How Music Therapy Helps For Addiction Recovery in Latin America?

By 06 April, 2023

Music is one of the most effective stress busters that take us away from the humdrum of the city. In fact, it is not easy to get rid of those little earworms of music that keep popping up in our heads. Whatever it is, music has been around us for centuries. But, have you ever thought that music could be used for physical and mental well-being, such as addiction treatment? Maybe not. However, music has been a part of effective addiction therapies for years. Music therapy in addiction uses evidence-based musical interventions to reduce tension, enhance well-being, distract patients from ill-fitting withdrawal symptoms, and open communication.

Even the American Music Therapy Association describes music therapy as the clinical use of medical interventions to accomplish individualised goals under the supervision of a credentialed professional with a degree in the music therapy program. Also, according to  research, nearly 2 million people received music therapy services in 2020. It will interest you to know that music therapy has been used in Latin America since the 1950s, especially in Argentina and Brazil. And now, almost 13 countries have music therapy, including Chile, Columbia, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. People of Latin America also formed a committee in 1993 to promote the exchange of ideas and thoughts regarding the development of music therapy.

But how does music therapy work, and what it entails? This article will explain everything about music therapy in addiction treatment, including what it is and how it works in addiction recovery.

What is Music Therapy?

An alternative addiction help therapy for substance abusers, music intervention, involves a patient’s physical, emotional, and cognitive development. In each session, the qualified music therapists help you create, dance, sing, or listen to music as an outlet for self-expression and emotion, ultimately managing complicated feelings and triggers for substance abuse. Music therapy also increases your motivation and engagement in the addiction therapies program using different techniques, such as:

  • Drumming
  • Improvising songs
  • Listening to music
  • Creating art with music
  • Dancing or moving to music
  • Playing instruments
  • Learning music-assisted relaxation techniques
  • Discussing emotional reactions that music triggers
  • Learning to play an instrument
  • Writing song lyrics
  • Writing choreography
  • Singing along to live or pre-recorded songs

Also, the American Music Therapy Association tend to achieve specific outcomes using music therapy, such as:

  • Enhanced interpersonal relationships
  • Increased verbalisation
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Increased motivation
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Improved perception and differentiation of feelings
  • Improved group cohesiveness
  • Decreased anxiety and agitation
  • Enhanced self-expression and self-awareness

Benefits of Music Therapy

The benefits of using music therapy in addiction recovery include the following:

  • Promotes better sleep
  • Provides a cure for boredom and restlessness
  • It helps alleviate depression and anxiety
  • It helps reduce stress and encourages relaxation
  • Encourages a meditative state
  • It may assist with concentration levels and focus
  • Enables foster communication in clients with trauma issues
  • Encourages optimism
  • It gives the body’s immune system a boost
  • Reduces feelings of isolation and low self-esteem by facilitating group sessions
  • Relieves muscle tension, including headaches, back pain, and neck pain

How Does Music Therapy Works in Addiction Recovery?

Music therapy in addiction doesn’t mean you have to sign up for a music streaming service, listen to music for 45 minutes straight, or put a sign of “Do not Disturb” while doing that. Though there is nothing wrong with that, and you will have a therapeutic experience, music therapy is much more than that. Whether it is substance use disorder, mental disability, or emotional well-being, music benefits all. Here are some of the ways music therapy helps clients:

Encouraging expression: Most people find it challenging to communicate their feelings to a third person or in group settings. It is because of the feelings of hesitation, self-doubt, and other stigma attached to addiction and mental illness. One of the biggest reasons for hiding the feeling is fear. Hence, music therapy in addiction helps reduce that fear, leading to improved verbal self-expression.

Improving physical and mental health: One of the reasons for the success of addiction therapies like music intervention is its ability to enhance an individual’s physical and psychological health. For example, music therapy reduces stress, fear, and anxiety and improves sleeping patterns, leading to overall well-being.

Encouraging creativity: Usually, people suffering from addiction put all their energies into their addictive behaviours, leaving their hobbies and interests behind. Music therapy is an outlet for creativity that allows patients to distract themselves through singing, dancing, creating art with music, and much more. This practice helps patients develop focus and attention while in treatment and also provides a long-term outlet even after leaving the rehab.

Developing self-confidence: Most people in addiction recovery lack self-confidence, which music therapy can successfully retain. Only by learning and playing musical instruments will the patients will build a high level of self-confidence that can help them face challenging situations and make positive changes in life.

Calming the Nerves: Going through recovery and rehab can be an overwhelming experience with so much to lose and so much to gain, especially in the first few days of a residential program. During this period, an individual may experience intense emotions, including anger, sadness, anxiety, and more. Therefore, music helps create a much-needed calming effect. Once the patients feel calm, relaxed, and composed, they often become more open to other addiction therapies.

Is Music Therapy Right For You?

Music therapy isn’t the cure for substance use disorder, but it can be combined with other addiction therapies to make the treatment program more comfortable for the patients. Hence, it is essential to note the types of therapy available at an addiction treatment centre. Once you arrive at the facility, the health professionals will assess your condition and tailor a treatment plan that may include music therapy. Also, you don’t have to be a master of playing a musical instrument or have a distinct passion for music. Music therapy in addiction will help you learn the art of self-expression, despite the severity of your condition. Contact an addiction help centre today to shed some light on the topic!

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