Music Therapy and Anxiety
Stress, according to The Cleveland Clinic, is “the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response”. It consists of “physical, mental, and emotional responses”. Stress in moderation is a natural emotion and affects all people of all ages.
Conversely, for the 3 million people in the U.S. alone who suffer from Anxiety Disorder, they “frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations”, according to the Mayo Clinic, which negatively impacts their quality of life
There are many types of Anxiety Disorder which range in seriousness, from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) which affects 6.8% of the population and includes an extreme fear of being judged or humiliated to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which affects 8.7% of the population and can result in depression and flashbacks of traumatic events.
Many people with anxiety disorders are never diagnosed and are forced to deal with this condition on their own. Others take a variety of medications which can often have adverse side effects. Music therapy, however, is an extremely effective method of treatment for those with anxiety disorder, and includes no side effects.
In a study done by the Heart & Lung Journal, findings showed that listening to relaxing music lowered the heart rates and blood pressures of ventilator-dependent patients. In another study conducted by the Karger Scientific Journal, findings reported significant improvements in Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients that underwent 24 weeks of music therapy sessions.
A common stress-alleviation technique often paired with music therapy is progressive muscle relaxation, a two-step muscle relaxation technique involving contracting and relaxing one muscle group at a time in tandem with mindful breathing.
Music therapy along with progressive muscle relaxation has shown exceptional improvements in patients with a variety of types of anxiety. It is a popular method of treatment by therapists across the country because of effectiveness and lack of adverse side effects.