Art therapy for addiction recovery

The Healing Power of Music Therapy

Music is a powerful force in our society and has been a part of all cultures since the beginning of time. According to an article in the National Geographic, the oldest musical instrument found to date is a 40,000 years old flute made from vulture bone. To illustrate the power of music in a modern context, think about the music that accompanies movies. Imagine the sense of dread conjured up when you hear the music that accompanies the shark in the 1975 film Jaws: da dum, da dum, da dum da dum da dum. Two notes, repeated, growing in intensity and speed. The music speeds up as the shark swims closer. Composer John Williams later described the theme as “simple, insistent, and driving….unstoppable, like the attack of a shark.”

According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship [led] by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” Music therapy became a profession in the 1940s and has been used to treat substance abuse since the 1970s and has been shown to improve both physical and emotional well-being.

What Is Music Therapy?

An article published in 2016 on the National Alliance on Mental Illness website identified four major interventions used in music therapy:

  • Lyric analysis. This technique can be used to elicit response from the client on topics that may be too difficult to discuss. The client can talk about the lyrics, write different lyrics, and discuss how the lyrics may relate to their own experiences.
  • Improvisational music playing. In improvisational music playing, clients come together to play on simple instruments, particularly percussive instruments, and explore the connection between their feelings and the music that they created. This technique encourages emotional expression and socialization.
  • Active music listening. Active music listening is used to assist with mood regulation. The rhythmic and repetitive aspects of music helps to calm listeners and reduces impulsivity. Music can be used to alter mood, first by listening to music that matches the listener’s current mood, and then shifting to music that elicits a more positive or calm state.
  • Songwriting. Writing a song allows the client to express emotion in a safe way. Writing music also feeds a person’s sense of self-worth and can give a sense of pride when their piece is shared with other people.

Benefits of Music Therapy

Musical therapy produces many physical benefits, including lowered stress, improved sleep, lowered response to pain, and lower heart rate and blood pressure as well as reduced blood pressure. A major benefit is a reduction of stress. Musical therapy lowers the level of cortisol in the brain, a hormone that is released in response to a perceived threat. While a flood of cortisol can be life-saving in response to a physical threat, overexposure causes an increased risk of many health problems, including anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and memory and concentration impairment. 

Stress is also linked with an increased risk of substance abuse. A study conducted at McGill University demonstrated that music therapy improved the subject’s immune system, lowered their response to pain, and was more effective than prescription drugs in reducing anxiety before surgery. A study conducted at Beth Israel’s Center’s Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine found that music lowered heart rates of premature babies and improved their sleep.

Music therapy is a powerful tool for both eliciting emotional responses and regulating emotion. According to an article that appeared on the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ website, music therapy is helpful in treating many mental health conditions including substance abuse, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Music can also be used to help calm patients suffering from anxiety and or those who have difficulty regulating their emotional responses.

Music Therapy and Addiction Recovery

In a review of previous studies that appeared in the journal PLosOne that looked at the use of music therapy in treating substance use disorders, it showed that music therapy was particularly helpful in facilitating emotional expression, group interaction, skill development, and an improved quality of life. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy has provided another avenue for patients to explore the connection between their emotional state and addiction and can strengthen the connection between participants and create more cohesive therapy groups. A patient’s work with music, be it an improvisational jam session, a private lesson, singing, writing a song, or moving to music, can lead to a sense of accomplishment and enhanced self-esteem. Music therapy can provide motivation for people to stay in treatment and can be a great hobby for people as they embrace a sober lifestyle and are looking for meaningful activity to fill the time that they used to spend drinking or using.

The Power of Music

Almost all cultures throughout time have engaged in creating, listening to, and moving to music. Researchers at the University of Central Florida have found that music activates almost all of the brain, and causes the neurotransmitter dopamine to be released. Researchers are still investigating the impact of music on the brain—the why of why music therapy is so effective. While researchers grapple with these questions, the rest of us can just agree that music is a very powerful link to our emotions. After all, what would a movie be without a soundtrack?

Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol can affect your entire life. To fully recover from a substance use disorder, the needs of the whole person need to be considered. It isn’t enough to simply stop the addictive behavior, the alcohol or drug abuse; the underlying emotional issues that caused the individual to turn to alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism must be addressed. The power of music to heal is recognized by most cultures. Because of the power of music both in terms of eliciting emotional responses and stimulating the brain, music therapy is an excellent tool to use in your recovery journey. Music therapy is one of the many holistic treatment modalities that Enlightened Solutions uses in its individualized treatment plans. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction and are seeking treatment in a facility that treats the whole person, call Enlightened Solutions at (833) 801-5483.


The Healing Power of Music: The Multiple Ways That Music Can Aid in Recovery

Music therapy is a growing field in psychology. Music helps patients recover speech after suffering a stroke or reduces stress in situations dealing with chronic illness and disease. There are various styles of music, and specific types do particular things, such as help someone get through painful chemotherapy or physical rehab sessions or help guide meditation. Music therapy involves playing music yourself, having music played with you, or having music played for you. Luckily, technology makes it easy to access any music to adapt to any situation. When you are feeling stressed, listening to your favorite music and songs makes you feel better, and multiple studies support this positive association. 

Music’s Influence During Infancy

When a baby is born, they go to the hospital nursery, which can be a noisy and busy area, full of nurses and doctors. For a baby born prematurely, the noises in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) include ventilator beeps, IV infusion pumps, the moving of carts, murmurs of voices, and the hiss of the oxygen. Studies indicate that musical sounds such as lullabies may soothe these pre-term babies, which improves their sleeping and eating habits, and therefore improves their quality of life and positively impacts their medical outcome. Furthermore, research finds that infants remain calmer and for longer periods when they listen to music, rather than when they simply hear speaking. 

Music Has the Ability to Relax and Heal

Music can induce emotional responses that may relax, stimulate, and heal. It can even improve one’s quality of life and the results of medical interventions. Music is an effective form of therapy that provides an outlet for emotions. Studies endorse the exponential benefits of music on physical and mental health. For example, an analysis of 400 separate studies found that music reduces stress and improves the body’s immune system. The researchers also found that listening to music, as well as playing music, increases the body’s production of antibodies that attack viruses and boost the effectiveness of the immune system.

Furthermore, music reduces the levels of the primary stress hormone cortisol. Many researchers believe that music eases pain because listening to it releases the brain’s natural pain relievers, known as dopamine. Studies indicate that listening to music increases the brain’s levels of dopamine, which enhances mood, and therefore positively impacts the symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression.

Studies find that listening to music can reduce anxiety before procedures or surgeries which may be stress-inducing, such as knee or hip surgeries and routine colonoscopies. Those listening to music in operating rooms before procedures and during recovery following procedures report experiencing less discomfort and therefore require fewer painkillers. The positive results of music were stronger for patients who were able to choose their music. Furthermore, listening to music decreases the perception of pain, therefore reducing the amount of pain medication required. Music can also reduce nausea and vomiting among patients receiving chemotherapy and improve coordination, communication, and reduce agitation among dementia patients. Also, epileptic patients may reduce seizure activity through listening to relaxing music, since stress causes seizures to occur and music battles stress. Music also positively affects fibromyalgia patients, which is a chronic disorder that causes joint and muscle pain and fatigue. Studies find that listening to relaxing music that the patient chose themselves reduces pain and significantly increases functional mobility.

Music Can Help Restore Speech Abilities and Memory

A study found that stroke patients with communication problems after the stroke exhibited improved language ability after one month of neurologic music therapy. The ability to sing comes from the right side of the brain. Therefore, when someone suffers a traumatic brain injury or stroke to the left side of the brain, which is responsible for speech, they can work around the injury to the left side by singing their thoughts using the right side of the brain. Then, they work to drop the melody to regain their ability to speak gradually. Therefore, active engagement in listening to or playing music allows people to reconnect with the healthy parts of themselves, even while dealing with a debilitating or disease. 

Music is closely connected to memory recall. Next to smell, sound is one of the most connected senses to memory. We can all appreciate that certain songs trigger emotional responses, whether they be the first dance at our wedding or reminders of a loved one we have lost. Music is ingrained into our brains and our bodies and creates a deep connection within ourselves. A study published in the Journal of Memory and Cognition found that adults learning a foreign language can recall phrases more accurately when they sing them, suggesting that music may aid memory recall for adults in the early stages of dementia.

Dealing with a Substance Use Disorder and Looking to Enhance Your Quality of Life?

When dealing with a substance use disorder, it is imperative to engage in improving one’s life. Music promotes recovery by enhancing one’s quality of life. Researchers the world over continue to investigate the therapeutic potential of music and the results are promising. The benefits of music are omnipresent in the research and throughout the human population which confirms these benefits daily. Music may also help with recovery from substance use disorders, positively impacting stress, anxiety, and depression levels. If you or someone you know is dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call Enlightened Solutions today at 833-801-LIVE.

How Sound Therapy Works

How Sound Therapy Works

Sound therapy is rooted in the concept of energetic vibrations. To understand the power of sound therapy, consider this in the context of each person’s energetic field. This is the idea that each person has a circle of energy that extends beyond the solid matter of their own body. Since every person is surrounded by their own energetic field, it is understood that these fields, permeable matter, overlap with the fields of others. It is through this overlap that the interconnection of life can be explored.

Sound therapy is the exploration of how different frequencies of sound can influence the quality of a person’s energetic field. There is an optimal frequency state for each individual associated with their balanced state of physical, emotional and spiritual presence. This frequency may be different for different people. When a given person is out of balance in any one of these states, physical emotional or spiritual, the energetic field is also affected. Since there is an overlap between people, when one individual is out of balance, their energetic field may influence the field of those people with whom they come into contact. The frequency of sound is one method to calibrate your field to its optimal frequency. This application of sound therapy, and other practices, is sometimes referred to as ‘energy hygiene’.

When you begin your journey with sound therapy, remember that individuals function at different frequencies, so the different frequencies of sound my influence some people positively and some people negatively. It is advantageous to explore sounds when in a neutral state to discover which sounds are soothing. This discovery process from a neutral state allows one to identify which sounds will be most effective when a distressing incident occurs.

Making Sound Therapy Work For You

The process of identifying advantageous sounds to support an individual’s equilibrium reflects the journey that different individuals take in recovery to discover a higher power of their own understanding. While some people have a higher power that does not resonate with other people in recovery, the process of building a relationship with that power is replicable in spite of the difference in concepts. The same is true for the sound journey - surrender to the exploration of sound and discover which audible vibrations are soothing. Trust these sounds in your spiritual toolkit, even if they do not have the same impact for others.

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.

The Power Of Music Therapy

Music is a series of sounds put together in a composed way. Sound is energy and vibration. We hear sound and we emit sound. We can feel sound. Certain sounds can make us feel a certain way. Opera can bring a tear to the eye. Heavy metal can raise the heart rate and help express anger, frustration, and energy. For thousands of years, music has defined cultures, societies, and civilizations. Today, music is an integral part of life. What once had to be an attended concert or performance is now accessible with the touch of a finger. Music is literally at your fingertips all the time. We can hear it through the radio, through our digital devices, and our cars. When we need to hear that one song, get lost in the sound of an instrument, or listen to the words of powerful lyrics, music is there. We receive healing from music not just by listening to it but by making it as well.

Music therapy can include listening to music, singing, writing lyrics, playing instruments, attending shows, and dancing- anything having to do with interacting with music. During a music therapy session any kind of activity with music might be present, or many at once. However someone needs to find their expression through music is made possible in a music therapy session. Unlike art therapy which is primarily psychological, music therapy has an intensely physiological effect. Music gets the body moving, the blood moving, and the heart moving. How the heart beats in terms of heart rate has a working relationship with emotions. Music can simulate stress or relieve stress.

Making Music New

During treatment, there is an opportunity to redefine yourself musically. You can learn new kinds of music and dive into new worlds of genres, redefining what you thought you liked. You can also redefine music that once meant something to you but is dangerous today. Sometimes, old music which talks about drinking and using drugs, or the kind of music someone listened to while they were drinking and using drugs, can be triggering. Even in highly triggered states, music can help someone work through the challenge of cravings by using sound and lyrics to inspire strength, cope with difficult emotions, and release suppressed feelings.

Enlightened Solutions believes that there is healing power in the arts. Our unique program fuses together creative arts with holistic healing modalities in addition to traditional clinical treatment methods and therapies. For information on our programs, call us today at 833-801-5483.

Music Therapy and EDM: A Link for Treatment

Last year, the EDM (electronic dance music) industry reached a peak in industrial growth. The most recent numbers came from the 2014-2015 year which saw a drop in growth (12%). From 2013-2014, the electronic dance music industry grew an impressive 37%. In that time the number of EDM ‘festivals’ seemed to quadruple with local, small scale events happening regularly. Live music events account for the majority of the current value at nearly $7 billion.

Electronic Dance Music comes under a lot of scrutiny for its close affiliation with drugs. Psychedelics and psychoactives are renown for ‘enhancing’ the music experience. Drugs like psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and acid (LSD) are common. Most widely known is ecstasy or MDMA. MDMA is a psychoactive that primarily interacts with serotonin. Along with feelings of euphoria and the sensation of being connected or in love with the whole world come dangerous side effects. MDMA is not always pure. It can be cut with heroin, meth, crack, and other drugs. Overheating, dehydration, high blood pressure, and hypertension are the primary causes for overdose and death at EDM festivals each year. “Green amor” is a new drug being sold at EDM shows combining MDMA and crystal meth.

Death counts are startling at these shows. As recently as May, 5 people died at one EDM show in the Philippines, due to overdose and heart attack on MDMA and other drugs. July of 2014, the start of that year’s festival season, had an already reported 15 deaths.

Despite slowing growth, EDM has transformed into a global community. Now, neuroscience researchers are looking into what it is about EDM that makes the music itself addicting and how that could possibly help addicts in recovery.

Music Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Music therapy is an alternative modality used by treatment centers. Creative output plus the healing energy of sound equate to a unique application of expressive arts. Australian researchers are looking to study the neuroscience of the brain ‘on’ EDM.

Formulaically, EDM includes a build up and a ‘drop’. The researchers assign both of these parts with craving and pleasure, respectively. For most EDM fans, the music is highlighted by the drop in bass and melody. Researchers believe there is a connection between how the brain experiences craving and pleasure in the music as well as in mental disorders with cravings, such as addiction. Music is used as a therapeutic tool in emotional regulation for people with and without mental illnesses. Individualized music therapy programs could help reduce acute symptoms of craving, the researchers believe.

Enlightened solutions incorporates music therapy as part of a holistic treatment program. Seeking to heal mind, body, and spirit, enlightened solutions offers a bunch of hippie shit. To learn more and get your chakras assessed, call 833-801-5483.