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Could Music Therapy Help Restore Damaged Memory In Addiction Treatment?

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Blackouts are a form of short term memory loss. Individuals who heavily abuse drugs and alcohol lose chunks of time from their life due to being blacked out on drugs and alcohol. They might do things they don’t remember, have arguments they don’t remember starting, and wake up somewhere they didn’t know they fell asleep.

A blackout isn’t the only way addicts and alcoholics experience memory loss. Long term abuse of drugs and alcohol significantly impair the memory. Drugs and alcohol make it difficult for the brain to learn lessons, grasp consequences, and recall what it considers to be unimportant details. As a result, the brain loses its function in memory. How and what an addict remembers most likely is not how and what someone else witnessing an event remembers.

This can be caused by trauma as well as addiction. Almost every addict or alcoholic who seeks treatment has experienced some kind of trauma in their lives. Trauma is not exclusive to addicts and alcoholics. Most people will experience a traumatic event in their lifetime but a small percentage of them only will grow to have a full diagnosis or many symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Turning to drugs and alcohol for relief is a common side effect of untreated and unprocessed trauma. Addiction in itself, and the many blackouts or episodes of memory loss which accompany it, can be equally traumatizing.

Healing the memory is a challenge in treatment for clients with trauma and addiction issues. Music therapy is a way to trigger the memory and allow for healing processing. Patients with dementia and alzheimer’s have had effective results after engaging in music therapy. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal reporting on music therapy for dementia, music therapy “can reduce anxiety, depression, and agitated behavior.” Numerous research studies have showed that patients have “less restlessness during meals, and in some cases, reduced blood pressure and a sustained mental or physical state over the course of two years, compared with patients not in music therapy.”

Music therapy is part of the trusted treatment program at Design For Change where we are offering addicts in recovery a refuge from addiction and hope for change. Everyone is capable of recovering. For more information, call us today at (877) 267-3646.

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