01/14/19: Addiction Recovery \ Drug Addiction \ Relapse Prevention
When it comes to addiction recovery, there are forms of therapy that work really well for some people, and for others not so much. Because of this, people have started to create alternative forms of treatment/therapy. One of the most significant forms of recovery therapy to come out in the last few years is music therapy.
There is no denying the power music can have on a person. People use music for a variety of reasons. Music can make a person open up to their own feelings, come to new realizations, create inspiration, or provide energy boosts. With all of that in mind, it’s no surprise that music therapy has become a huge part in the world of addiction recovery and has shown some incredible results.
What is Music Therapy?
We know what music is, but what is music therapy? Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. It has been established as a reliable form of therapy in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.
In music therapy, people will typically address their strengths, weaknesses, and needs. Once these are assessed, a therapist will help the person by having them create music, sing, dance, or even just listen to music. Research has gone to show that music therapy does, in fact, have many benefits for people. Some benefits include, but are not limited to, physical rehabilitation, increased motivation, and emotional support.
Even as early as the 1800s, music has been used for its therapeutic properties. For a long time, music has been used for its healing abilities. This form of therapy has become excellent for those who have struggled with addiction. Why is this? Because music is something that uses the entire brain! Music keeps the mind active and allows it to fire off dopamine. The great thing about this is that it creates this high sense of euphoria, which an addict would otherwise seek out through drug abuse. Rather than getting an artificial sense of euphoria through drugs, these people can obtain the same feeling through more natural and healthy means.
Music Therapy vs. Addiction
Often times, people assume that addiction recovery can be achieved through medical treatment alone, but they would be wrong. Unfortunately, addiction recovery is an ongoing battle; you are constantly fighting off the desire to go back to substance abuse. Long term recovery means you are fighting the desire to quit, but the desire to quit is even stronger when you first start the journey to sobriety. Addiction is a very serious thing and it can’t be so easily tamed.
When a person first gives up substances, they will suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the severity of the addiction, symptoms can range from migraines all the way to sickness, nausea, irritation, stress, and other serious reactions. Music therapy acts as an outlet for a person to use to deal with these reactions and any other emotions they might feel. With music therapy, a person can learn to deal with these reactions and any other negative emotions they may feel after giving up their chemical dependency.
Another important part of music therapy is the practice of meditation. Meditation is a very calming therapy that helps people relax and do self-reflection. When meditation and music therapy are combined, it can create a safe environment for the person to free themselves of any desire, emotions, or any other negative feelings that may hinder their sobriety.
Not only is music a form of therapy, but it can also be an activity. One of the most important things a person trying to live in sobriety should know is that boredom is your enemy. Boredom, though it may sound harmless, can actually be devastating for a person who struggled with addiction. When a former addict becomes bored, they may resort to substance abuse again. Music therapy can be used to fight against this. Not only is it something to listen to, but it’s also something that you can make a hobby out of. Music is all about self-expression and this can truly benefit someone in recovery.
Benefits of Music Therapy:
Helps With Emotions
After someone starts the recovery process, they are bound to deal with withdrawal. Withdrawal can be extremely difficult, and even painful for someone to deal with. Withdrawal can bring about physical discomfort and extreme emotions (i.e. stress, anxiety, anger, irritation, etc.) Music can act as an outlet for these people to use to understand their feelings. This therapy can be more in touch with their true selves and break any negative feelings they are having.
Not only does music therapy help a person deal with their emotions, but it can also help a person achieve more self-awareness. A key part to sobriety is self-awareness, it’s the first step on the road to recovery. A person that has dealt with addiction is all too familiar with feelings like loneliness, hatred, and lack of understanding from others. Music can help a person do some personal assessments and truly understand the emotions that made them resort to substance abuse. When this happens, they can better understand themselves and find ways to fight off any desire they may have to slip back into addiction.
A huge issue that people in recovery deal with is stress. This is easily a former addict’s worst enemy. Not only is stress emotionally taxing, but it can easily make a former addict fall right back into substance abuse. If the former addict starts to feel extreme amounts of stress, they may want to go right back to the chemical refuge that helped them release stress. Music therapy seeks to fight these feelings. Music therapy is an outlet that is all about learning to cope with extreme emotions. Listening to, creating, and even dancing to music can help a person calm down or blow off some steam. People all over the recovery community have started to use this as their therapy and it has gone to show some incredible benefits. There is no denying the healing power that music has on a person.
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