Music has been hailed by multiple scientific disciplines to have a therapeutic effect on various maladies. Its greatest effect is on the mind and the ability of music to influence the conditioning of the mind can be seen from various studies and trials done. In the US military, for instance, music therapy has been used with measurable success to treat soldiers with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as well as other mental and psychological issues they come back with from war. This experimental use of music may also be extended to treat drug addicts seeking to kick the habit and embark on the journey back to a drug-free life.
The effect of drugs on the psychological wellbeing and balance of users shows that drugs go further than just disrupting physiological bodily functions. Through dependency and addiction, habits form and these habits in turn bend the natural psychological nature of the individual. Music therapy may be employed in this case to help the person form different attitudes and biases towards a drug-free life and the sort of implications this would have.
Through the psychological effects of music, the patient can be helped to create what is known as object association, a trigger-like effect that warns them or dissuades them from a particular trend that leads them back to drugs. Using lyrics and beats, this may be employed powerfully to grow the patient’s awareness of themselves and the various decisions they make, two things that invariably get corrupted by drugs and drug addiction.
Drugs also stretch from intrinsic factors to extrinsic factors such as social associations and behaviors. When a drug user reaches the pinnacle of drug addiction, they tend to have a negative support structure that fosters and engenders this trend. These may be fellow drug users, drug peddlers, and negative peer pressure and so on. As long as this negative support structure is in place, then it is very difficult for the addict to begin and successfully proceed with a drug rehabilitation program or process. Music therapy in this case creates a sort of alternative support structure that comprises the various people involved in the program.
In addition, many drug addicts are pushed into drugs by a wide variety of things some of which include boredom, curiosity and stress. If they had an alternative way of dealing with these issues and others, then it would be easier to resist drug use. Music therapy, which involves the patients with music as both a hobby as well as a support system incorporating other recovering drug addicts and their counselors, makes it easier to engage in something that is wholesome and will keep their minds off the possibility of returning to drugs. This is of course in addition to bringing along new friends and a richer life with it.
Music therapy can be used in many other ways to fight drug addiction. For instance, music can be used to create awareness and help those who are not yet into drugs to understand the dangers. Creating musical art also creates a new avenue that may raise resources and advance various initiatives to fight drugs and drug addiction. Understanding the power of music to influence and change the way people behave and socialize is the first step to harnessing the power of music to help drug addicts kick the habit. Despite there being so many other ways of combating drug addiction, the fact that the war has not yet been won means other more novel approaches should be tried to bring victory a bit closer.
Scott Ryan works for Morris Brothers Music Store, a store that helps you discover your inner music and the power of music to heal, motivate and inspire.