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Music Soothes the Addicted Brain

Posted on :  January 6th, 2016  |  By :  towardsrecovery

When it comes to fighting addiction, there are several tools that the recovering addict can use for therapy.

Of course, methadone and talking therapy can help addicts on a basic level, but there are other tools that can help soothe discomfort and troubling emotions. One of the most surprising tools is music.

Music draws emotions to the surface, so addicts can use it to manage the emotions and trauma that comes with detoxing and withdrawal.

Therapists can use it during sessions to help recovering addicts understand what to do when those emotions surface outside of therapy. Even though scientists do not know exactly what music does to trigger emotions, they know that it does create physical and mental responses.

Scientists are busy trying to figure out how music affects the brain.

During brain scans, researchers are able to see different areas of the brain become excited and active when listening to music. The brain interprets the words in one area and then the sounds are broken down by several areas. The brain quickly processes it and then synthesizes the processes to affect the emotional centers. This all happens so quickly that people do not realize how complex the work is.

The human body can have positive and negative emotional reactions to music. Usually those responses are connected to prior experiences with similar sounds.

For example, scary movies use similar sounds to show that something bad is going to happen. That type of music then creates a negative emotional response in the human mind. But, when people hear songs like “Happy Birthday” they will have positive responses, especially if birthdays were traditionally positive experiences. When you watch movie previews, notice the type of music played, because the sounds used in previews are selected to create emotional responses in the viewers.

Due to the emotional nature of music, therapists are using it to help addicts with their recovery fights. In most cases, therapists will play certain songs during sessions so the therapist and patient can discuss the lyrics and the emotional response the sound and the lyrics bring.

Some therapists will ask their patients to move to the beat of the music. Others will ask their patients to actually write or perform music as a form of therapy.

The sounds from the music can help addicts manage their negative feelings. These emotions will arise during recovery, because fighting an addiction is difficult to do. Patients will want to give up and give in, especially when they are bored or someone talks about their drug of choice. Instead of giving in, addicts can listen to music to change their emotions and drown out the thoughts about getting high.

Music can also help people fight the depression and anxiety that can accompany the emotions connected to fighting an addiction.

Therapists need to choose music that will not make the addict want to go back to drugs, because there are several songs about drinking and getting high that have positive sounds and lyrics. It is also a good idea for therapists to help their patients build a playlist that does not include songs about depressing topics and lyrics. There are music therapists who are trained to help patients with this very thing.

The therapists at Towards Recovery Clinics can help patients with a wide variety of special techniques to fight addictions to heroin and other opioids.

We are dedicated to making the communities we serve healthy and free from addictions.

We encourage addicts, as well as their friends and family members to contact us for answers to questions. It is easy to reach our main office via telephone at 905-527-2042 or email at

Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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