Some people who go through or see a horrifying event, like war, abuse, sexual assault, or a death, fail to recover from the shock and develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The disturbing situation causes biological changes in the brain, which trigger certain behaviors. These include reliving the memory,isolating one’s self, and doing reckless activities.
To regain control, patients undergo certain types of psychotherapy that help them replace negative thought patterns (cognitive-behavioral or CBT) and become desensitized toward trauma-associated objects, people, and situations (exposure). They may also take antidepressant drugs (AD) to improve their mood.
Though these treatments are the most common ones, some studies question their effectiveness. One shows that the symptoms persist after sessions of CBT, while another says that AD has side effects that harm the patient. So, many psychiatrists turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for additional remedies, such as music therapy.
This form of CAM uses a combination of rhythmic sounds to help individuals cope with their mental health condition. To address their specific needs, therapists give them the appropriate type of intervention, which can be listening or dancing to music. A person may also be asked to sing, play an instrument, or make their own composition.
The Science Behind It
When a good beat plays, the person feels relaxed and more confident to perform positive actions like communicating and socializing with others. It’s because music activates the same networks in the brain that are in charge of emotion, language, attention, memory, and motor control. These include the amygdala, hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex.
Also, clinical scientists have discovered that the sounds heal neural injuries resulting from the disorder. They trigger the creation of new nerve cells (neurons) and strengthen the junctions between them (synapses).
How Music Therapy Benefits Individuals With PTSD
People with PTSD often feel irritable. Losing control over their anger, they do self-destructive activities, like driving too fast and overdrinking. But, with the help of music therapy, they can channel their emotions into safer outlets. A technique that trained practitioners use is drumming. They ask their clients to attend a group session, where they form a circle and play the instrument. A set of two or more participants is assigned to create a certain beat while another does a different one.This produces a complex pattern of rhythmic sounds that stabilizes the person’s mood.
Music as a CAM can also be combined with narrative therapy to help patients process their emotions by telling their experiences through a story. Using the art of sound as the medium, individuals with PTSD gain a better understanding of their trauma as they write the lyrics and compose the melody. As a result, they feel empowered to take control of their problems and their future.
Helping patients come into terms with their thoughts and feelings isjust one of the many benefits of music therapy. To learn more about them, head to the best PTSD treatment center.