Music Therapy Addiction Treatment

Overcoming emotional, behavioural, and mental health issues can be a complex process that involves utilising various psychotherapies and holistic treatments. Music therapy is one such therapeutic treatment that can be used as part of treatment or therapy for many types of illnesses. If it is included in your treatment plan, you might be looking to find out more about what it is and how it could help you to get better.

What Is Music Therapy?

There is a strong connection between music and emotions. Because of this music therapy is a proven treatment option in a variety of conditions ranging from behavioural disorders to addiction and mental health problems. Music has the power to improve mood and relax and it can help you to become more self-aware.

Playing and or listening to music can improve mental wellbeing and can help you to communicate in a non-verbal manner. It is used to improve communication and facilitate positive behavioural changes.

Music is able to help you connect with others and yourself, and because it can stir memories, it is a powerful tool when used in the treatment of the aforementioned health conditions. As people of any age can respond positively to music, it is a great aid in improving self-confidence and self-esteem as well as cultivating awareness of others.

A common misconception in terms of music therapy is that a particular type of music must be listened to or played. This is not the case. All styles of music can be therapeutic; it just depends on the individual and his or her preferences as well as the need for treatment and the goals to be accomplished. However, all types of music can be effective in terms of encouraging behaviour change and improving quality of life.

How Does Music Therapy Work?

The idea behind music therapy is that it can help you express yourself without you having to speak. There is no need for you to have any musical experience to find this type of therapy beneficial though. You do not need to know how to play a musical instrument; you will not be taught how to play an instrument either. In some cases, you can simply sit back and listen to music, or you may be given the chance to write or sing a song.

Music therapy can take place either in a group setting or on a one-to-one basis with a counsellor or therapist. How the session goes will depend on the therapist and the way that he or she normally works. The needs of those taking part and the conditions being treated will also play a role in what will happen during the session.

In general, though, a music therapist will use music that he or she feels matches your mood and current condition. He or she will try to make sure that the melody and lyrics of a particular musical piece will complement your state of mind as this is far more likely to have a positive impact.

During music therapy, a range of techniques will be used. This could include listening to music, learning music-assisted breathing techniques, singing songs, playing instruments, writing or changing song lyrics, or dancing to music.

As we mentioned above, the use of music therapy can help to restore and maintain emotional, mental, and emotional health, but how exactly does it work? Scientists have discovered that music is processed in all areas of the brain and can stimulate certain areas of the brain that cannot be accessed in any other way.

Studies have shown that music can strengthen and enhance certain areas of the brain, which can then help improve cognitive skills, such as planning, reasoning and problem-solving. Music therapy is typically used for those who have trouble concentrating as it can help maintain attention.

With the ability to manipulate emotions, music therapy can help to change your mood. It can make you feel reflective, melancholy, or energetic, depending on the tempo of the music being played. It is therefore used to improve impulse control, social behaviour, and motivation in those suffering addictions and behavioural disorders.

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Understanding Music Therapy

Music therapy can be described as the clinical use of music to help treat a variety of spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health problems. As a therapy in the treatment of certain conditions, music can improve quality of life and help the individual being treated to accomplish specific goals.

You have probably already noticed the way that music can have an impact on your emotions. Certain songs might make you feel happy, while other songs could make you feel wistful or sad. Therapists know that music can be used to change a person’s mood and so they utilise this to great effect when treating some health problems.

Music has the ability to grab your attention, which is one of the main reasons it is commonly used when treating younger patients. It is also a great tool for enhancing learning – you are much more likely to remember the lyrics to a song than you are the words to a poem, for example. As music is a mnemonic device, it can easily be used to teach ideas and beliefs, which is especially beneficial when used in therapy. The structured form of a song, with its steady beat and organised phrases, helps with the learning process.

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of music therapy in the treatment of mental health problems, and as we touched upon briefly above, is the fact that music can evoke memories. Second only to smell in terms of stimulating memories, music can help uncover buried memories that may be the contributing cause of a variety of health problems, including addiction and compulsive disorders.

What Abuse/Addictions is Music Therapy Used to Treat?

  • Alcohol Addiction
  • Drug Addiction
  • Prescription Drug Addiction
  • Gaming Addiction
  • Gambling Addiction
  • Sex and Love Addiction
  • Internet Addiction
  • Food Addiction
  • Shopping Addiction

How Does Music Therapy Help in Addiction Recovery?

When used as part of a comprehensive programme of detox and rehabilitation, music therapy is a powerful tool when it comes to helping beat addiction. If music therapy is included in your programme of care, it can help you in several ways.

In the early days of recovery, you are likely to be feeling very emotional, and you might even be struggling with dramatic mood swings. Music therapy can help to regulate your moods and to relax you. This can help when feelings of anxiety and nervousness abound, which is common during drug and alcohol withdrawal.

Music therapy is also a useful tool in terms of preventing relapse. Since music can tap into your moods and emotions, it can be used when you are feeling stressed, lonely, or bored. These feelings are common relapse triggers, but music can help keep you on the right track.

Music therapy can additionally help in alleviating a range of withdrawal symptoms, and patients are often encouraged to listen to songs that they enjoy while withdrawing from drugs or alcohol. It can help lower blood pressure and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Moreover, because it has the power to improve mood and motivation, it can often be used to encourage people to continue with treatment and to look for the positives in life.

Since music can be used to induce sleep and relaxation, it is often utilised in promoting physical and mental wellbeing, making it an excellent tool in the treatment of addiction.

Music Therapy Techniques

There are many styles and types of music therapy that can be used to treat various conditions. Below are a few examples:

  • Guided Imagery and Music – Guided mental imagery is based on an approach developed by Helen Lindquist Bonny. It is used for patients who are experiencing psychological and physiological issues. If this technique is used, you will be asked to think of an image as a starting point for a discussion about issues that you are dealing with. Music will be used to help increase your awareness and to improve relaxation.
  • Neurologic Music Therapy – Neurologic music therapy is based on neuroscience and how music can influence how the brain works. This therapy works on the idea that music can manipulate certain areas of the brain and that it can affect positive changes.
  • Kodaly – Used to aid healing and to improve learning, Zoltan Kodaly developed the Kodaly technique. It has proven to be effective in improving concept formation, learning performance and perceptual function by using notation, movement sequence and rhythm.
  • Singing – During a music therapy session, you may be invited to sing along with your therapist. This technique is often used in a group setting to improve social skills.
  • Listening – Listening to music can help you to access memories and it can improve your attention and cognitive skills.
  • Composing/Song Writing – Songwriting is a wonderful way to express what you want to say, without having to speak about it directly. Many people find that composing or songwriting can help them to become more self-aware. It can also give them a greater understanding of their feelings and emotions.
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How Music Therapy Differs from Other Psychotherapies?

Music therapy is an expressive therapy as opposed to a talking therapy. It is beneficial for use in those who find it difficult to say what they want to say during direct counselling or therapy sessions. In contrast to traditional psychotherapy, music therapy looks to improve emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental wellbeing with a broad range of activities.

As music therapy can be used to treat a range of health problems in individuals of all ages, it is considered a fantastic complementary therapy that can be used alongside more traditional psychotherapies. While it is a useful tool for treating a range of health problems, it is not normally used as a standalone treatment.

Music therapy can be used to assess and enhance emotional, social, motor, and cognitive functioning. As such, it is a popular choice when used with those who find it difficult to express themselves verbally.

As well as being useful for treating psychological problems, music therapy is also useful in the treatment of some physical conditions such as cancer. Furthermore, because it helps to reduce stress levels and pain perception, it is commonly used for women in labour.

Co-Occurring Mental Disorders Music Therapy Treats Include:

  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Mood Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • Dementia
  • Autism
  • Personality Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorders
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Social Anxiety
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Other Supplemental Therapies

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Fitness Therapy
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Psychotherapy
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing
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