Can Music Therapy Help You In Recovery?
Posted on 10/20/18: Addiction Recovery \ Addiction Treatment
Music has been around since the beginning of time and something that everyone incorporates into their lives. Since music is such an important part of most people’s lives, the addiction recovery community has come to discover its usefulness for those in recovery. Not all forms of therapy work well with certain individuals, this is why alternative treatment methods have been discovered. Music has the power to change your mood at any given point of time. You can listen to upbeat tracks while you exercise to boost your enthusiasm and you can listen to a slower track to help you relax or reflect. Music can also provide a rush, which can be similar to the ‘high’ people get when abusing substances. We use music as a dynamic medium for daily inspiration and relaxation. Knowing this, it is no surprise that the recovery community has come to adopt this form of therapy into their practices.
What is Music Therapy?
Most people connect with music some way, shape, or form, but they may not know what Music Therapy is. Music Therapy can be described as the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Music Therapy is a form of therapy in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. Patients will typically sing, dance, listen to, or even create music in this style of therapy. Music is a form of expression and it is meant to help patients better express themselves, which helps their journey in sobriety.
Music has always been used as a form of healing, reiterating it’s therapeutic properties. The reason why music is perfect for healing is because it is an activity that your entire brain, firing off dopamine which makes us feel euphoria. Addicts abuse substances to artificially obtain this sense of euphoria, but music can create a similar feeling in a much safer manner. Music therapy has quickly become a form of therapy many former addicts use to sustain their sobriety.
Music Therapy in Addiction
Many people think sobriety can be achieved through medical treatment alone, but they would be wrong. Some people have to use medical therapy and some alternative method to sustain their sobriety. Early stages of recovery are difficult and those who are going through them have to deal with stress, withdrawal, relapses, loneliness, depression, etc. Completely eliminating something you had a dependency on is no easy feat. By incorporating music/music therapy into the recovery process, a person can cope with the stress & negative emotions they are dealing with in early stages of recovery.
Music therapy also incorporates meditation, which, when combined together, can work wonders for someone in recovery. Not only does music help a person relax and get in touch with their feelings, but so does meditation. Music and meditation can help someone organize their thoughts, understand the root cause of their problems, and obtain patience. Regular meditation & music therapy truly helps those who are in the beginning stages of recovery.
Another issue someone in recovery may face is boredom and lack of hobbies, outside of their social substance usage. Music can serve as a productive hobby when feeling lonely and can lift a person’s mood at the same time. Moreover, it will also address their anxiety or depression and help them to stay in touch with their real self.
Music Therapy & Its Benefits
We’ve discussed some of Music Therapy’s benefits, but here are a few more:
Helps Someone Deal With Emotions:
Since someone in recovery is kicking old habits, they are bound to feel withdrawal and, with that, intense emotions. Music can help these people to break negative emotions/thoughts and deal with their true self. Music is an art form that helps individuals open up about their emotions, this is why you can see some people get excited or sad when they listen to certain songs.
As we just established, it is imperative for addicts to get in touch with their real self for long-term recovery. Self-expression and Self-awareness both are essential in the recovery process. Those in the beginning stages of recovery may experience intense emotions and have been known to hide those feelings. Former addicts suppress their true emotions when they engage in substance abuse, it is no surprise that they would have a hard expressing them right away. Music therapy can help these people truly open up and express themselves and get back in touch with the their true selves. When these people gain self-expression, self-awareness comes soon after, which helps them realize they don’t need substances to live their lives. Self-awareness can also help them deal with negative self-image ideas. Many addicts have feelings of hatred toward themselves for even being in the position they currently are in. It can be difficult to avoid this feeling when in recovery, but therapy like this can help make someone realize that even the fact that they are pursuing sobriety is a big step against their bad habits.
Reduces Stress & Increases Relaxation
Stress is easily an addict’s worst enemy. It’s safe to say anyone that has gone through, or is going through, recovery has experienced stress. In fact, it is one of the major reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place. Making a major change to your lifestyle can be stressful and can cause emotional turmoil in someone pursuing sobriety. Music therapy can be the perfect companion for these people to resolve the issues within themselves. Music can be the perfect outlet for former addicts to destress and relax. People in recovery have used this form of therapy to better help themselves on their journey. It is no secret that music has almost magical healing powers and it has become an ideal form of therapy for people in rehabilitation.
Content for Sober Living Arizona by Cohn Media, LLC. Passionate and creative writing and broadcasting, covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment and technology. Advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best. www.cohn.media
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