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Music Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Guest Post by: Curtis Dean


Thank you to Curtis Dean and Sage Music for sharing this great information about the benefits of music therapy. Be sure to check out to learn more or sign up for music lessons! 

Music has always had a strong, intense relation to and interaction with the mind. People listen to different kinds of music to cope with a range of emotions and experiences. Music therapy has significant potential to impact an individual’s addiction recovery journey, often easing both mental and physical challenges. Let's see what music therapy actually is and how it contributes to recovery. 


Music therapists mostly use the process as cognitive therapy to treat issues related to the mind, so music is directly associated with the entire rehabilitation process. Usually, therapists design a customized music therapy program for each individual. Through this therapeutic process, the therapist attempts to fulfill the requirements of emotional support. The therapy can also help boost the client’s motivation level. Different kinds of music waves assist clients in building up confidence and managing different emotional states. 


Any addiction can cause intense pressure and stress. Many people in addiction recovery feel that their emotions are unpredictable; they may have racing thoughts and move quickly from one feeling to another, and this can sometimes lead to wanting to “escape” reality. Even during the recovery, clients are likely to build up defense mechanisms in order to continue the addiction. Denial, anger, isolation—these are all common feelings for someone in recovery. 

After a prolonged period of addiction, it becomes harder for someone to transition back to life without the addiction. Music therapy can handle these challenges in a safe, comfortable, and creative way. Individuals in recovery can unconsciously trains their minds to cope with the changes while undergoing a music therapy program. 


Physical recovery after quitting addiction may consist of various challenges. One such challenge that many people in recovery experience is “verbal numbness”: They might find it difficult to identify and express their feelings or communicate in a way that feels true. Music therapy has the potential to improve an individual’s emotional stability and recreate the “communication flow.” 

Many people in recovery also experience severe stress and anxiety, which, if not addressed, could lead to worsening physical health. The sound waves involved in music therapy can positively alter the individuals’ brain, helping to calm or eliminate this added tension. 

Trouble concentrating is another difficulty often reported by people recovering from an addiction. They may lose track of what they are reading or doing, or have a hard time staying focused in conversation. They might feel “fuzzy” or confused. Engaging regularly in music therapy may significantly improve concentration, helping people focus on the sounds and feel more clarity and stability.


Although music therapy programs differ according to each individual’s requirements, there are some basic activities that you will find in most music therapy programs:


Meditation itself is an effective way to restore control over the mind. When meditating along with music, the results may be even greater. 

Many therapists will recommend that their clients create a playlist of their own. Every individual's taste in music is different, so making your own motivational playlist can be incredibly powerful. 

The act of creation is also very important: Often, music therapies include programs that help people learn to play a new instrument, allowing them to create, explore, and be empowered by melodies that resonate with them.

Music therapy is another terrific tool to have in your recovery toolbox. It can add great comfort, hope, and creativity to your recovery journey.


For more information or to learn about music lessons, don't forget to visit!

To find additional support and recovery resources, check out our resources page here. If you are in recovery, you can become a member of the International Quit & Recovery Registry by registering here, where you can take our monthly assessments, earn rewards, and get support from other Recovery Heroes. We would love to have you as part of our community.


For questions or comments, contact us at! We look forward to hearing from you.

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