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Nancy Schimelpfening

Can Music Therapy Help Depression?

By January 29, 2008

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Music therapy may be helpful for depression, says a new Systematic Review from The Cochrane Library.

The scientists searched the international literature and identified five studies which met their criteria. Four out of those five studies found that the subjects who had received music therapy experienced greater improvement in their depression symptoms than those who did not. From this, they concluded that music therapy for depression is feasible and worthy of further study. Unfortunately they were unable to reach any firm conclusions about its effectiveness because of the small number and low quality of the studies.

Music therapy techniques can involve making music, listening to music, writing songs, and talking about lyrics. Some of its applications are to help the patient articulate difficult emotions or to aid in relaxation.

Has music helped you with your depression? Leave your comments below.

January 30, 2008 at 6:33 am
(1) MOBY says:

I listen to a great deal of music, but have never had any improvement with mood or with my depression. I continue to listen anyway as it takes the edge off the uncertainties of life. For me, nothing helps. I take it all one hour at a time.. one day at a time..

November 18, 2011 at 10:49 am
(2) TheGayMan says:

Thats because your listening to the wrong kind of music stupid, your suppose to listen to Happy music not sad dumbass.

January 30, 2008 at 10:15 am
(3) Alif says:

Yes, MUSIC does help me get out of my usual “low periods”during the day,and moreso at night;as I fall asleep much more easier and quicker as opposed to the times when I’m not listening to music.Music just provides a HIGH in me and soothes my otherwise “shattered nerves”.Listening to music also diverts my attention to other creativity related to it such as the social and cultural milieu;lyrics,diction used,the various RAGAS,etc.etc.

January 31, 2008 at 9:47 pm
(4) Sandy says:

Depression is a terrible disease, but is it really a disease or is a choice? Sandy Copeland used to think that there was something wrong with him but then through a series of unpredictable events he realized that he was choosing to be this way, you can read about him at http://novelog.com

February 2, 2008 at 8:29 am
(5) Barb says:

I don’t know if music has helped my depression but I know that I listen to different types of music depending on how “low” I feel. My boyfriend has been deeply depressed lately and he can’t even listen to any music. That’s scarey because I can’t imagine my life without music.

April 22, 2008 at 8:04 am
(6) Sarah says:

Music Therapy is different to simply listening to music by yourself. And while that may or may not help someone with depression, it is not what this article is referring to. Music Therapy could be described perhaps as ‘the planned, creative use of music to acheieve therapeutic goals.’ Music Therapists are highly trained in areas of psychology and counselling as well as being skilled musicians.

April 29, 2008 at 2:16 pm
(7) Courteny says:

Have you ever even had depression?? I’m 15 and i think that even if you choose to have depression it takes further than you hoped. Music helps me just fall away form the world, i lisen to Thousand Foot Krutch, and i feel what they go throuh. If you listen to a good writer, you can feel what they feel. It helps you let your feelings out.

April 1, 2011 at 11:09 am
(8) bex says:

No one chooses to have depression…

December 16, 2008 at 6:41 pm
(9) Sherrie says:

I was in a one car accident two months ago where I rolled my truck. I fractured my pelvis in 6 places and shattered my left hip. They didn’t think I was going to live. After all this time I am still here and strong!

I asked to see a psychiatrist the second or third week I was in the hospital because I was feeling a bit depressed with a piece of metal sticking out from my hips and unable to walk, anyone would be depressed! He decided to prescribe Zoloft 50mg once a day. I do not agree with antidepressants, depression is part of life and is usally temporary with me. I took the medication. Now I am getting better and he wanted to up my dose to 100mg, he said he insisted!! I said I don’t care what you insist, it is my body and I refuse to take it anymore.
I feel that those who practice medicine don’t realize that depression, anxiety, insomnia and such are normal human reactions. We do not need to take a pill to make it better “as this too shall pass.”
I do realize that some people need the medications but I am not one of them. I have a strong constitution and have made such great progress since my accident that even the doctors are amazed.
I just think antidepressants and the like are too easily prescribed when sometimes a person just needs some one to talk to.

December 29, 2008 at 10:23 am
(10) Vinnie says:

Even if you listen to ‘a great deal of music’ but didn’t get the very essence or message of that particular piece of music that you used, you will not be able to recover from depression. Music therapy is a method of recovery that deals on a personal level. It is unique on a case-to-case basis because in this kind of therapy, the kind of music that should be used on a specific patient should be the kind of music that suits his/her 1) preferences, and then 2) situation. The kind of music being used on a specific person taking music therapy should ‘speak’ to him/her on a personal level because music can only work its wonders if it gets through a person listening to it.

January 26, 2009 at 1:41 pm
(11) Emma says:

I am 17 and have been battling depression and anxiety most of my life. I was diagnosed at 9 years old. I turned to music about a year after the diagnosis and if anyone is asked about changes in me, there was a significant change. Having tried 5 different medicines music is the only things that has truly helped me not end my life. I still frequently go into my room and cry while listening to music. It calms me down after awhile but honestly it is the only thing that I turn to

April 14, 2009 at 10:04 pm
(12) Lindsa y says:

I have depression and that is what got me to become a student at KU studying music therapy…I have to say the program is centered very much toward younger children and not a lot with depression, but I think that depression and anxiety are two of the biggest things that could be helped by music therapy! I was medicated as a kid, and took myself off the medicine without doctors knowing and music was my main source of comfort. It is not a cure, but it helps coping, and this is how we learn to deal with life. We cope. It makes us stronger.

September 17, 2009 at 10:29 am
(13) Natalie says:

But what kind of music helps you? Because I do not think it’s just any music.

October 28, 2009 at 8:10 am
(14) Tracey says:

Yes, music has really allowed me to go through all of my ups and downs.

November 17, 2009 at 9:27 pm
(15) David says:

I went through a bad divorce in the 90′s. I wrote my thoughts and feelings on paper. It helped. Since then, I’ve picked up the guitar. I write and put my words to music. I research songs and artists. My guitar and thoughts are good friends.

December 9, 2009 at 8:17 am
(16) catherine jennifer/jentilpet says:

You asked me yesterday 12-8-09 what I liked about..about.com..I told you,explaining my characteristics,& again there’s no feedback to my comments!!I cannot relate to anyone! Perhaps I have nothing in commin w/ your readers..certainly not “alternatives”,as I believe many are either lazy or think the culprit is “Alt rather,they think mainstream is sincere…for depression,there are alts..”The Heritige Store”catalog..for those who are devoid of intellegent explorative text..The money is their “priority,however they’ll not buy Romain lettece,if cost goes up!Then they buy frozen,at expensive prices,frozen veg’s are the best,but canned drains all the vitamins,still if it’s “cheap”,they’ll buy it!They give their pets cheap food too,then say “I can’t afford the alternatives,too expensive!”They’ll spend on lousy things,not buying fish,eating too much meat,frozen processed food,just so they don’t have to cook..Amino acids,vit,all for “septonin”issues..the very core of “our” depressive pain! I’m about to order from “THS” today,shipping is 24hrs!2days or One,they ship ot,temp,packing,no additives,all vital..so thite doesn’t really give any alt’s..my phyciatrist[paid insurance] wouldn’t give me Lithium,bec- I hadn’t seen him..in 3 months,he woulldn’t give anything until I came in?No way..the pharmasist did!!But again..it’s snowing today,so yet another day,without them?Canceled the snow..I’m calling an att’y,asking where I satnad app’t…no ride bec-of snow,I will call my att’y,asking if this is ethical or maybe for those who are ok w/ “immigrants”like the people who set up shop here,thus driving ,fancy cars,closed on Fridays,certainly,they have a 4+holiday weekends,people work for yrs,still don’t reach “our American Dream”but they do,learning no medical ethics,they give the most dangerous med’s..Gurdon,Lamictal,not me,I threw them out! This insane notion that one must tough it out so it will work after a few weeks IS insanity..I’m suppossed to suffer am alcoholic-like hangover,just to endure pain,so my body will be “used to it??”or get used to it??Forget it,,there are cures..just read the conspiracies,books to do w/ “Real Cures&What They Don’t Want You To Know About”Kevin Trudaeu..

June 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm
(17) Darkcheeko says:

I feel music has definetly helped me. the depression hasn’t gone away but i feel there is hope for me. my favourite band is Tokio Hotel. they have helped me so much, if it wasn’t for them i wouldn’t be alive anymore. before i had heard of them you never saw me smile. then i listened to one of their songs and actually smiled, before that i couldn’t even remember how to smile. i walked into english class one day and my teacher was so shocked. i remember her clearly
saying ‘it’s so nice to see you smiling’ i didn’t even realise i was smiling. i was smiling cos one of tokio hotel’s songs was stuck in my head. so i believe it can help you and i want to thank tokio hotel for saving my life

April 1, 2011 at 11:12 am
(18) bex says:

Music has helped me thru the hardest times in my life and i cudnt imagine my life without it. I need music like i need oxygen.

June 8, 2011 at 8:50 pm
(19) Heather says:

I definitely believe that music helps with depression. I am 15 and have never been diagnosed with depression by a doctor, but to people around me it is obvious that I’m not quite right. I watched my mom suffer for 6 years of my life and eventually die, but I have found that music helps me cope. I enjoy playing the violin, piano, learning guitar, writing songs, and listening to all genres if music. I believe that music has saved my life on numerous occasions. When I play music I forget the bad things I had been thinking about and focus on playing beautifully.

June 10, 2012 at 8:41 pm
(20) Lucas says:

Piano music sure helps with depression, it just makes me feel good.

September 8, 2012 at 7:46 am
(21) anonymous says:

I am a recovering alcoholic, and I’ve been incredibly lucky not to have taken a drink in 22 years. However, I also suffer from Bipolar disorder, so I still feel depressed and even suicidal occasionally. For me, a strong belief in God helps, plus going to AA meetings and also taking my meds.

September 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm
(22) masood says:

I use to listen music when I feel depressed and music gives me relief for the time being. But it depends upon the type of music one likes otherwise some kind of music enhances depression. Music selection plays a vital role during the depression . It helps to increase and decrease gravity of depression.

April 28, 2013 at 6:56 pm
(23) Jim Gillman says:

Music Therapy is well worth trying!

Music has a definite effect on my moods. Having suffered from depression and anxiety all my life, I have always enjoyed the uplifting feeling from listening to music. I would like to locate sources of music designated as therapy related, has anyone found types of music that help?

Jim Gillman

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