How Music Reduces ADHD, Anxiety and Depression, by Steve Benedetto





Music is a powerful force as you might already know.  If you don't know, ask yourself why you love certain songs. Is it because it puts you in a better mood? Or perhaps it’s because it reminds you of a special person or experience you’ve had in your life. Whatever the reason is, music has a way of uplifting a person’s mood, which is why so many songs are inspiring. Artists go out of their way to create music that connects with their listeners so they (artist and listener) can feel better for the three plus minutes the song lasts.

Because music has a powerful link to our emotions, the medical community has taken note.  They have researched its connections to treating several health problems and mind disturbances like ADHD, anxiety and depression. They’ve found that music therapy can greatly help people suffering from these illnesses and can help them overcome their challenges. One study by the researchers from the University of Utah Pain Research Center found that music was the key to successful pain control if the patient was totally immersed in the music tracks, its melodies and its sound. Patients were given small pain shocks while listening to music, and those who were totally immersed in a song reported less pain. The same was true with those who had high levels of anxiety.

Initially, researchers believed that those who suffered from anxiety wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the music enough to block out the pain given the fact they were too anxious. However, they saw that their anxiety lessened and they, too, were able to handle pain better.  

But not all music can treat those suffering from anxiety.  Generally, it's soothing, calming and rhythmic music holding the benefits. In fact, many use these specific types of music as an effective tool to help with their depression. Listening to soothing tunes relaxes your mind and body, helping you relax altogether. This type of music can slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and even decrease the levels of your stress hormones. There is also evidence that music can increase a person suffering from depression responsiveness to various antidepressant medications, as well as putting them in a better overall mood. 

Playing an instrument is also great for those suffering from depression since it allows them to 'play their feelings' when they normally wouldn’t share. Some have found that sharing a music experience – either listening or playing an instrument – helped them feel more comfortable so that they could verbally discuss their feelings and problems with someone.

As a drummer and someone who suffered from all three of these challenges, I can tell you music is where it's at.  There are many benefits to drumming for your health which you don't necessarily find in another instrument.  

Music therapy has also been very successful for those with ADHD, especially children. This type of alternative treatment can help a child calm down and focus much better and the best part is that no musical talent is necessary! Music therapy was first developed back in 1944 by researchers at the University of Michigan and is an old way to heal those with an wide variety of problems. Since music decreases the amount of anxiety one has in their body, those with ADHD symptoms learn how to focus and concentrate more when listening to calming music. These sessions can be individualized to the patient’s needs and can either happen in a small group or one-on-one setting, allowing children with different levels of ADHD the opportunity to be creative and focused without having any talent. 

Although no particular genre of music is better than the other, studies have found classical music to be the most calming.

Music – whether playing it or listening to it – has many healing benefits, which is why many are exploring it to help them with their own challenges. So if traditional medicine isn’t working for you, it’s time to listen to that favorite Mp3 and tune in! 




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