14 JULY 2022

Music therapy the key to emotional and cognitive control during recovery

Music Therapy and Drug Addiction

Music is very important to people regardless of if it’s happy days or difficult days. Music has the power to transform mood and to touch us on a deeper level when nothing else seems to get through. Listening to happy songs can lift your mood and others can have the opposite effect. It can be difficult to talk about emotions and share private moments, but music allows us to connect to people and events that resonate with us in privacy of our headphones. Music is even used in therapy and can help people process thoughts and emotions in a variety of difficult situations, including addiction rehabilitation.

Music therapy is the clinical use of music to accomplish goals, and in this case it would be the commitment to a sober lifestyle. Music in this setting helps us manage physical, emotional, and cognitive issues associated with addiction. Music therapy can be conducted by listening to music and also singing and dancing along to it. Some practices even have people writing lyrics or composing tunes.

Listening to music alone can feel wonderful, but music therapy is administered by a trained professional in a controlled setting. The therapist knows which music is effective in therapy, and can define the best course of treatment in that arena. The sessions start with determining the goal of therapy and a defined plan to help get you there.

When people who are battling addiction decide to pursue sobriety, the initial stages can take them through emotional turbulence that can express itself in destructive ways. Often this means relapsing due to high levels of stress and the inability to cope with it in a healthy way. Other triggers during this time include boredom, loneliness, depression, and fixation. Music and music therapy have the power to change the emotional landscape of this time.

Not all music is created equal, however. During this time it’s best to avoid music associated with drinking and using drugs. These songs can trigger memories of when you thought this lifestyle was pleasurable, which is called romancing the drink. Some day you may be able to enjoy this old music again without it pulling you in the wrong direction, but that is best left to a later time when you are further along in your sobriety and have reached a more stable level. In the beginning, it’s best to enjoy new music that covers others topics.