When you think about treatment for substance use disorders, certain kinds of therapies come to mind. Talk therapy, support groups, and medications all play a vital part in helping someone who has decided to get sober. What some may not know is that music therapy for addiction can also provide a terrific impact on helping someone who wants to give up abusing drugs or alcohol. Music therapy can help ease withdrawal symptoms and provide an appropriate outlet for people to release the emotions that come along with getting sober. This includes listening to and creating music while guided by a trained therapist.
What Is Music Therapy?
The potential for music therapy first became noticeable in the U.S. after World War I and World War II. Musicians visited veterans receiving care in hospitals around the country and performed music for them. The medical staff of hospitals noticed many patients experienced improved health, both physical and mental, after being exposed to the music. This led to doctors and nurses requesting musicians be hired specifically to perform at hospitals. From there, college curriculums to train therapists in this form of therapy began.
Music therapy provides a clinical and evidence-based way to use music as part of therapy sessions. A board-certified music therapist conducts the sessions by beginning with a full assessment of the individual’s mental health, physical health, communication abilities, and goals for treatment. They design a plan for individual treatment, although music therapy can also be conducted in groups.
Music therapy can take place via several activities. These include:
- Listening to music
- Watching music performances
- Performing music by singing or playing an instrument
- Music improvisation
- Writing songs
- Moving or dancing to music
- Discussing lyrics, music, and imagery
As the person moves through their music therapy sessions, the therapist will monitor their progress and make any adjustments needed.
Where Do Music Therapists Work?
Music therapists can work in a variety of settings. These include one-on-one in an office and in medical clinics and hospitals. As well, they can practice in nursing homes, senior citizen centers, hospices, correctional facilities, and schools. They can also provide music therapy for addiction that helps people in recovery from substance use disorders. This can take place in drug rehabs, including residential treatment programs and outpatient programs.
Music therapy can also greatly benefit those seeking treatment for mental health disorders. This can take place in private practice, psychiatric hospitals, residential programs, and outpatient programs. It can help people dealing with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.
Who Can Music Therapy Help?
Music therapy offers a plethora of benefits to people receiving treatment for many different types of physical, mental, and emotional conditions. It can help adults with dementia feel fewer effects, help reduce pain, and improve motor function for people who have Parkinson’s disease. It can also assist in premature babies being able to increase weight gain and sleep better. Children with autism often respond to this type of therapy and learn better ways to communicate.
Music therapy can also help people in recovery from substance use disorders. In fact, many treatment programs now include this vital treatment option as part of their plan.
Benefits of Music Therapy For Addiction
Music therapy for addiction works to address issues specific to substance use disorders. Research shows that it can help increase a person’s motivation and self-esteem, both of which prove vital in overcoming addiction to drugs and alcohol. It can also help alleviate withdrawal symptoms, which helps a person stay focused on recovery and feel less of a temptation to relapse.
People who have been lost in their addictions often lose the ability to self-reflect and fully be aware of their thoughts and emotions. Music therapy helps a person to identify thoughts and emotions and learn how to handle them. From there, healthy coping skills can be developed, which reduce the chances a person will continue to use drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate.
The individual can also learn to communicate more effectively with others. This helps improve the talk therapy process, as well as relationships with family and friends. Music really is the universal language, and enjoying it with others can promote better relationships via a shared interest.
Many people who have a substance use disorder also deal with mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. Music therapy for addiction can help treat these illnesses at the same time. Benefits include reducing stress and anxiety and increasing feelings of joy.
The benefits not only take place during treatment but can last once a person graduates from a program. Many people leave music therapy with a new love for writing, performing, listening to, or discussing music. This skill can last a lifetime and bring a joyful new hobby to a person’s life.
Find Music Therapy For Addiction
Many approaches to overcoming substance use disorders are available, but some are more well-known than others. Holistic therapies help many people navigate through the initial days of getting sober, then go on to help them long after treatment has concluded. This holds true for music therapy when used to treat someone with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. That’s why Buckhead Behavioral Health in Atlanta now offers a music therapy group as part of our outpatient care.
If you would like more information about how music therapy for addiction can work for you, visit our admissions page now.