Can Music Improve Brain Functioning When It Comes to Addiction Recovery?


Music can connect cultures – allowing people to express themselves through instruments and lyrics. There is no doubt that music has an impact on people in general; after all, the music we listen to reinforces our perception of ourselves, others, and the world at large. How does music fit into addiction recovery? Music therapy has become a popular method of treatment in recovery centers because of its ability to help people overcome psychological barriers they held on themselves. Music can provide many benefits to those in addiction recovery:

  • People can channel their energy and whatever they are feeling into the music.
  • Music can motivate and encourage individuals to work hard in their recovery.
  • The type of music one listens to can help them better understand themselves and how they come to view life’s situations.
  • Listening to music can increase a person’s memory retention.
  • Positive and encouraging music can bring some people out of depressive states and can even guide them into hopeful ones.

Previous research has proven that music can enhance one’s social, affective, cognitive, and behavioral functioning. It can help a person reduce muscle tension and anxiety while promoting relaxation, verbalization, interpersonal relationships, and open communication. How exactly does cognitive functioning play into this?

Research from Stanford University stated that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing on sharper concentration and heightened alertness and slower beats promoting a more relaxed, meditative state. Another study found that the change in brainwaves can aid in the brain’s ability to shift states more easily if it’s needed, bringing many benefits to a person’s state of mind.

Along with a change of pattern in brainwaves comes a change in breathing and heart rate, which are directed by the autonomic nervous system. For example, listening to a relaxing or uplifting song while you are sad can help you feel better during and even after you’ve stopped listening to the song.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse treatment program. We believe in holistic recovery, meaning that we will work with you to restore your mind, body, and spirit. If you’re seeking a treatment center that focuses primarily on mental health, call our parent property, New Vista Behavioral Health, at 855-398-7959. If you’re seeking treatment for either substance abuse or dual diagnosis, call us at 888-743-0490. There are many people that can help you develop the tools you need to succeed.