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How Music Therapy Could Be Instrumental in Your Recovery

When you research addiction treatments, you will quickly find that music is incorporated often into treatment programs. Many in recovery pick up music, and it is quickly becoming one of the best resources in preventing relapse. Read on to find out why music therapy could be a key component in rehabilitation.

Music therapy has been a popular form of relapse prevention throughout the world for many years. More recently, it has been used as a common form of treatment in the United States. Group therapy may use music for treatment by having patients participate in drum circles, discussing lyrics and sharing how they relate to issues they are facing in recovery, improvising on instruments and songwriting. On their own, many integrate music, like learning to play instruments, in their personal lives and even recording their own relaxation CDs.  Music therapy can be used for those who thrive in a focused study environment, as well as those prone to improvised self-expression.

Music therapy helps those in recovery because it stimulates the creative side of the brain, which essentially allows the brain to shift away from the effects of withdrawal; this, in turn,  aids in reducing depression and allowing patients to reach out through creative art and self-expression. It provides a healthy alternative to replace substance abuse.

Music – both listening to and playing an instrument – can be helpful for those going through recovery. Listening to music can affect your mood, improve concentration, invoke memories, eliminate stress and anxiety, and allows people to focus on positive thinking. When patients learn to play a musical instrument, they are being taught a skill. They are learning about music theory, as well as the logistics involved in playing and operating an instrument. In setting goals on an instrument, patients can see their abilities improve, giving them a sense of optimism and improving self-esteem.

Music is also a constructive way for those in recovery to spend their time. When addicts are using, much of their time is dedicated to substance abuse. After recovery, they are often faced with a lot of free time. This could be dangerous as boredom often leads to relapse. Music offers recovering addicts a useful and healthy way to spend their time.

It’s also a great way to reach out to others. Music can be used in rehabilitation to reach out to counselors, therapists, friends, family and others who are recovering. It can help express feelings that may be more difficult or complicated to express through other mediums.

While music therapy has not been proven to be an effective solution in overcoming addiction in and of itself, many rehabilitation facilities feel patients that have been exposed to music therapy have shown significant signs of improvement. It’s been observed that when music therapy is combined with counseling and therapy, it is helpful in identifying the reasons why someone turned towards substance abuse; rehabilitation facilities also claim the music therapy allows patients to better express themselves in a mental and emotional capacity.

And, while music therapy has not been proven to be effective in overcoming addiction alone, studies have shown music to be effective in pain reduction, verbalization skills, communication and reducing stress. Music therapy has also been successfully used in correctional facilities, mental health facilities, and schools. It has even been known to helped disaster victims overcome trauma.

Patients interested in adding music therapy to their treatment regimen may be recommended to a form of music therapy best suited to their goals. They should also realize no prior skills are necessary for patients to pursue this form of treatment;  endeavors will not be judged in any way.

Music is a great way for people in recovery to deal with their emotions and express themselves creatively. It is an effective way for them to spend their time and focus on their achievements and positivity. It can boost self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety. If you or a loved one is going through rehab and feel you may benefit from music therapy, do not hesitate to reach out to your counselors or therapists to ask about how music can be incorporated into your treatment program.  Find out how music therapy can be a beneficial step on the road to recovery.

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