Have you ever felt a rush of pleasure when you hear your favorite song? Similar to the high you get from drugs but infinitely less harmful to your mind and body, music can have a powerful impact.
Music is a dynamic medium that many rely on daily for inspiration and relaxation. Knowing this, it comes as no surprise that music therapy is now taking a larger role in health and healing. While there are many benefits to using music therapy for physical and mental well-being, it also can be a useful tool in addiction treatment.
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is considered an alternative treatment that involves music to help a client manage physical, emotional, or cognitive problems. Sessions are managed by qualified music therapists who design treatments according to the needs of a group or individual. When someone attends music therapy, he or she may be involved in creating, moving to, singing with, or listening to music.
There is research that supports the idea that music therapy provides an effective means of increasing a person’s motivation and engagement in a treatment program. It also delivers an element of emotional support and gives participants an additional outlet for expressing feelings. Thus, music therapy is now increasingly used as part of an effective addiction treatment program.
How Music Therapy Works as an Addiction Treatment
Remember that rush of pleasure that is often associated with music? Studies show that the reward neurotransmitter called dopamine that gets artificially stimulated by drugs is also awakened naturally by music.
Not only has music been used for centuries to help with healing, but it also has some pain-relieving properties. Patients who were exposed to pleasurable music during and after uncomfortable medical procedures found that they experienced less pain and anxiety resulting from those procedures. There are many other benefits to using music as a therapy for substance abuse treatment.
The Benefits of Music Therapy in an Addiction Treatment Setting
While music therapy alone is not enough to overcome addiction, it can be an effective supplement to a comprehensive addiction treatment program. The benefits of using this alternative therapy program include:
- Helps reduce stress and encourage relaxation
- Helps alleviate depression and anxiety
- Encourages optimism, which is a feeling that can persist long after the end of a therapy session
- Provides a cure for boredom and restlessness
- Promotes self-awareness and self-expression
- Helps foster communication in clients with trauma issues
- May assist with concentration levels and focus
- Reduces muscle tension including headaches, back and neck pain
- Promotes better sleep
- Reduces feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem by bringing a group together
- Encourages a meditative state
- Gives the body’s immune system a boost, which helps with overall healing
Many people in recovery from addiction have made music therapy a part of their long-term recovery program. Learning to use this powerful tool with the help of an experienced music therapist is just one benefit that newly recovered addicts receive by participating in a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program.