music therapy for addiction treatment

Music Therapy and Addiction Treatment

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Music is something that is often taken for granted but has the power to change a person’s life. It can directly affect a person’s emotions and memories. Listening to a happy song can lift someone’s spirit while a specific melody can invoke a feeling of despair. That is one of the most important healing powers of music: it reflects deeper emotions and allows people to express their true feelings. That is what has led to the development of music therapy. A growing number of researchers are piling up in support of the claim that music is a powerful component of addiction treatment.

What Is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is the practice of using the power of music over our mind in a constructive manner. Music therapy has shown significant progress in improving peoples’ lives, allowing them to cope better in certain situations and express themselves with a deeper resonance.

Music therapy involves the use of clinical and evidence-based treatments to achieve individual therapeutic goals. It allows people to use music as a mean to manage emotional, physical, and cognitive problems. Music therapy is not only limited to listening, as it also includes creation and re-creation of new and old music and writing lyrics, such as what happens in Rock to Recovery.

How Can Music Therapy Aid in the Treatment Of Addiction?

Music has been used as a healing aid for centuries and it has a positive impact on recovery and rehabilitation. In various studies, people who were exposed to music, during or after, painful medical procedures experienced less pain and anxiety.

Similarly, music therapy is used to help manage and confront drug and alcohol addiction. In fact, numerous studies have shown that reward-based neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, which is artificially stimulated by drugs, can also be produced by listening to and creating music.

Why Is Music Therapy Important in Rehab?

Many rehab centers claim that music therapy, along with proper counseling and psychotherapy, helps identify the causes behind the actual addiction. Music therapy also acts as a medium of self-expression, which was previously fulfilled through drug-addiction. Beyond that, music therapy helps in alleviating anxiety, tension, and pain. It also contributes to better relaxation and improved thought processes—allowing for better communication of ideas.

Music also allows creativity to flow freely, which offers hope and personal inspiration for many experiencing the treatment.

Who Conducts Music Therapy?

Music therapy is best performed under the supervision of a qualified music therapist, who knows best how to satisfy each individual’s needs. During the beginning of a music therapy session, the goal of the treatment is usually decided. A music therapist then guides the resident towards achieving those goals by stimulating appropriate emotional responses through music.

Many people have used music in their own style to bring joy and healing to their lives, while many famous musicians have used music to help themselves pull through difficult times.

It is essential to understand that not all music will be helpful in your recovery. Music has the power to stir strong emotions. Music related to past events, especially from the time you were addicted, can prove to be counter-productive. Music therapy holds a broad spectrum of ideas that you can try, such as, drumming, meditation with music, writing a song and much more.

One thing that is certain about music, is that its power cannot be ignored. It’s up to you to decide how to use its power.


If you or a loved one are looking for a quality drug and alcohol treatment center in California’s Central Valley that includes quality music therapy programming, First Steps Recovery might be the right fit for you. Please call today and talk to one of our addiction specialists to find out more about your first steps toward lasting recovery: 844-489-0836.


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