Music Therapy Is Legit

I am delighted to have attended the 2018 Music Therapy Conference at Capilano University. Not many people understand how we, music therapists, can assist clients through music therapy. Those who do not know of its essence laugh at our face and say, “Hey, you’re ripping us off!” But what is music therapy anyway? Can it help a person with his mental health?…

The Meaning Behind Rihanna’s Unfaithful 

Several songs can put down your souls and lift them up at the same time, and this song has that quality. The song “Unfaithful” is talking about a broken relationship where the girl is cheating on his guy even though she knows that the guy knows about this. In singing this song, Rihanna puts little voice cracks and high pitches that make it more dramatic. She did a fantastic job of interpreting the song. 

“We all know that both sexes are guilty of infidelity and that blame for a broken relationship is not the fault of a gender, but there are several aspects of male infidelity that are more attributable to men then women.” –Katrina Bilhimer, Ma, LMHC

The Hidden Power Of Music

You will agree with me that everyone loves music regardless of race, color, age or gender. One can be observed playing music while driving a car, taking a bath, doing office work and even when sleeping. Music is such a common language that everyone can relate to but will depend on the personal preference of an individual on its genre, singer or words being portrayed by a song. Because of this, singers became one of the highest-paid professions in the world. Do we ask ourselves, “Why is everyone hooked to music?” Does it affect our life or just a plain vice that everyone tends to abuse?…

Depression And Addictions

Behaviors necessitate therapy or counseling, especially those that ruin relationships.


It is imperative that a treatment plan must start once depression has something to do with the person’s behaviors. Let’s learn more about depression and addiction.

Depression symptoms can differ from person to person. However, common symptoms may include : hopelessness feelings of guilt, lack of interest in activities, changes in appetite and sleep, lack of concentration, suicidal thoughts, physical aches and pain, feeling agitated, less physical activity.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression associated with variations of light. People with this type of depression may experience anxiety, mood changes, overeating and sleep problems.


Addiction And Depression

Statistics reveal that 20% of Americans are suffering from several mental health conditions simultaneously. “Depression is exhausting to the person suffering from it. Just accomplishing the bare minimum can seem like too much work.” As Kurt Smith, Psy.D., LMFT, LPCC, AFC explains.

There are numerous valid treatment plans available and utilized to treat and overcome it.

There has been some debate about whether treating severe depression solves depression and addiction, or vice versa.

In this article, the author presents treatments available today. These modalities are grounded on theories that can assist in the recovery of a person with depressive states.

Methods and techniques in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders are used in conjunction with other treatment modalities. A synergistic effect of holistic control of the state has a favorable prognosis.

Depression treatment may take time while depression is treatable , treatments like medication and therapy may take time to work.

Addiction And Depression

Cognitive Therapy for Addiction and Depression

Hannah Goodman, LMHC explains that

“Cognitive behavioral therapy, often shortened to CBT, focuses on recognizing negative thought patterns, changing thoughts, behaviors, and feelings through concrete skills.”

Cognitive treatment will aid in changing negative emotions into neutral or positive thoughts. Beliefs associated are unrealistic standards and expectations for themselves or projected to the world, hopelessness, self-criticism, and pessimism. Cognitive therapy also helps in prioritizing essential issues.


Counseling is linked to interpersonal relationships especially social interaction and family dynamics.

Depression therapy focuses on understanding people’s reactions to social situations and if the cause of mental illness points out interpersonal behaviors.

Addiction And Depression

The interpersonal theory identifies four underlying issues of co occurring depression and co occurring addiction in social cases. Read And Understand these issues.

  • Role disputes. The discrepancy in expectations involving personal relationships can be one of the causes.
  • Role transitions. It can surface during the depressing transition and role changes especially if the person is not responding well to the change.
  • Interpersonal deficits. The Inability to maintain quality relationships and become depressed due to poor social support, poor relationships, etc.
  • Unresolved grief. Delayed or inability to grieve for the bereaved, negative feelings will appear later.

According to Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC

“Good psychotherapy is an amazing tool because a skilled therapist can help you discover and learn things that will help you lead a happier, healthier life.”

What Do Mental Health Professionals Say?

It is commonly used in the treatment of mental illnesses like depression and substance abuse. The addiction treatment and substance use disorder therapist aims to reach the core reason for substance abuse or drug abuse. All the aspects of an individual’s life are disclosed and discussed with a counselor when treating depression, drug or alcohol abuse disorder, and other mental disorders related to substance use disorder. Sharing your depression and substance abuse treatment story will forge your trust and comfort in dealing with and understanding depression with your substance use disorder therapists.

Researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have found a strong correlation between severe alcohol abuse and depression. Treatment for co-occurring depression and substance abuse people with untreated mental health disorders often turn to substance abuse to self-medicate against negative symptoms. However, drugs and alcohol often worsen symptoms of depression and create additional health problems.


Addiction And Depression Therapy

This technique emphasizes altering the individual’s common symptoms of depression. “In cognitive behavioral therapy, we pay attention to how thoughts and behaviors impact emotions. This means our emotions do not just appear in response to a situation. Rather, emotions are the result of how we think and how we act.” Sarah Rumpf, MA, LPCC said. The clinical depression theory focuses on the idea that a person has a depressed mood and is addicted due to his/her alcohol abuse, self-medication, emotional pain, etc. The mental health services administration therapist will aid the individual in making necessary changes in behavior; equipping both depression and addiction treatment with ways to control and change feelings of sadness.

This method works for some people, but it doesn’t fix the root cause. Examples of behavioral therapy are:

  • Role-playing for developing depression-fighting skills.
  • Reward system to encourage positive change in people suffering from suicidal intentions.
  • Develop other activities to alter seasonal affective disorder
  • Self-monitoring
  • Outpatient or inpatient treatment

Depression And Addictions

Commitment to major depression and co-occurring substance use disorders recovery is still the key factor to reaching the recovery stage in mental health issues. Especially in persons with a dual diagnosis of depressive addiction, self-commitment to change and take steps to behavior modification allows for a faster and more comfortable recovery. If one causes the other, take time to examine your emotions thoroughly and consult a professional online therapy treatment provider or health care providers to help and guide you through addiction and depression, and substance abuse disorder.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the connection between addiction and depression?
  2. Why are some people inclined to be depressed or addicted?
  3. Do drugs and alcohol abuse usually lead to depressive behaviors?
  4. What are some risk factors of drug addiction?
  5. Is depression genetic?
  6. How does substance abuse impact family dynamics?
  7. What comes first depression or substance abuse?
  8. What drugs can cause depression?
  9. Do drugs help with depression?
  10. What is the first stage of the addiction cycle?


Psychiatry: Myths About Substance Abuse Addiction

Substance addiction in any form is often difficult for the person, family, and friends. Everyone is trying to give advice and recommendation on how to curb the addiction. Some even go as far as attributing the addiction to supernatural causes, but these are done out of concern and good intention. However, like any other mental illness, addiction also harbors the right amount of myths that are widely believed by the general public. Here are some of the most common myths about substance abuse:  

How A Particular Song Saved Me



All of us have very different opinions as to how music affects us. However, for me, things are way a little closer to perfection. I always love music as a kid, and until now on my 20’s, I still make sure that I associate my everyday duties with the songs I like. But that is not going to be the topic of this article. Since a lot of people don’t know how music works in rough times, let me share how it changed my life. Because as Daniel J. Levitin, PhD used to say, “While music has long been recognized as an effective form of therapy to provide an outlet for emotions, the notion of using song, sound frequencies and rhythm to treat physical ailments is a relatively new domain.”

The Mental Health Battle



Things in my life are pretty much standard. Honestly, I can’t complain because there is nothing to complain about either. I have my family that supports my small and huge life decisions. I hang out with good influence friends. Happy individuals in our community also surround me. With that, there is nothing I can elaborate more. However, though I get encircled with great people, I experienced a strange chill inside. I am not happy and contented with things. I once thought it was something usual because it sometimes goes away and then comes back and goes away again. I didn’t pay enough caution to the mental health side because I am entirely sure there is nothing to worry on the physical state. But then, I was wrong. I get diagnosed with major clinical depression, and it was worse. It is like what Lillian Harris LCPC-C used to explain when she wrote, “So much of mental health work is about giving people a space to be witnessed and held while sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of human life.”

My mental illness got intense, and it tried to make me do things I know I am not supposed to do. I attempted to commit suicide. Note that “Not all people who have thoughts of suicide end up acting on those thoughts. But for those who do, generally there is deep emotional pain combined with a belief that things will never improve.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC said. And I consider myself part of that. I pretty much hate everything about life at that time. But then one particular moment, as I was in my room having thoughts on how to end my life, I heard a song. It was entitled “Welcome To My Life” by Simple Plan. The first few lines hit me hard, so I began listening to the whole song. The message was very devastating and relatable that I started crying. The song made me feel more helpless and unworthy. It made me realize that my life sucked. Due to the message it delivered to me, I listened to it again and again. I began to internalize and feel it more deeply. Of course, every line of it hurt my feelings over and over again. But it didn’t stop me because I felt happy emotionally hurting myself.

I Am Saved



With all the frustrations I am having that moment, I suddenly came to reality. I noticed I no longer feel burdened by something. Is it because I cried my heart out? Well, it doesn’t matter. After one whole day of listening to that song, I realized one thing. My life should be in my control, and my mental illness shouldn’t mess with it. With that moment, I started listening to songs that are hurtful and damaging. And it is meaningful that it didn’t negatively affect me. Instead, listening to devastating music helped me understand the things I am going through with my life. It allows me to manage my emotions and work myself through emotional and mental healing. One thing I will never forget in this experience is to “Give yourself permission to do some serious emotional healing to become your happiest self and remember, it is a process more than a destination.” A reminder from Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD

Can Music Influence Your Life?



Honestly, there are no right words that can describe music’s influence in all aspects of people’s lives. All of them feel the same way where they cannot think of anything they have done that does not associate with any particular song. Regardless of whether the current mood is sad and worried, or happy and cheerful, some genres cater to its individuality. The music describes the different experiences people go through in their career path, family and friends, romantic relationship, social interaction, and inner-self battle.

How People See It

Most of the times, people relate to music because they use it as an escape to reality. But “While music has long been recognized as an effective form of therapy to provide an outlet for emotions, the notion of using song, sound frequencies and rhythm to treat physical ailments is a relatively new domain.” That is according to Daniel J. Levitin, PhD. That is where any time people are in a bad mood; they create a new circle around them that represents their current emotions. Music becomes their fortress in keeping themselves sane and aware. It brings back people to themselves whenever they tend to forget how to respond to the harshness of the world.



For some, music is an outlet. It is a tool that allows people to express themselves in any way. It is their method of showing that even the emotional and mental states can become visible in some form. That is the reason why even if music often starts as an art; it usually ends as a tool for self-expression. It caters people’s need in telling others about their thoughts and ideas, as well as how they genuinely feel.

In some unfortunate cases, music is the people’s road to healing. “It is a healing process that allows people to not only start feeling better but gain insight, awareness, and ultimately begin trusting their intuition and experience.”  Dr. Mitch Keil, a clinical psychologist said. The creation and composition of its lyrics, rhythm, tempo, and beat significantly change people’s mindfulness. There are times that it takes individuals in a journey where a complete association of truth and reality collide. Music helps people see without looking and hear without listening.

Some individuals find music as a source of their energy booster. Music is their life’s turn-on button. These individuals cannot live and function without it. Some of these people listen to music anywhere and anytime. That includes when driving, taking a shower, exercising, doing household chores, and so on.

With all the different genres nowadays, people can have their favorite. There is mellow, rock, alternative, jazz, pop, instrumental, etc. Due to its broad category, it reaches and influences a lot of individuals. It makes them enjoy music even more. Because not only they get to learn things about their specific choice, they can also have a chance to understand other types of music as well.



Another influence of music on people’s lives is its potential to bring them all together. Music has the power to create a single goal for every individual. It unites people. It allows understanding with the help of its clear message in its every lyric. People see it as an instrument of peace and harmony.

Every individual can agree that music impacts their lives. “Music has such a large impact on our lives! It crosses cultures, age groups and has an effect on everyone. It can make you smile, dance, sing, cry, instantly recall memories like they were yesterday and process emotion.”  Abigail Saneholtz, Psy.D said. Yes, it might be in different ways. Depending on the mood and situation, the music fits perfectly in every one of them.…