Music Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Music has a powerful effect on the human psyche and our moods. It can be employed as entertainment or as therapy.  Music therapy has been shown to help people manage a variety of conditions, including—and especially—addiction. It’s an expanding field in the realm of addiction recovery and deserves a closer look for anyone looking for effective and alternative treatment methods for addiction.

Music Therapy comes in many forms and helps to;

1) help reduce stress levels by encouraging the relaxation response

2) lower blood pressure and treat hypertension

3) lessen the symptoms of depression

4) provide cardiovascular benefit

5) help improve communication abilities for people with autism (or related disorders)

6) help people better cope with anxiety problems (life-skills)

7) aid with meditation

8) improve concentration levels

9) encourage a more optimistic state of mind. The individual will be able to benefit from this increased positivity even after they have stopped listening.

10) boost the body’s immune system

11) reducing muscle tension

12) help women cope better with the pain of labor.

13) help people who are suffering from chronic pain.

14) reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness

15) help lessen symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

16) relieve boredom

17) increase spirituality

18) provide emotional release


Music Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Music therapy isn’t as simple as letting patients hear their favorite songs; the music must be used in a controlled way. A music therapist is specially trained in using music to help a patient properly process emotions and work through blocks in treatment. The exact course of treatment—how the music will be used and why—is something that must be carefully decided. Each client is different and the way they respond to music will vary.  Different traumas and psychological states will require different methods of therapy. The therapy may or may not involve some type of music creation or performance.  Often it’s a listening endeavor that accompanies reflection, counseling, and actively processing the recovery process as the brain works to unlearn a dependency on substance for a healthy lifestyle.


The Power of Music

A lot of us take music for granted. We enjoy it, but we don’t realize just how large of an impact it has on our lives. Music can have a huge influence on emotions and mood–not just while we listen, but forever after. Happy songs can lift spirits; sad tunes can lead to despair; and for some people, it’s actually the opposite. What makes music so special is that it allows people to communicate their moods in a non-verbal or non-logical way.  It’s intuitive and flexible. Words can’t cover everything. It can be difficult to explain a mood; music can express it exactly.


Music and the Psyche

Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. It helps people better manage physical, emotional, or cognitive problems. The client is encouraged to interact with the music in different ways such as listening, singing, dancing, or writing their own tunes or discussing lyrics. It’s not randomly assigned; it plays off strengths and weaknesses with a focus on healing and the rebuilding of a strong core self, one that can process the traumas of the past that led to addiction and build a strong emotional and creative foundation for the path that lies ahead.  Sober living will require emotional fluency and a creative mind to overcome the triggers, cravings, and temptations that will cross one’s path, as well as to navigate the emotional turmoil of rebuilding a sober life.

Music can be a key to that ongoing, lifelong process.

For more information about transition services and aftercare programs for teens in recovery, contact Sustain Recovery today.