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The Role of Music in Addiction Recovery

Music is something we experience on a daily basis. Whether it’s listening to the radio on the way to work or hearing a new song in the soundtrack of a movie. It’s no doubt that music is a pleasurable experience for most (if not all) of us, but did you know it also has therapeutic and psychological benefits for people in addiction recovery?

The Therapeutic Value of Music in Addiction Recovery

Music has been recognized as an effective form of therapy for a long time, according to the American Psychological Association. Researchers have also recently discovered that music improves the body’s immune system function, increases the amount of dopamine that is produced in the brain and reduces stress by decreasing the amount of cortisol your body produces. It has even been shown to be more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety before surgery.1

Additionally, musical interventions such as playing an instrument, listening to music, or discussing the lyrics of a song can provide healing for patients suffering from all sorts of medical conditions, addiction, or trauma.

Music therapy itself is a therapeutic tool that can help facilitate physical, emotional, cognitive, and social change and growth. When used to treat clients in addiction recovery, it provides a wealth of benefits, including:

  • Recognizing and accepting difficult emotions

  • Reducing stress and providing an outlet for relaxation

  • Promoting self-awareness

  • Improving self-esteem

  • Providing an outlet for self-expression

One study even found that music therapy is positively related to a willingness to participate in addiction treatment and is more motivating for clients to fully engage in their treatment.2

In addition to the physical benefits, music also provides a connection to one’s inner spirituality, which is another important aspect of addiction recovery. It has the same qualities of life: rhythm, tension, and release, and when people fully experience music, they also experience these qualities, which allows them to connect to their innermost feelings and heal from emotional scars, shame, and trauma.3

Psychological Benefits of Music

Not surprisingly, music also offers some psychological benefits that can be helpful to individuals who are enrolled in drug rehab or sober living programmes. Scientific research surrounding the effects of music on human behavior, health, and wellness has shown that music provides the following psychological benefits.4

  • It improves memory and cognitive performance.

  • It helps people manage pain.

  • It improves sleep quality.

  • It can improve motivation.

  • It reduces symptoms of depression and improves mood.

  • It boosts workout performance.

Using Music as a Recovery Tool

There are many different ways you can incorporate music into your own sober living experience as a recovery tool, such as taking a group music class, creating playlists to keep yourself motivated, or writing and/or performing your own original music.

Even after you move out of your sober living home, music can still continue to be an important part of your recovery process.






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