Anxietyis one of the most common and widespread mental health diseases in the world.Depression, a common partner of anxiety, is also very widespread and dangerous.During teenage years, anxiety and depression are most reported and often resultin suicidal thoughts, attempts, and deaths.
Anxiety is caused by stressful situationsand often leads to depression. Music has been thought to help with these mentalillnesses and this paper will explore how music is perceived, responded to andincorporated into treatment of anxiety and depression.Depressionis a frequently occurring psychiatric disorder that affects roughly 5% in thepopulation and it is predicted that 33% of the populationwill experience one episode of depression during their lifetime (Bebbington,Hurry, Tennant, Sturt, & Wing, 1981; Weissman, Leaf, Tischler, Blazer,Karno, Livingston-Bruce, & Florio, 1988). Depression affects someone by high personaland social suffering and often result in disability (Wei-Chi Hsu & Hui-LingLai 2004).Anxietyis onset by stress and increases heartrate. This kind of physiological straincan have a direct result on the mental strain on a person as well. This kind ofstrain can feel like apprehension, extreme fear for the future, and attacks ofpanic. The Journal of Music Therapy states that, “anxiety is generally regardeda negative emotional response to situations that are appraised to bethreatening” (Elliot, Polman and McGregor 2011).
Musicaffects the brain by sympathetic resonance (Wei-Chi Hsu& Hui-Ling Lai 2004) and promotes relaxation with reduces activity inthe sympathetic nervous system. This decrease in activity can also decreaseanxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure (Lai and Good 2002, Pierson and Marker1988). Music as also been found to increase circulating endorphin which ispositively correlated with moodMusictherapy can help therapists with their patients and can be a good treatment foranxiety and depression. The Canadian Journal of Music Therapy states “the bodyof scientific research builds to support the effect of the mind on the body,the use of music therapy as complementary medicine is becoming morewidespread” (Mohammadi,Shahabi ,and Panah , 2011, p. 59). Using music as atreatment to aid in stress and lower anxiety in patients can be a very good wayto combat depression and in turn lower suicide rates.
Currentstudies in music therapy have shown that music therapy really can have positiveresults in more than just teenagers. Music therapy has been applied to childrenwho have emotion abnormalities, impulsivity and limited self-regulation (Layman,Hussey, & Laing, 2002). These emotional abnormalities can lead to children feelinghigh levels of anxiety. Studies have found that early childhood trauma affectsthe nervous system while in development. This can cause long term states ofover-arousal in the affected children. Music therapy can be a great way toassist the children to regulate their emotions and soothe the nervous system asit creates an equilibrium between stress and not feeling at all.
Otherstudies have shown, researches have observed music has positive affects onhormones in schizophrenic patients. Hormones such as dopamine, serotonin,testosterone and adrenaline have shown to react positively with music therapy (Vadaset al.,2012). All of these hormones affect the regulation of emotions and theprogression of mental disorders. Music has also been shown researchers observedthat music positively affected hormones like serotonin, dopamine, adrenalin andtestosterone, each of which influences the development of mental disorders andregulates the emotional condition of individuals. Music has also shown to havetherapeutic effects on blood pressure oxygen to blood ratios and heartrate (Siritungaet al., 2013).
All of these physiological effects can help patients withschizophrenia tremendously as the body is controlled the mind. Inconclusion, music therapy is a form of treatment that can play a significantrole in progress of mental health patients from anxiety, depression, dementia,and schizophrenia. Psychotropic drugs have shown to have a positive outcome forthese mental illnesses, but they do have their limitations such as addiction,allergic reaction, and overdose. Music therapy affects the brain in similarways but doesn’t carry any of the same risk and is extremely accessible andaffordable. Music therapy is the future of Psychology with more research andtrials, mental illness can be treated more efficiently and with less risk tothe patient.