Music Assisted Therapy

If you are here, then are you are thinking about seeking help for you or your loved one’s problem with addiction. In fact, you might have already tried to get help in the past. Maybe the standard “cut and paste” method hasn’t helped you as much as you hoped. Don’t worry! Southern California Addiction Center is here for you.

Here at SCAC, we have multiple therapies so that each individual can find something that resonates with them, something that clicks with their unique personality and interest. It’s only natural that we would include music in our tool-kit. Music can change moods, create feelings, and bring back good memories. It can also help keep you sober.

What Is Music Therapy

While dancing around your living room and singing into your remote may help you feel better in the short-term, music therapy teaches you techniques for long-term benefits. Music Therapy uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. It can involve moving to music, creating music, writing lyrics, singing, and listening to music.

Simply listening to the radio is not musical therapy. A Certified Music Therapist uses specific music, musical instruments, and environments to help participants achieve the desired results. This guide uses music as a tool for communication, healing, and hope.

With a professional musical therapist, the everyday benefits of music can be transformed into a tool to help people with dementia, Parkinson’s disease, autism, chronic pain, anxiety, and other physical and mental illnesses.

Here are some of the ways that music affects your mental and physical state:

  • Releases Endorphins – Endorphins are feel-good hormones that are released by the brain and nervous system. They have many benefits.
    • Pain Relief
    • Anxiety Relief
    • Anti-Depressant
    • Feelings of Joy
    • Lower Stress Levels
  • Releases Enkephalins – Similar to endorphins, these chemicals help control stress responses in the body. They have a direct effect on the “flight or fight” response.
    • Reduces Heart Rate (in response to anxiety)
    • Relaxes Muscles
    • Stimulates Blood Flow
    • Stimulates Digestion
    • Slows and Deepens Breathing (in response to stress)
  • Improve Endurance and Stamina – Moving to music has many benefits. You don’t have to participate in ballroom dancing classes or go all out on a dance floor to get them either.
    • Retrains Muscles with Repetitive Movement
    • Increases Heart Rate
    • Increases Blood Flow
    • Increases Oxygen Flow
    • Strengthens Muscles
  • Improves Memory – I don’t think anyone needs to see any study to know that it is easier to remember the words to a song than the Articles of the Constitution.
    • Activates and Uses Different Areas of Brain
    • Connects Experiences for Greater Recall
    • Forms Neural Pathways
    • Lower Stress = Improved Memory Retention
    • Organized Rhythms = Better Concentration
  • Changes Brainwaves – Whether it is the rhythmical beating of drums, the right chord combination, or a tantalizing baseline, music changes your brainwaves. This can have many benefits for you.
    • Improves Mood
    • Improves Focus
    • Increases Ability to Learn
    • Improves Attention Span
    • Improves Quality of Sleep

How Is It Used to Treat Addiction

All that is great, but you may be asking yourself, “How does that help me with my addiction and my treatment process?” Music helps create a relaxed atmosphere that makes it easier to share and bond with therapists and fellow addicts in recovery. This process of opening up and sharing provides opportunities for you to get to the root of your issues and allows you to be receptive to the advice and direction that will help you stay clean.

Studies show that 40-60% of addicts will relapse at least once. Not only does music therapy help you during the inpatient process, but you will learn valuable techniques to help you stay sober when you are back in the “real world.”

Here are several techniques and the way that they can help you stay focused on recovery when stressful times hit:



  • Provides an alternate way to express yourself
  • Releases pent up emotions
  • Singing with others gives a sense of belonging
  • Releases feel-good hormones

Receptive Listening

  • Listen to music for deep relaxation and meditation
  • Share thoughts, feelings, and emotions with others
  • Journal thoughts, feelings, and emotions
  • Use music to bring about a positive mood


  • Improves muscle coordination
  • At higher levels, provides a cardio workout
  • A healthy outlet for frustration
  • Relieves stress and anxiety

Song Writing

With the help of a Certified Music Therapist, you can find a way to make these techniques work for you in the fight to keep you on the road of recovery.

Not only can it give you additional coping skills, but it can give you another way to change those all-important “people, places, things.” After inpatient treatment ends, addicts can find new relationships in the following:

  • Find a Drug-Free Drum Circle on meetup.com or drumcircles.net
  • Start helping out the band at a local church
  • Join open mic night at a café to share song lyrics
  • Volunteer to teach basic drumming skills to kids
  • Join your city choir

How SCAC Can Help

Here at SCAC, we use evidence-based research and best practices along with holistic therapy to assist patients and their families on the road to recovery. An integrated approach is the basis of our treatment program because there is no “one size fits all” program that helps individuals with individual needs. Our programs include individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, pharmacotherapy, dialectical and cognitive behavioral therapy, and many forms of art therapy.

One of these programs is Music Assistance Therapy (MAP). SCAC uses digital recording, therapeutic songwriting, drum therapy, and rhythm meditations to enhance the traditional care our patients receive. Complimentary programs like this one help to ensure our clients have the highest potential success rate at staying sober after the in-patient treatment ends.

What Now

Don’t wait! For long-term sobriety, many people who struggle with addiction need to find something that they are as passionate about as they are about using. Maybe Music Assistance Therapy is that unique angle that will give you the insight required for long-term sobriety.

The past has already shown you what struggles with substance abuse does to the user’s health and wellness, the user’s family and home life, and the user’s financial and employment situation. For a brighter future, change is needed. Reachh out to take the next steps for your recovery!


Contact us today!

If you or you’re loved one is in need of help with addiction, contact us today. Our team is standing by, ready and willing to talk about your problems, and help you find the best solution.

CALL 1-866-518-6176