Learn more about what music therapy is and how it can potentially help you manage your ADHD symptoms.
What Is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves individual expression. It provides an artistic outlet that helps to alleviate certain symptoms, improve mood, and reduce stress. Usually, music therapy involves listening to music while engaging in a relaxing, creative activity. In some cases, people in music therapy actually compose their own music, play instruments, or sing.
Some of the potential benefits of music therapy include:
- Reduced muscle tension
- Lowered blood pressure
- Improved memory
- Increased motivation
- Improved mood
- Pain management
Does Music Therapy Work for ADHD?
Music therapy may help with a wide range of conditions, including ADHD. There are a number of specific ways in which music therapy can be effective for people with ADHD, including:
- Self-regulation: Music therapy can help people regulate their emotions in a thoughtful and intentional way. People in music therapy can also work on developing healthy coping skills to deal with their ADHD symptoms.
- Structure: Music has structure in the form of rhythms and repeating melodies. Having that structure can help make sense of things when your ADHD brain feels overwhelmed and distracted. It can also assist with time perception since songs have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
- Dopamine: Compared to neurotypical brains, ADHD brains have lower levels of dopamine. Listening to music can boost dopamine levels naturally, which helps with working memory, motivation, and attention
- Relaxation: Music can provide calming benefits for people with ADHD, especially when listening to peaceful and soothing songs.
- Motivation: Similarly, choosing songs which are upbeat and lively can help people with ADHD feel more motivated.
- Socialization: Group music therapy sessions can help people with ADHD develop social skills and may even provide a support system of individuals who face similar challenges.
While not all music therapy involves playing or composing music, these types of activities offer some unique benefits. When you learn an instrument, it helps to improve concentration. Children with ADHD have been found to show improved impulse control, working memory, and reading comprehension when learning to play an instrument.
What to Expect in a Music Therapy Session
Before you begin your first session, your music therapist will discuss any specific issues you are hoping to address. This may include your ADHD symptoms, emotional and physical health, social functioning, and cognitive skills.
No previous musical experience is required to participate in music therapy, but your music therapist may also ask you about your personal music preferences and your interest in learning an instrument or making music.
Participation in a music therapy session varies depending on the type of activity involved. You might listen to music and discuss the lyrics of songs. You might move to the music or sing along. Some sessions involve playing instruments, composing music, or writing lyrics. Your music therapy could involve individual sessions, group sessions, or a combination of the two.
Your music therapist will monitor your progress and get your feedback along the way. They'll also assess what types of results you're getting from therapy and make suggestions to help improve outcomes.
Keep in mind that while listening to music on your own can be therapeutic in its own way, it's not the same as music therapy. This is a particular type of evidence-based therapy that is backed by research, and a music therapist is trained in this specific field.
If you're looking for a qualified music therapist, consider looking for a member of the American Music Therapy Association. In addition, make sure the therapist you plan to see is accredited by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.
Holistic Treatment with Music Therapy
It's important to remember that music therapy is not designed to cure ADHD or completely eliminate ADHD behaviors. Instead, it is a useful tool for ADHD symptom management and can help with other comorbidities which may accompany the disorder, such as depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, or substance abuse disorder.
To get the best results from music therapy, you should have a holistic treatment plan in place for your ADHD. For many people with the disorder, this involves taking ADHD medications. Most people with ADHD who take stimulant medications find that they are effective at helping to manage their symptoms on a day-to-day basis.
Your healthcare provider can assist you in developing a well-rounded ADHD treatment plan to suit your needs. If you're looking for affordable, accessible, and convenient treatment for your ADHD, reach out to us at Done today.