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Music & mental health

Our overall group’s question is “How can music help people with their mental illnesses?”. To find an answer to this question my group and I did lots of research connected to the different genres of music, as well as other methods of treatment for all kinds of mental illnesses. I researched the social aspect of this topic while my groupmates did the artistic, health, and scientific aspects of it. The question for my personal topic is “How does music affect a person’s mental stability and social life?”. I will be explaining how music can affect a person’s social life as well as how it can be integrated into therapy methods.

The article “Breaking Down The Stigma of Mental Illness” states “Too frequently people use words such as ‘schizophrenic”,’ ‘insane”,’ ‘crazy’ and ‘psychotic’ in the wrong context”,” Lusi said. “The anti-stigma campaign works to terminate the misuse of such statements that often have an adverse effect on the mental health community.” (Long Island Business News Staff) The idea of mental illness stays at people who have been through extremely traumatic events in their lives. Though that’s completely false. Mental illnesses are something that anyone of any lifestyle, social class, race, age can suffer with. Though it is not always taken seriously. It is usually ignored in teens of families of color, or children of wealthier families, and even children with the excuse of being too young or having everything they could possibly need or want in their lives. Though this could affect the lives of those with mental illness. They would go through everyday life feeling a certain way and not being able to speak to anyone ultimately affecting their attitude towards society and possibly even resulting in suicide.

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In the article “Does Music Affect our mood” it states ‘Certain tunes cause the release of serotonin (a hormone) and dopamine (a neurotransmitter) in the brain that makes you feel good and happy. It also releases norepinephrine, which is a hormone that invokes feelings of euphoria’. This is important because the type of music affecting our mood it also affects how we communicate with people. If you listen to very bubbly or upbeat music it would make your attitude a lot bubblier and more fun to be around than if you were to listen to something sadder and slower. People tend to associate themselves with the people that listen to the same style of music as them. Like if a person like an artist like Blink-182 or Bts meets someone else who also likes Bts or Blink-182 they would be more likely to befriend them. This is because if those two individuals have similar music tastes then it is more likely they have more things in common or similar mindsets/feelings and opinions.

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The article “Music Therapy and Depression” by author Amber Bruggman is about how therapists have used music to treat their patients. The author states “The therapeutic effects of music therapy include relief of chronic and transient anxiety symptoms, reduced negative behaviors (e.g., agitation), improvements in sleep quality, and improved self-esteem. Music therapy may be an appropriate treatment for clients with psychiatric disorders (e.g., schizophrenia), emotional disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression), and/or cognitive disorders (e.g., dementia).” (Bruggman). This form of therapy could the most useful to get individuals with mental illnesses out of the mindset that’s holding them back. Music therapy could allow people with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses that are holding them back to branch out and become more social. It could allow them to overcome their feelings of solitude and feel better. The author then continues on to say “clients while in the hospital found a significant decrease in depression compared to female mastectomy clients who did not receive music intervention. In addition, those clients who received music therapy had a shorter length of stay in the hospital.” (Bruggman). This just further explains that different types of music don’t and can’t necessarily “cure” a mental illness but it does aid in the recovery process.

The article “How Can Music Affect Our Confidence and Self-Esteem?” the author states “We can use music to express how we feel, especially if normally we find that hard to do in a conversation with someone. Releasing anger using the beat of a drum is extremely therapeutic.” This shows that the type of music someone likes plays a very big role in how you carry yourself and how others perceive you. If you listen to slower, softer songs with a fairly low bass it is more likely you’re a quieter, softer person yourself. The same type of people who prefer to stay in the shadows and don’t like much attention. If you listen to music that’s louder and faster with a heavier bass you tend to be a louder person yourself with a bubblier and more talkative person. Those people tend to be more social and like to be in the spotlight more often than not. the author also states “I’ve recently started going to a drumming group with some friends, we just use some African style drums and mix it with some meditation. It really can release anger and frustration from a bad day, maybe sadness that you feel or maybe you’ll experience joy and happiness.” This shows that music is something that brings people together more often than you think. As the author says, she takes traditional African drumming classes with her friends, which makes them interact more and spend more time with one-another.

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In the book “Secrets for The Mad” by Dodie Clark she states “Depersonalization disorder (DPD), or dissociation, or derealisation (DR), is described as the feeling of detachment from reality. Growing up, I had never heard of it, and so when it started to like I was dreaming all the time, I had no idea what was happening.” (Dodie, 50). This explains that there are mental illnesses that people can suffer from and have absolutely no idea. With the author (Dodie) being a musician, music and sending messages through her music is a huge part of her life and what she does day to day. Dealing with DPD as well as the stress of writing, recording, and performing her music can eventually become too much for one person and they would want to quit. As Dodie says “People experience mental health problems in different ways, but for me, I flip back and forth between optimistic and utterly hopeless.” (Dodie, 62)

To conclude, of course, mental illnesses cannot be “healed” or completely treated but they can be helped and possibly prevented if caught at the right time. Music is a very large part of a great deal of individuals lives and people tend to associate it with distinct feelings. Different genres elicit different emotions and can bring back different memories. Furthermore, individuals tend to choose the people they’re surrounded by with people that have similar taste in things, the most common being music. So, since there is no true cure for any mental illnesses, incorporating it into therapy and one’s social life it can bring drastic changes into that individual’s state of mind. Associating yourself with those who have similar interests and will allow you to enjoy the music that will encourage you to be the best version of yourself.

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