Recent research has shown that the pleasure invoked by music causes a release of dopamine. This brain chemical is associated with feelings of euphoria that are similar to those feelings attained through drug ingestion or decadent food intake. At The Healing Way, we focus on the best possible strategies for complete recovery from addiction and we have a few reasons why music therapy is a viable treatment for an addicted individual.
Addiction in any form can have devastating results. Whether the addiction is related to drugs or whether it involves alcohol, the grip that it places on an individual can be crippling. The good news is that over the last few years, a variety of breakthroughs in addiction treatment have helped increase the likelihood of maintaining an addiction-free existence. Music therapy is one of these breakthroughs.
Music therapy has proven to have a positive effect on the neurotransmitters that are associated with addiction. This makes recovery easier to handle and it also elevates a person’s mood. These are important considerations in a successful addiction recovery plan. Humans are hardwired to music, making music therapy an excellent treatment strategy for anyone who is struggling with an addiction.
There are many ways to incorporate music therapy into a treatment plan. Individuals can listen to music, dance to music, and even create music. All of these have been proven to have positive results in a therapeutic setting. Of most importance is music’s ability to invoke a variety of gross and subtle emotional states without the use of any substance. Individuals can choose the kind of music that suits their particular tastes, making it a flexible option in treatment, as well.
A variety of neurotransmitters in the human brain affect the way we think and feel. These neurotransmitters even affect how we view the world and how we view ourselves. Some of these neurotransmitters include dopamine, gaba, glutamate, and beta-endorphins. Dopamine, in particular, is highly associated with addictive behavior. Ingesting drugs or alcohol releases a flood of dopamine which causes pleasure and reinforces the addiction. Over time, however, the excess dopamine causes the brain to become less sensitive to its effects.
The good news is that music can cause the same release of dopamine, yet in healthy levels. This is why music is such an effective alternative to the temporary satisfaction of an addiction. Music therapy also has other beneficial effects, such as the production of gaba-inhibitors which create balance and stability neurotransmitter levels. Music also reduces stress levels, lowers blood pressure, alleviates depression and improves concentration.