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Music Therapy: Ability To Heal And Recover Mental Health Illness

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Introduction:

Music therapy is a type of treatment that addresses psychological and social issues among people for all ages. As the brain responds towards sounds, it can act as a mood stimulator. It has the ability to cure both psychological and physical diseases. Music enables to express emotions through which certain chemicals are released in our body which helps us to restore our well-being. Even if we are feeling sad, stressed or eccentric, we convey our feelings through music, so we can denote that music is actually therapeutic. If anyone thinks they have the need to treat their mental health but are unable to express in words or are hesitant to talk to a psychiatrist about it they may seek help through a musical intervention. Musical activities and responses are also known as a powerful obstructive medium to improve both psychological and physical well-being.

Music has an impact over the listener’s mood, therefore, these moods bring about a variety of actions which includes perceptive performance (i.e. thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, innovativeness and mindfulness). These treatments are structured in a way where individuals participate in singing, playing music instruments, rhythmic interventions and learning through music. Surgeons are also said to use music to reduce pain and calm anxiety in patients during surgery. Music therapy focuses on all the aspects of nurture, including speech and communication goals, mental health and addiction issues. [ Ben Dyment, January 2016] Many therapists recommend music therapy as a cure for autism, behavioural development or learning disabilities. They also deal with lifelong diseases in people such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Parkinson’s disease. Music is proven to be related to the enhancement of well-being as found in various studies. The benefits of musical intervention in curing mental health seems to be rising as benefits have been found. Therefore, in recent years there have been number of studies that investigates the relationship between music, well-being and health. Music therapy involves the clinical and evidence based use of music interventions to accomplish individual goals. It has been used as a medium to process emotions such trauma, grief but it also acts as calming agent for stress and anxiety.

Background

The brain engages with music to provide significant ways to respond to it with profound cellular signals which develop emotions in us. Just considering, how often we are seen with our earphones plugged on or choosing the song which fits perfectly with our mood for the day. It affects with our experience or we feel a certain change in our daily activities with music playing in the background. When we are listening to music while we are working out at the gym, our body suddenly receives this surge if energy flowing within us resulting in a great workout session. Therefore, music does alter the perception of the environment around us. An experiment carried out by scientists where an individual’s brain was shown was shown on a function magnetic resonance imaging machine or FMRI, while he was listening to music certain areas in the brain was lighting up, this however was just not any music but something the person was familiar to. A music that made them feel significant to. The neurons, through which the brain cells sends messages was activated during the experiment. The different areas of the brain was awakened such as attention, memory, movement, emotion and coordination. Music releases such as serotonin, endorphins into our system which enables our mind to be more engaged to the receptors of the brain.

Music was first used as an impact over the human body was first discovered during in an Egyptian Medical paper dating back to 1500 BCE, according to Rolando Benenzon. There has been various notions of music used as a treatment method in all culture Greco-Roman, Arabic, Indian and Chinese. Mythological and biblical stories prove the usage of music therapy. The infamous biblical story for an instance, where Israelite David was accounted for King Saul to play the harp to soothe him as it was believed he was taunted by an evil spirit. We may refer to the evil spirit as depression or maybe anxiety today. David would have a special chord which he would play for the Lord. Greek philosophers Pythagoras, Aristotle and Plato also addressed the healing and reformative power that music holds. Pythagoras believed that music was more meaningful and was related to mathematics. As a result he carried out an experiment where he discovered and compared the diverse mixture of melodies played on the lyre or sung was able to evoke a range of emotions. Plato and Aristotle has their contribution to this profound method, where they created a structure of thoughts which had four outcomes to music. The four results included echoing emotion, mental satisfaction, positive attitude towards pain and developing intellect.

The roots of music in the ancient times are wide ranged and has been utilized in various ways. Ancient Egyptian used music therapy to cure epilepsy by pipes chant. As stated in historical records, in the 6th century, melancholy patients were put in separate room from other patients to treat illness in the hospitals of Qallawon in Cairo. In the western world, in 1347, many died due to a scary plague called “dancing mania”. The victims of this disease would dance uncontrollably until they passed out of exhaustion. According to the historical records, the infected were cured after musicians were appointed to play a soothing melody which calmed those dancers. The use of music further expanded during the Renaissance, Italian composer and music theorist Gioseffo Zarlino said that music can be seen as therapeutic or curative. He believed that music doesn’t not only cure depression and pain but also had the ability to restore hearing. The many beliefs of Renaissance, made its way towards music therapy into an absolute scientific approach.

The practice of music therapy to address mental health is still on the verge of development, as only a few are aware of this remedy. Bangladesh has yet to consider mental health as an important issue as they are mostly focusing on the cure for physiological diseases. Talking about mental health is still seen as a stigma in the society where people refrain from disclosing their depression or anxiety. However, music therapy is already used to develop cognitive skills in the children of autism which shows that the practice exists in the country but needs more awareness.

Research Questions

Music therapy has the ability to heal and recover mental health illness. As I have mentioned earlier, music therapy treats both psychological and physiological disorder but people are not aware much about this method of treatment in Bangladesh. As a result, I have decided to get people’s opinion on Music Therapy and see their willingness to try it to cure stress and anxiety. Some of my questions are as follows:

  • How is the current mental health scenario?
  • Have they ever tried any treatment for their mental health?
  • What do they know about music therapy?
  • Do anyone they know have experienced Music Therapy?
  • Do they think Bangladesh should introduce music therapy into their rehabilitation centers?

Hypothesis

Since, music already plays a major role in relaxing the mind when under pressure. Most people are seen turning to music as a medium of relaxation. I believe, majority of the people will acknowledge Music Therapy as a treatment method for stress and anxiety. As we know, talking about mental health or seeking help for psychological issues is still stigmatized in Bangladesh, my research will awaken those people to be more concerned. The people who have been hesitant of addressing their mental health issues will seek help. It will be found that the mental health scenario in Bangladesh has worsened over time and needs serious attention. Most of the respondents may not be aware of Music Therapy but maybe intrigued to try it before trying any other medication.

I presume, most people out there may have never even visited a proper psychologist when they have suffered a trauma. They may know few people who have experienced Music Therapy but have not been fully able to acknowledge it’s benefits.

Research Methodology

The primary research was carried out on a target group from North South University. I have chosen my university as the main area to carry out my research since it enables access to more number of people.A survey questionnaire was give out to them which consisted of a collection of all the questions relevant to the subject of the research. The questionnaire contained two parts; personal information and questions related to their opinion on Music Therapy. The first part asked basic information such as the Gender, Age and the Department. The second part focused on the questions which was related to the research. The questions are mostly multiple choice questions with a single open minded question. The survey was carried out on 40 random students present in North South University on the 5th of April between 11.00 AM to 3:00 PM. 34 respondents completed the sample out of the 40 sample.

For my secondary research, I gathered information from various sources such as online pdf books on my topic and articles on the web. The primary was mostly done on the web. I have looked up information about the topic on the internet by the use of basic search engine such as Google and Bing as well as large reference sites and news sites. The local book café has helped me find books related to my topic. I used online journals and accumulated information from newspaper articles as well as gathered data about Music Therapy from the many Music Therapy associations online.

Data Presentation And Analysis

I have designed a survey questioning various aspects on my topic so that I could get sufficient data about people’s opinion on Music Therapy to cure stress and anxiety. I was able come to a conclusion about my research topic with the help of the data that I had collected during this survey. The questions were completed by a group of people mostly students of whom 17 were male and 17 were female. The data collected is presented and analyzed in the following pages ahead:

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The first question, I asked my respondents how often do they think listening to music is beneficial for their mood. This was a general question addressed to know how often listening to music can affect their mood. The results were as expected. About 57% responded listening to music frequently and approximately 40% believes that listening to music very frequently is beneficial for their mood. There were two other options which suggested listening to music “Never” or “Rarely” to which none of my respondents responded which shows that almost everyone considers listening to music in general has benefitted them.

Figure 1: How often do you feel listening to music is beneficial for you mood?

The data collected shows us vividly to what extent listening to music is considered beneficial for their mood. Most of the people listen to music quite often to improve their mood which shows the significance of music in their lives. They may listen to music while they are studying or just driving on the road, music does have an impact on their daily activities. There are various kinds of music online which people listen to depending on how they want to feel. If someone is having trouble to sleep , they may tune into some mild music to help calm their mind and put it to rest or for someone who is feeling lethargic would listen to something of a higher note to boost their overall energy. This can be said that music is a medium through which people like to express themselves.

My second question is based on people participating in Music Therapy as an alternative Treatment for depression and anxiety. 52% responded “Yes”, while 45 % responded “Maybe” and merely a 3% responded “No” to this question. The respondents who have chosen “Yes” has agreed to Music Therapy and does see it as a treatment method for their mental health. The 45% of the people who responded “Maybe” may not be aware of this treatment but are positive about it. And the rest do not prefer music therapy as a means of treatment.

According to the data collected, it suggests that people are positive about Music Therapy being a treatment method. The majority of the respondents who have given positive feedback believes this a treatment without any side effect and is harmless. It already has therapeutic abilities to soothe the mind and body as a result people consider it as an alternative treatment for depression and anxiety. However, most are not aware of this method of treatment and hence they are unsure whether this treatment is able to heal their well-being. As a result, the 45% of the respondent who responded “Maybe” might consider this treatment method if it was actually practiced more often to treat mental health.

The following question queries about the whether people feel there is a greater need for mental health awareness towards music therapy for mental health treatment in Bangladesh. To which 59% said “Yes” and 35% said “Maybe” and only 6% responded “No”. This suggests that a greater number of people feel that Music Therapy should be practiced in rehabilitation centers in Bangladesh and most psychologists should consider this as a method of treatment. The 35% of the respondents are not certain whether Music Therapy should be taken into account. And the rest are denial about this treatment being popular in Bangladesh.

Figure 3: Do you feel there is a greater need for mental health awareness towards music therapy for mental health treat

Mental health awareness needs to be addressed in Bangladesh and gradually develop methods of treatments to cure it. More people needs to talk about the difficulties they are facing mentally and that is when music therapy will come into the picture as a healing method for those issues. Since, people are acceptant towards music therapy there is a higher chance if it’s usage if it is widely preached among the society.

Summary Of Research Findings

The data that I have collected was similar to my hypothesis. In consideration to the data that I have received, it proves that music therapy is actually a treatment method that people may consider as a method of cure for psychological disorders. Also, according to some of my queries I have found that majority of people listen to music when they are feeling upset which shows how often people seek to vent their feelings through music.

I have also queried people if they would choose music therapy as a treatment option before considering any medication. This shows that people would not consume those anti-depressants or anxiety pills if they had a therapeutic treatment medium. They say that those medication come with a lot of after affects which has fallen an impact over their functionality. So, if rehabilitation centers launch music therapy many people would be willing to try it in order to restore their mental stability.

As per my research, many of my respondents were not fully aware of music therapy of how it works as well as only a few people in Bangladesh takes anxiety and depression as a serious issue which needs professional help. In order to address the matter, I have also included an open ended question where they have shared their thoughts about mental health awareness in Bangladesh, to which a larger number of people said that there should be a vast access to psychologists and counsellor to restore mental health. The stigma of speaking about trauma should not be overlooked. Many of them even suggested that the government should launch more psychiatric centers. They should subsidize mental health treatment as it is quite expensive people overlook and suppress themselves which worsens their well-being even more. The comments were evident enough to prove my hypothesis as most of the respondents were interested to know about music therapy and acknowledges its health benefits.

My primary research data suggests that nearly all respondents listen to music on a regular basis, and for most of them it is a constant activity, whereas if someone does not listen to music, they are considered an outlier. I’d like to point out that the data collected concerns young adults – and this is the demographic that needs the most help through the use of music therapy. So we are in a good place to start. All we need is to raise awareness and put a system into place that can begin to provide a service for these young adults to try to relieve them of their anxiety

Conclusion

It can be deduced that music therapy does have therapeutic abilities to cure stress and anxiety in people. A majority of people consider music as a method of relaxation. It has said to stimulate our mood as a result it can work immensely against our mental health. It is a great gateway for introverts who have difficulty in expressing their thoughts and feelings, they can connect through music. It may act as a self-care treatment for someone who suffers from anxiety quite often. Listening to their favorite track may help calm them without depending on any medication. Most of the people I have surveyed believe that they either listen to music or have at least taken a musical instrument lesson for recreational purposes. The younger generation seek music as a medium to express and voice their words through lyrics. Music also helps enhance mindfulness through the rhythm it resonates. Its practice has been successful both in history and the modern world which was proven by secondary research. The reassuring results of music therapy for mental health illness management over the years shows its rising potential as a mental health treatment option in future. I believe the rehabilitation centers in Bangladesh should do more research on Music Therapy and launch it as a program in their respective health care centers. They should educate people about Music Therapy and the remedies it has against psychological disorders. The fact that depression and anxiety should be noticed in its initial stage and healed with such therapeutic measure before they turn into severe disorders which eventually affects their physiological health.

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Music Therapy: Ability To Heal And Recover Mental Health Illness. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/music-therapy-ability-to-heal-and-recover-mental-health-illness/
“Music Therapy: Ability To Heal And Recover Mental Health Illness.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/music-therapy-ability-to-heal-and-recover-mental-health-illness/
Music Therapy: Ability To Heal And Recover Mental Health Illness. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/music-therapy-ability-to-heal-and-recover-mental-health-illness/> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2022].
Music Therapy: Ability To Heal And Recover Mental Health Illness [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 18 [cited 2022 Sept 29]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/music-therapy-ability-to-heal-and-recover-mental-health-illness/
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