Canadian Musician - March / April 2018 - Page 46

SUBSTANCE ABUSE & ADDICTION Research indicates that individuals prone to addiction do not create as much dopamine as the average person, which leads them to further extremes to achieve a high. Additional research has high- lighted that men and women who deal with addiction also possibly suffer from previous traumatisation. Individuals susceptible to substance abuse are also often high achievers, lovers of risks and thrills, and enjoy diving head first into passions with an exuberant amount of fervor to obtain the satisfac- tion they crave on psychological and biochemical levels. This is the tightrope that musicians walk. Passion and desire can’t be turned on and off like a switch in order to benefit your work but not become harmful to your health and wellbeing. You would have to be living under a rock these days to have not seen the videos and articles that tell us things like: “Science Shows How Musicians’ Brains Are Different From Everybody Else’s.” Musicians have high-functioning brains and we push ourselves, striving to write and perform and perfect our craft tirelessly; however, addic- tion often gets its foot in the door when an individual has environ- mental, psychological, and/or emotional issues within their life. Musicians are also sensitive and highly emotive men and wom- en. If addiction or substance abuse becomes prevalent in a musi- cian’s life, connecting and engaging on our own level is critically im- portant to inspire movement towards a healthier self. Deciding and accepting that you might need help will inevitably put you in a state of chaos. At this crucial moment, creative therapeutic methods are going to feel like home. Music therapy is used as a powerful tool to encourage people to act and show their coping strategies, without being aware of doing so. Music therapy addresses the underlying psychological and social problems of addiction and touches on feel- ings of longing and craving, pain and pleasure. A specific technique in music therapy, called “cue exposure,” takes the assumption that some musical styles provoke the same stimulus as certain substances because individuals listened to or were playing this music while using substances. Music therapy pro- vides a safe clinical environment to experiment with the music used during substance abuse, to raise awareness about this link and then experiment with alternative music and forms of active music ex- pression to facilitate subsequent emotions. The neurologic effects of that improvised and created music is then used to motivate indi- viduals to block a triggering of the old neurologic paths. A lack of motivation is one of the major pitfalls during the ma- jority of addiction and substance abuse treatment. Music therapy GET MORE INFO Wanting further information about music therapy in Canada? These organizations can get you started, depending on where you live in our beautiful country: Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT) – Association Québécoise de musicothérapie – Music Therapy Association of Ontario (MTAO) – Music Therapy Association of British Colombia – Atlantic Music Therapy Association – has the advantage of being a non-verbal treatment modality, which seems to preserve the motivation of most clients, even during in- tense moments of confrontation. Overall, music therapy offers important possibilities to improve and develop coping strategies. It is well suited to address the moti- vational, social, and psychological components of addiction disor- ders. Music affects the neurological system and is, by virtue of its action-oriented nature, the ideal experimental setting to practice coping, interaction, communication, and the expression of emo- tions. Playing music forces individuals to act. In this action, many coping styles become visible and audible, and alternate coping strategies are created and implemented. Amy Di Nino is a Music Therapist, musician, conductor, and Registered Psychotherapist (RP). She is the leading lady of ADD Music Wellness, which offers a wide variety of clinical music therapy services and wellness programs throughout Southern Ontario. Amy is also the drummer of Dundas, ON-based Cootes Paradise, who have just released their self-titled debut album. 46 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 46