Research Journal of Drug Abuse

Research Journal of Drug Abuse

ISSN 2057-3111
Original Research

Music helps addicted patients to reduce negative emotions in everyday life

Stefan Gebhardt1*, Markus Kunkel2 and Richard von Georgi3

*Correspondence: Stefan Gebhardt

1. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany.

Author Affiliations

2. Department of Music science and Music education, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany.

3. Department of Music science and Music education, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Germany; International Psychoanalytic University Berlin, Germany.


Introduction: The study aimed to explore the impact of the use of music in the everyday life of those dependent on substance abuse.

Methods: A psychiatric population (n=190; 111 female; mean age of 37.4±13.3 years) was examined using the IAAM (inventory for the assessment of activation and arousal modulation through music) to measure the situation-dependent everyday life use of music, the SKI (self-concept inventory) for personality dimensions and the GAF score (Global assessment of functioning). Group differences of patients with and without substance abuse were assessed.

Results: Substance abuse was identified in 28 patients (14.7%). Patients of this group showed a lower functioning level (p=0.045) and reported they listened more to music for relaxation (p=0.018) and cognitive problem solving (p=0.047), more under the influence of psychotropic drugs (p<0.003) and–after the onset of the mental disorder–more to loud music (p=0.005) than patients without substance abuse (n=162).

Discussion and conclusion: Psychiatric patients with substance abuse use music particularly to reduce negative emotions compared to psychiatric patients without substance abuse. This result can be discussed on the basis of the reward system which is influenced by both psychotropic substances as well as by music. The results have a substantial relevant clinical impact and therapeutic conclusions have been drawn. Further studies are warranted.

Keywords: Music, emotion modulation, mental disorders, addiction disorders, cognition, arousal, reward system

ISSN 2057-3111
Volume 1
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