Reducing Anxiety through Music Therapy at a Community Residential Alcohol and Drug withdrawal Unit
Anxiety is a main symptom of withdrawal from substances and can be detrimental to treatment. There is little evidence which supports the use of a particular therapeutic treatment in reducing the anxiety associated with withdrawal. This study aimed to reduce anxiety associated with withdrawal through participation in group music therapy for adults admitted to a community residential alcohol and drug withdrawal unit. A quasi-experimental design was adopted, using the self-report Subjective Units of Distress Scale (SUDS) to measure anxiety pre and post a single session. A total of 35 participants attended a one hour music therapy group session and contributed to data collection over ten sessions. A paired two-tailed t-test indicated a highly statistically significant difference (p = <0.0001) between the pre and post session scores, suggesting that music therapy significantly decreased anxiety for participants. The results of this study provide support for the future funding of music therapy programs in inpatient withdrawal settings and contributes to the limited evidence base supporting the use of music therapy for people with substance use disorders.