In daily life, we listen to music to relax, feel emotions, and share experiences with others.
In addiction treatment, therapists use these benefits as a powerful tool for exploring and healing underlying causes of addiction. Music may help the recovery process in various ways, including:
A Distraction From Stress
Addiction causes your brain to produce strong urges to seek a drug that is difficult to resist. It also interferes with your ability to control these urges.
Often these urges are associated with certain triggers. These may be environmental cues or certain thought patterns and feelings. Experiencing stress and other negative emotions are common triggers for drug-seeking behavior.
Music has the power to hold your attention and distract you from painful or unpleasant feelings. We often use music to distract us from stressful events in everyday life. It relaxes us and makes difficult moments more manageable. Clinical studies have found that music can also reduce feelings of pain and anxiety.
In addiction treatment, music may help you cope with stressful experiences that could otherwise cause you to use a drug. It can be a strategy for avoiding and dealing with the emotional triggers that underlie your drug use. This can be a valuable tool in the rehabilitation process and for maintaining abstinence in future years.
We process music in our brain’s auditory cortex, prefrontal cortex, and cerebellum, and it can evoke a huge range of emotions. Sometimes this emotional response is highly personal – a song might remind us of a former friend, experience, or lover.
Therapists use music to help you experience emotions, recall emotional events, and develop more flexible emotional reactions. It is a novel way to explore the underlying causes of your addiction and develop emotional, cognitive, and social skills to cope with difficult situations.
A Different Kind of Communication
When we have a conversation, we take it in turns to communicate. One person speaks while the other listens, and then we switch.
Music, on the other hand, allows us to communicate simultaneously. We use music to help us share the same experience at the same time. It can be a powerful tool for group cohesion and developing bonds between people.
Recovering from addiction involves healing your relationships with family members and others around you. It requires building strong networks of mutual support to guide you in your recovery journey. Developing genuine, open, and honest communication with others is fundamental to this process.