Research paper- Dancestar10

Music Therapy can Help Mental Illness Patients

Many people use music as a form of distraction.It’s something many people listen to because it makes them feel happy or because they relate to what the artist is saying . It helps them forget their problems and helps relieve some of their stress. It is a great way to relax your mind and body. This is why some therapists use music as a way to help mentally Ill people to cope with their problems. This is known as music therapy. Music therapy is the use of musical intervention to improve clients’ lives. This is used because it has been proven that music helps some people cope better than other medication but there are still people who believe that prescription drugs and other medications are better used for mentally ill people but I believe that music therapy is a better way because there is a less risk during music therapy then taking prescription drugs. Some believe that music might be a bad idea because it might affect their memory . 

Memory is a big part of music. Music is vocal and instrumental sounds combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion. Some research has shown that certain music can trigger memories that you have forgotten or buried in the back of your mind. For example if you associate a memory with a type of music a couple years later if you hear the same type of music it will trigger that memory again. This article has stated “ that in musicians, compared with non-musicians, there is more gray matter in the part of the frontal cortex known to accommodate neural networks that are involved in several important working memory processes” (Jancke, L. (2008) Music memory, and emotion. Journal of Biology ). This may explain why it is easier for musicians to remember things (especially music) easier and faster than non-musicians. Due to the fact that music might trigger memory some people are worried that Music therapy is not a good way to help mental ill people and trauma patients cope . They are afraid that the music they might listen to may trigger the memory of the trauma that causes them to be in the mindset that they are in currently. Some mentally ill patients that have depression, anxiety, or personality disorders are in that certain state of mental illness because of a major trauma like a death of a family member, abuse, or an traumatic event they saw. There might be a chance that Music therapy would trigger that memory of the terrible event rather than help them cope better which can lead the patient to be in a worse state then they already are. This fear is very understandable , nobody wants to put their family through remembering a traumatic experience again. This is a major risk for some people but I still believe they should use music therapy as a way to cope because memory is a delicate thing . A memory can be triggered by anything like a word,a person, or an object. I think people who suffer from mental illness take that risk everyday in their day to day lives. So would music therapy really be much more of a risk ?

Music therapy is a way to help cope with mental illness but there are other ways . For example there is regular therapy , or prescription drugs like antidepressants. Personally I think that using prescription drugs is much more of a risk to mentally ill people than music therapy. Many things can happen when taking prescription drugs like overdosing, drug abuse, addiction, and insomnia. It has shown that medication does help people cope but it can take a big toll on you physically. Mentally ill people are people who are constantly sad, who feel like they don’t have much to live for , and are tirelessly fighting a battle in their own mind everyday. If prescription drugs are the only thing they feel like can help them feel happy they might become addicted to it which is going to be another thing they would have to fight against. If they do become addicted there is a high chance that they might overdose which can lead to death. Music therapy does not have those risks . It’s a safe way to cope and talk about your problems without physical risks. I also think that prescription drugs force you not to deal with your mental problems properly. They make you believe that you are happy and feeling better for a few hours and then you have to take the medication again until it becomes your new normal. These medications sometimes make people feel nothing at all, you are neither sad nor happy which is not good at all . Even though no one likes doing it , it’s good to show your emotions . These prescriptions are just pushing your emotions down and pretending they don’t exist  which can have a bad effect on your mental state. It’s like bottling your emotions. I think that’s why doctors prescribe these medications because most of society believes that if you push your problems far away eventually it will go away which is terrible . 

Society needs to acknowledge the facts that they can’t  just give people medications and expect people’s problems to go away which is why I think music therapy is a great use and a good coping mechanism that people should acknowledge more. Music helps you acknowledge what is going on inside of your mental state. Helps you figure out why your mind is working against you and helps you figure out how to cope with it in a proper way . They use many methods like writings songs , listening to music.  Writing song lyrics can help mental ill patients learn how to express their emotions and what they are feeling through words . This a technique that most people use, especially musicians. Musicians tend to write what they are truly feeling through their songs because it’s their own way of expressing it.This is why music therapists use these methods because it’s easier for some people to do rather than talking to a person. People with mental illness tend to not talk about what they are truly feeling or about their illness because they don’t want anyone to pity them so they keep everything they are truly feeling inside so instead of talking to somebody else they can write down their emotions down without having to feel like they’re being pitied by other people or having people tell them that what they are going through isn’t bad or important. Listening to music is another way they help patients. Listening to music helps you relate to the lyrics and to other people. It helps mentally ill people acknowledge the fact that they are not alone and acknowledge that there are people willing to help them deal with their problems. Also music tends to boost up your mood because it sends serotonin to your brain which is a mood booster. Many people tend to use music as a mood booster even in the old days . The example I like to use are slaves . Slaves used to use music as a way to boost their moods, help describe what they were feeling, and distract them from the fact that they were enslaved and away from home. Singing these songs used to remind them of their home country. This was one of the many things that got them through the harsh conditions and labor they were in.  This is why music  is very important in many cultures. To them music is freedom , freedom to express yourself in a comfortable way and to express your feeling the way you wanted. Another type of music therapy is Neurologic Music therapy . This type of therapy uses music as a way to study and treat the brain. Since music can affect multiple parts of the brain it can help build new connections in the brain and improve brain functions which can help people live a more functional life. This type of music therapy is a perfect opportunity to help study the brains of mentally ill patients much better and a great way to study the effects that music has on their brains and how it can be beneficial for them and help them live a normal life without having to fight a mental battle everyday with their own mind. This is completely different from regular music therapy because regular music therapy focuses on patients’ needs through listening and writing music but neurologic focus on the rhythms effect on the brain and brain only. 

All these benefits of both types of Music therapy have really convinced me that music is very useful and beneficial. Music is an art form. It is vocal or instrumental sounds combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion. It has many different styles like Chinese, Haitian, K-Pop, Spanish, African. Music has been around for thousands of years . Back in the ancient times music was used for rituals or festivals , and religious vents and for worshiping ceremonies. In ancient times music was only used for very important events. Nowadays everyone listens to music at any time they want. When they’re happy people might listen to music because it puts them in an even better mood. When someone is sad they might listen to happy music to lift up their spirits or might listen to sad music because it relates better to what they are feeling . We use music for many things like parties, weddings, we use it  while we’re cleaning, or even when we are doing homework. As I have said before it’s a form of distraction , it’s a mood affector, it even motivates you . That’s why a lot of people listen to music while cleaning or working out . You feel the emotions of the type of music you are listening to. That’s why some people call music “ emotions as sounds”. Have you ever been watching a show and a sad scene comes up and you hear sad music and it  makes it ten times sadder than it would originally be because you truly feel the music or an action scene and you hear hype music and you suddenly feel pumped up . That is why I think music therapy is such a great concept.

Personally for me music is a great way to express my feelings. Since I am not great at expressing how I feel (like most people in my generation) or a person who likes talking about feelings and emotions I used music as my way of communication. For me the beat and rhythms is usually what I listen to but when I want to express how I am feeling I usually listen to the lyrics which makes me feel more related to the artist. It makes me open up more and makes me feel like I am not alone and that I am not the only one who feels the way I do . Music is very important to me because it makes me very happy which is why I listen to music a lot and mostly everyday. For Example, while writing this I’ve been listening to music and it has made me happier and more motivated to write this essay than I would originally would be. That’s what music therapy  is doing. It’s helping mentally ill patients open up more and talk about their emotions. To express how their illness is truly making them feel without having to worry about being judged. It helps feel like they are not alone and that they are not suffering alone, that there are people who can relate to them.

Mental illness is a big problem in our society. Millions of people suffer from it everyday, primarily young teens and  young adults since their minds are not fully developed and everything hits them harder than adults. Mental illness are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior. It isn’t something you can easily detect because it’s very easy to hide. You can hang out with your friend and they seem very happy but in reality they might be going through so much like major depression or severe anxiety. Many people tend to keep it hidden, especially teenagers in my generations. Most of us learn to put on a hard shell to protect against the cruel world and to deceive people that we are strong and that nothing affects but in reality a lot of things affect us . When we do show emotions some people tell us that we are being childish which is why most of us don’t like talking about our emotions. It is a mental battle that you have to fight everyday. Sadly, sometimes not everyone is able to fight and win that battle. Right now there is no definite cure, you just have to endure years of psychiatric therapy to help you cope or deal with years of taking many different drugs that your doctor tells you will help you feel better. I know that Music  therapy is not a definite cure but  to me it is the safest way.  There are no physical risks that it can have on you , or any side effects and they won’t have to endure the pain that happens in some psychiatric facilities like shock therapy . Yes , there is the risk of triggering a bad memory but doesn’t everything have risks to it . Many researchers take risks everyday trying new ways and experiments on mental patients in order to understand the mental state of a person. 

Music therapy is very important, it is very sad that it is not more widely known as a coping mechanism for mentally ill patients.This is a very important form of coping method because its has many benefits and because I know many people who face depression and anxiety and this might be a way to educate people about music therapy. I want more people to know about this because I want the people that I know who are suffering to have a safe way to deal with their disorders. I want to help them .I don’t want them to have to suffer through the pain of taking many medications or having to spend large amounts of money to go through psychiatric therapy that might not help them at all. Music therapy doesn’t only have mental health benefits  but it also has a lot of physical health benefits . For example lower blood pressure,relax muscle pain and help memory loss in Alzheimer and dementia patients. I think we should really consider using Music therapy as a primary form of coping before deciding that mentally ill person should go to a psychiatric facility. It might benefit a person a lot more rather than locking them up with other mentally ill patients and shoving prescription drugs down their throats . 

In conclusion, mental health is a problem that has to be dealt with. Music therapy provides a great way to deal with it. It has way too many benefits for it not be a good good way of coping. It’s where people can learn to express their emotions and have people help you cope through your mental problems. It’s better than using different types of medications that might harm you and have side effects. It’s a safe way to improve your mood. Music makes you feel many emotions, even some emotions that you can not put into words. It’s something that everyone enjoys and loves and it has been proven that music helps you alot and affects you in many great ways .There might be some risks but everything has risks. It’s also a great way to study mental illness since when do know about it and why so many people deal with it. They can study the effects it has on the mind of a person with mental illness. Many people suffer from mental disorders everyday. There is no cure yet but there are many ways to cope with it but most of those ways are not physically and mentally safe which is why i want people to consider Music therapy first.Music might be the best way to help people with mental illness cope with their mental disorder. Hopefully while researchers who are currently studying and researching music and its effects on us and our brain finds a way that music can help deal with mental illness indefinitely. Even more though I hope that they find a cure to help mental illness go away forever so nobody ever has to deal with fighting against their own minds every hour of everyday.


Jancke, L. (2008) Music memory, and emotion. Journal of Biology

Neurological Music Therapy.Neurologic Music therapy Services of Arizona


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