The Healing Benefits of Music Therapy in Addiction Recovery


Have you ever felt happy or relieved during an anxiety attack or when you had a bad day at work after listening to your favourite song? In layperson’s terms, that’s what is called music therapy. Solely a dynamic medium, music therapy can have endless benefits for your physical and mental well-being. Music can enhance your mood, aid in meditation, help foster communication, and reduce feelings of loneliness. While music therapy causes a similar high you get from drugs, it is less harmful to the mind and body and is actively used in addiction treatment. Even research says that music therapy and music-based interventions are increasingly used to treat substance use disorders. As a result, music therapy in addiction recovery is taking a more significant role in health and healing. How? Let’s have a look.

What is Music Therapy?

Also known as music-assisted therapy or MAT, music therapy is a form of expressive art therapy that uses evidence-based treatments to help people suffering from substance use disorders or addiction. Music therapy is a structured and scientific approach that helps patients overcome their physical, emotional, and cognitive problems. It also increases the motivation and engagement of a person in the treatment program. In addition, music therapy gives emotional support to the patients so they can express their feelings. Also, these sessions are managed by qualified music therapists who use music and other modalities to help people during addiction recovery. It includes various activities, such as listening and singing songs.

How Do Music Therapy Works in Addiction Treatment?

Remember that pleasurable feeling associated with music? It happens because dopamine, artificially stimulated by the use of drugs, can also be awakened naturally by music therapy. While music has been a healing tool for centuries, it also relieves pain. Patients who undergo music therapy experience less pain and anxiety than uncomfortable medical procedures. Music therapy can be applied in any formal intervention in addiction treatment programs, be it an intensive inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Music therapists tailor the effective treatment program according to an individual’s needs and use music therapeutically in many ways to:

  • Enhance mood
  • Handling cravings
  • Explore inner feelings
  • Develop coping strategies
  • Eliminate negative behaviours, such as guilt, shame, and anger
  • Decreases one’s denial about the addiction

Healing Benefits of Music Therapy in Addiction Recovery

The benefits of music therapy are apparent. For example, music has always been known to relieve stress and anxiety and ease pain. But there are still a few of them that you may have yet to expect. These benefits include:

Improved Memory

Regarding how music affects memory and attention, researchers have found that people who listen to music remember things more than those who sit in silence beforehand. For example, when we hear our favourite song, it brings a feeling of nostalgia or those positive memories that once made us feel good and happy. Hence, it has been concluded that music therapy increases arousal in both sides of the brain to create this effect.

Reduces Pain

People suffering from addiction or going through addiction recovery may experience pain. And it can show up as anything, such as bone or dental pain, headaches, muscle tightness, stomach ache, and more. Music therapy helps relieve this pain by easing muscle tension and lowering blood pressure. In addition, music therapy for addiction has been proven to be effective for cancer patients and people struggling with chronic pain. Also, listening to relaxing music helps people with anger management issues to reduce pain and stress when used as a distress tolerance skill.

Boosts Motivation

Music therapy is one of the best ways to motivate yourself. For example, fast-paced songs encourage you to get up in the morning or help you focus, while slow songs calm the mind and help you indulge in meditation exercises. Also, music is known to affect your mindset. Uplifting melodies and lyrics that resonate with your current life situation can dramatically shift the mood.

Relieves Stress

Music therapy in addiction recovery helps manage and treat the patient’s mental health when necessary. Listening to music releases dopamine, which positively affects the autonomic nervous system and causes changes in heart rate and breathing. Also, listening to music brings a person into a meditative state and helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression to find relief.

Promotes Emotional Wellness

For anyone who experiences anxiety, depression, despair, or low self-esteem, music therapy can be a breakthrough. Music therapy is known to comfort those with mental illness and make them feel more confident, relaxed, and emotionally healed. Additionally, music can help people who have experienced traumatic events relieve their stress.


Though the evidence may be limited on the benefits of music therapy in addiction recovery, it shows many health benefits, such as reducing stress, depression, and anxiety and promoting relaxation. Music therapy instantly uplifts the mood and eliminates negative emotions. Many other advantages of music therapy include providing a creative outlet, improving cognitive skills, and strengthening education. Also, music therapy may not be as effective in treating mental health conditions, but it can help people communicate their feelings and experiences. You can visit addiction treatment centres online to learn more about music therapy. Music therapy programs allow people to deal with mental illness and substance use disorders. Visit today!

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