When people hear about music-based addiction therapy, they’re immediately compelled to ask numerous questions, not the least significant of which include “Does it really work?” and “How does it work?” The reality is that music has been a viable therapeutic resource for thousands of years. Whether it’s the repetitive beating of a drum or listening to your favorite songs on the radio, music truly does have charms to heal. It has also become a more commonly utilized supplemental therapy in the treatment of addiction and substance abuse, although recovery unplugged is the first to offer such a music-intense program. For those with questions about the practice and efficacy of music therapy, here are some facts that may surprise you:
- The United States Code lists music therapy as a disease prevention and health promotion service and as a supportive service
- The Joint Commission and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) recognize music therapists as qualified individuals who may provide services within accredited facilities
- Music therapy has been found to reduce muscle tension, improve self-image, decrease anxiety, increase verbalization, increase motivation
- Music therapy has been shown to have a significant effect on a patient’s perceived effectiveness of treatment, self-reports of pain reduction, relaxation, respiration rate, anxiety levels, and patient choice of anesthesia and amount of analgesic medication
- Music-based activities can represent a valid and without side effects intervention for reducing psychological and behavioral disturbances related to neurological disorders and also for promoting the functional recovery
It’s important to remember that no musical background is required to reap the full benefits of this proven and effective therapy. Music has universal healing benefits and is open to patients with varying levels of musical interest. When combined with other treatment mechanisms, like detox and withdrawal management, music-based addiction therapy can awaken the emotional strength and confidence we need to overcome addiction and sustain long-term recovery. It helps us access our internal voice and achieve a deep level of catharsis.