ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, often shows up as the inability to concentrate for prolonged periods of time, being unable to follow instructions, having difficulty completing detailed tasks and being prone to error. It can be frustrating to live with, and being unable to fully focus often causes stress. However, music therapy may be able to help and may even increase your ability to concentrate.
Originally published on September 12th, 2018, this article was updated and republished on September 19th, 2022.
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is a form of expressive therapy. You use music in order to help you channel emotions and release them. There are two form of music therapy. In one, you create music as an emotional release. In the other, you listen to music while performing a creative activity. Both can be done in group sessions or one on one with the therapist.
If you choose to create music, your first concern may be that you do not know how to play an instrument. However, the ones provided are very basic – and anyone can play them in an expressive manner – so there is no need to worry. Neither form pressures you into speaking with your therapist. And everything happens in a relaxing environment.
How Can it Help ADHD?
When you have ADHD, your mind is moving at record speeds. Most of the time you struggle to catch up – let alone make it stop. Being so full of mental and physical energy means it is more difficult to focus for long periods of time. However, music therapy really can help your ADHD.
Music is very structured, and this appeals strongly to the ADHD mind. Your mind craves a sense of organization, and every song has a clear beginning, middle, and end, making it predictable. The beats and rhythm also have specific structures. This can help to refocus the mind as well as encourage better mental (and even physical) organization.
An ADHD mind has lower levels of dopamine – the neurotransmitter responsible for motivation, attention, working memory, and focus. Music activates both sides of the brain, engaging your entire brain so the activated “muscles” can work together and even perhaps become stronger. This leads to a boost in motivation and the ability to focus.
Group music therapy can be both a social and physical activity. You meet like-minded people, and people who understand your condition and what you are going through. Playing instruments, you collaborate and work together to create new music. Often people develop strong friendships. After all, any neurological condition can be isolating.
How to Get Started with Music Therapy?
If you want to start music therapy, there are two approaches. If you get a referral from your doctor, they will write to the therapy centre in question so you can get an appointment and start your sessions. It is also possible to refer yourself to a music therapy course. It may require more paperwork and a potential interview, but it is still a very quick and simple process. With either approach, you may be placed on a waiting list initially as there is a lot of demand.
Music therapy could be just what you need to get back on track and really focus. It’s surprisingly simple to get into the courses, and there are plenty of options. It might be worth exploring what works best for you, as well as the type of music therapy that will most benefit you. If you’re interested in the far-ranging benefits from music therapy for people all ages with mental conditions, be sure to explore this more detailed article on music therapy and mental health.
About the Author
Will is a freelance writer & blogger. If you are interested in more information on music therapy, audio guides and gear reviews , be sure to check out Will’s audio guides here .
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