How Music Therapy Helps in Addiction Recovery


Music Therapy Explained

Music therapy can be defined as the clinical and evidence-based use of music to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Music therapy involves using the power of music in a controlled way. The music therapist is trained to in how to use music effectively. They can use their knowledge to decide on the exact course of treatment that will work best for each client. When they first meet the client the goals of treatment will be established, and this will guide their efforts. The therapy may involve some type of music creation or it could be just listening.

Benefits of Music Therapy

There are a number of purported benefits for this type of therapy including:

  • It can help people reduce their stress levels. It encourages the relaxation response.
  • It may lower blood pressure and is being used to treat hypertension
  • Those individuals who are dealing depression can benefit from it as it lessens their symptoms.
  • Music may help to protect the heart.
  • It can help improve communication abilities for people with autism.
  • It can help people deal better with anxiety.
  • Music can create a meditative state in the listener. This is because when music has a strong beat brain waves will become stimulated and fall into sync.
  • Listening to music with a fast beat can improve concentration levels.
  • It can encourage a more optimistic state of mind. The individual will be able to benefit from this increased positivity even after they have stopped listening.
  • It can give the body’s immune system a boost. It, therefore, promotes healing and helps the body ward off illness.
  • It can be useful for reducing muscle tension.
  • It can help women cope better with the pain of labor.
  • Listening to music can help people who are suffering from chronic pain.
  • It reduces feelings of loneliness.
  • It can help people dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It is a good antidote to boredom.
  • Listening to music can even increase spirituality or used as a tool to help people progress along a spiritual path. There are even some people who use music as a means to achieve spiritual enlightenment.
  • It can work as an emotional release.
  • It can help people overcome an addiction and can be a useful tool in recovery.

Music Therapy and Addiction

Music therapy can be of great value to people who are attempting to overcome an addiction. It is unlikely to be enough on its own. However, it can be a useful supplement to other types of addiction treatment. The benefits of music therapy for people recovering from an addiction include:

  • When people first become sober they are likely to experience a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Creating music may help people purge some of their more destructive emotions.
  • A common reason why people relapse after a period of sobriety is that they feel unable to manage their stress levels. Listening to or creating music can be a wonderful stress damper.
  • Boredom is another relapse trigger for those in early recovery. It is usually easy for people to put on some music and this can relieve their sense of boredom.
  • When people first become sober they can experience a bit of loneliness due to breaking away from their network of drinking or drug using friends. Music is good for helping people feel a bit less alone in the world.

Thamkrabok Rehab Temple and Music Therapy

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Thamkrabok is a Buddhist temple in Thailand that offers treatment to people who wish to recovery from an addiction. Music plays an important role at the temple because of its therapeutic powers. The monks of Thamkrabok even have their own recording studio. The former abbot of this temple believed that nature had its own music and that it was possible for those who listened carefully enough to hear it. The monks even have a method of transcribing cracks in the wall of natural stone into a musical composition. The UK musician Tim Arnold made a whole album this way.

Things to Consider with Music Therapy

If people hope to benefit from music therapy there are a number of things worth considering:

  • In order to get the most from this type of therapy, it is best to stick to a credentialed professional who has gone through an approved program.
  • It is not necessary for people to have any type of musical ability in order to benefit from this treatment. They may not even like music very much, to begin with.
  • Music therapy can be of benefit to people of all ages.
  • It is possible for the individual to create their own playlist of therapeutic music by adding those tracks that they find soothing. This may be less beneficial than a proper assessment by a music therapist, but it certainly can be helpful.

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