing time to think about the addictions, but also provides the music stimulation that the patient needs.

Music therapy also has physical benefits.

Many would think that music only provides emotional or psychological benefits. However, this is far from the truth–music even has benefits that can translate to physical health. In a recent study, there is compelling evidence that music helps in the production of immunoglobin. Immunoglobin is an antibody found in the mucous system which fights bacteria and germs in the body.

Not only is music a mood booster, but it can also help fight potential diseases as it stimulates the body’s immunity. Additionally, it also lowers the body’s cortisol level, which is related to stress and other physical ailments such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and stroke.

Music can help facilitate movement.

Physical activity is essential for people who are undergoing addiction recovery programs. Aside from having a healthy diet, people are recommended to have at least 20-30 minutes of physical activity a day. This, incorporated with music therapy can help make exercise more interesting for patients.

The licensed therapist may encourage movement along with the music therapy program to accomplish physical activity goals as well. One of the benefits of music therapy is its ability to blend in with other treatment programs. Music can be incorporated when patients are engaging in dance, sports, arts and crafts, and other recreational activities.

Listening to music can help provide emotional support.

Since music is related to elevating mood levels, they can also be a source of emotional support for patients. Some types of music can have lyrics which are relatable to what the patient may be going through now. In other instances, certain instrumental sounds can evoke a mood that helps them overcome instances of stress, anxiety, or temptation to relapse.

Either way, one of the benefits of music therapy is that it can be utilized to help patients cope with the roller coaster of emotions that happen during phases of addiction recovery. It may not be easy to deal with boredom, periods of high emotions, or stress caused by external factors–but it can be more manageable when people listen to music that they like. Some of the strategies that therapists incorporate in music therapy is listening to songs while journaling one’s thoughts. It can be a process which helps patients sort out their emotions.

Music therapy in recovery

For a person undergoing rehabilitation, the first step is to have a medical assessment of the severity of the addiction problem. Depending on the severity of addiction, the person may undergo a medically-assisted detox treatment which will be followed by programs which are ideal for one’s physical, mental, and environmental background.

Some programs can be recommended also through the preference of the patient. For example, majority of clients would want to have a religious treatment program such as the 12-step, or some would prefer to have evidence-based holistic treatment programs given by clinicians or mental health experts. Others would prefer to have socialization groups to for accountability reasons in addiction recovery.

One of the benefits of music therapy in addiction recovery is that it can easily blend well and is majorly non-conflicting with other therapy programs. Most professionals who practice treatment through music therapy would recommend incorporating them along with other programs whenever possible. Thus, it is ideal to apply the techniques learned in music therapy at home and in other natural settings.

Learn more about the benefits of music therapy

If you want to know more about the benefits of music therapy for addiction recovery, you can contact experts in Monarch Shores. Our rehabilitation center provides a myriad of treatment programs, whether in-patient or out-patient options custom-fit for each person in need of assistance.

Substance use disorder does not have to be permanent in you or your loved ones life. Do not hesitate to ask for help. Recovery may just be one step away.

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Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance use disorder, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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