The idea of music as a healing force is not new. The ancient Greeks put Apollo, one of their gods, in charge of both music and healing, suggesting that there has long been an understood connection between the two. There are many theories as to why music therapy works. Some studies support the idea that music helps the brain make new connections between nerve cells, and helps organize the firing of nerve cells in the part of the brain responsible for higher functions. Others look at the rhythms of music and feel that we respond to rhythmic repetition, much like our heart, breathing, and brain waves.
What can music therapy do?
The healing power of music is well-documented. It has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression, and also to lessen the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, autism, schizophrenia, and many other psychological disorders.
Additionally, music therapy has been found to improve motor function, communication skills, emotional stability, and the ability to focus. It is considered to be an evidence-based therapeutic approach to mental health treatment, and there are plenty of mainstream studies to back it up.
For example, according to the American Psychological Institute, music therapy should not be thought of as an “alternative therapy” due to the weight of clinical studies that can back the results. These studies prove that music therapy can help patients in the areas of physical health, emotional health, mental health, and also in a social manner.
How music therapy is applied
Depending on the diagnosis and the approach decided on by your therapist, music therapy might involve singing along to music or simply meditating and relaxing as you listen. Various exercises or movements might be performed with music as the catalyst, supporting outcomes that range from improving self-image to improving memory and physical coordination.
At Roots, music therapy not just something we offer, it is woven into the fiber of our program, with several groups a week tapping into the power of music and healing. David Hickman, a UCLA-trained Music Medicine Facilitator, provides a Drumming for Healing group, in which clients are able to use Native American and African drumming rhythms to communicate internal feelings, and support for the peer group. This extremely powerful group has become one of the cornerstones of our program.
Rock to Recovery, founded by veteran guitarist, Wes Geer, employs song writing, and performing and recording as a “band”, to focus on creating a sense of belonging and increasing self-esteem. “…It was when I was in treatment that I realized how much music could help [me] get through those tough emotions that run so rampant, especially in the early days. Being totally sober and dealing with the bottom I had hit, strumming the guitar was the only thing that would bring me peace,” says Geer. The group of professional musicians, who are also in recovery, brings fun into treatment and recovery by offering a natural escape from the fear-based mind.
Music therapy for pain
Music therapy has also proven helpful in managing pain. In one study, cancer patients were split into two groups; one group received talk therapy while the other received music therapy. In the talk therapy group, there was no noticeable reduction in pain, while the music therapy group showed a “statistically significant reduction” in pain scores.
The findings supported the theory that music therapy is a safe and nonpharmacological alternative to pain reduction, even in cases of severe and chronic pain.
Music therapy for depression and anxiety
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy can help patients with a wide range of psychosocial needs. In cases where patients are resistant to other treatments, it has enabled them to develop relationships, communicate emotions, and express ideas that they may not be able to address with words alone.
The stimulation that music provides tends to provoke responses that stem from familiarity, comfort, and feelings of security associated with the music itself.
Drum circle set up for the Drumming for Healing group with David Hickman.
Other mental health outcomes that have been observed through music therapy include:
Improved personal relationships
Decrease in anxiety/phobias
Increase in verbalization
Safe emotional release
Reduction in muscle tension
In conclusion, music therapy can be highly beneficial in addressing a range of disorders. It is a safe and evidence-based practice that is effective when integrated into a multidisciplinary approach and supporting other modes of healing therapy like yoga, nutrition, and art therapy.
If you would like to learn more about whether music therapy might be right for you, reach out today to get started.
An Intensive Outpatient Program, also known as IOP, is indicated for a range of reasons, and recommended as the next step after a medically supervised detox, through recovery and beyond. Finding the right IOP in Long Beach is key to success.
For those of us in recovery, IOP helps to maintain a routine. It allows you to continue your therapies on a schedule that, while intensive, is designed to re-integrate, and accommodate a return to normal life, family, and work. When you attend IOP in Long Beach, you will be living in a sober living, or at home with your loved ones and able to start mending your relationships as you participate in treatment on an outpatient basis.
Keeping your progress on track
When you are in a detox or inpatient program recovering from alcohol or another addiction, you are in a safe place where every doctor, nurse, therapist, and counselor is focused on your recovery. Once you have completed a successful detox, you may remain in inpatient rehab, or you could be discharged from the program.
You’re then left with a decision: continue treatment in an outpatient program in Long Beach, or go home?
Going home, while it sounds like exactly what you want to do, is rife with challenges. Unless you are so far removed from the people, situations, and circumstances that you used in, there is a very good chance that you will relapse. Statistically, for individuals recovering from a detox who do not access follow-up care, only 20 percent will remain sober.
How an IOP helps you stay clean and sober
Maintaining your sobriety will be most difficult in the early days, weeks, and months. Sticking to a routine is essential, as is learning healthy ways to spend your time so you don’t get bored, stressed, or depressed enough to drink or use.
You may feel much better than you did before and directly after detox, but your system and your emotional strength are weakened. In any case, “going it alone” is not recommended. While an IOP in Long Beach won’t take care of all your problems, it will help you stay on track with your recovery and give you a safe, non-judgmental place to continue working on what you started at inpatient, and work through challenges with a supportive team.
What happens in IOP?
IOP programs in Long Beach are like inpatient programs in many ways. You will participate in groups, you will see your therapist and doctor regularly, and you will attend support groups outside of treatment, such as 12-step meetings or SMART Recovery.
There will be one-on-one therapy sessions and group therapy sessions. You will attend educational sessions where you will learn coping techniques, relationship strategies, and work with your case manager to help you address legal, financial or family issues, and help set you up for success as you transition back to your daily routine.
We may also be able to refer you to housing programs or help you get back into school. While in IOP, you will have access to a range of supports that can help you rebuild your life.
Ultimately, the more support you have to help you face the challenges of everyday life, the better chance you have of maintaining your sobriety over the long-term. We want you to succeed, and we will give you all the tools you need to do so.
Recovery from drug and alcohol dependency is never easy, and no one treatment is going to be appropriate for every patient. For this reason, we take an individual approach to each case to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to immediate needs and designed to bring about the best possible results.
Medication-assisted treatment Long Beach
Medication-assisted treatment, also known as MAT, is just one of a combination of approaches we use in our Long Beach, California Center. To get past the most challenging stages of detox and recovery from opiates/opioids, benzos, and alcohol addiction, medication is very helpful in providing additional support when needed.
Though we advocate complete abstinence and always work toward that goal, responsible use of medications can make a significant difference in recovery. All medications are strictly controlled, monitored, and administered by our doctors to ensure that it is helping and not contributing to difficulties in other areas of treatment.
As a component of a recovery program, MAT is combined with intensive therapy, behavior-based therapy, group therapy, and family therapy, with the ultimate goal of abstinence as soon as the patient is ready.
Types of medication-assisted therapy
There are several types of medications that have been approved for use in MAT. In determining a course of treatment, we take a whole-person approach to ensure that every aspect of recovery is addressed appropriately.
MAT for opioid and alcohol addiction
Opioid MAT can include drugs such as methadone, suboxone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone, but they all work a little differently.
For example, methadone is a synthetic opioid that has long been used as a frontline intervention in treating opioid addiction. The dose is then gradually tapered until there is no physical dependency. Today, methadone is no longer a preferred therapy in opioid treatment as many patients find it as difficult to stop using it as they do the opiates they were addicted to in the first place.
Suboxone or naltrexone are often preferred in MAT as they relieve the symptoms of withdrawal but do not produce the same euphoria that the patient was getting from the drug of choice. This has been found to reduce the risk of relapse, and it helps the patient take full advantage of the therapy they will receive in recovery. Naltrexone is effective in blocking the sedative and euphoric effects of opioid intoxication. Naltrexone has also been effective in MAT for alcohol dependency.
Suboxone is a combination of naltrexone and buprenorphine. While both of these substances inhibit the “high” addicts experience from opioids and alcohol, they still can cause physical dependency. As a result, it is important for us to monitor their use to be sure they are supporting, rather than hindering, recovery.
Accessing medication-assisted treatment in Long Beach
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, we encourage you to reach out right away. Along with providing comprehensive counseling, individualized therapy programs, and medication-assisted treatment, we are committed to helping you find hope as you regain control of your life.
Addiction is an issue faced by many people. Addiction does not have prejudice; it can affect people of any age, any race, any walk of like. It doesn’t have a preference for age or gender. It doesn’t care where you live. Once it has taken hold of your life, you may find that your choices are no longer your own. Fortunately, addiction treatment in Long Beach is available at Roots Through Recovery.
Addiction treatment in Long Beach is within reach
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, seeking out treatment is essential. At our Long Beach treatment center, we take a holistic approach to every case, applying a multi-disciplinary focus to target the underlying cause while treating the symptoms appropriately.
Our team understands the nature of addiction. We genuinely care about our patients and take an individual approach to each case because we know that no two people are experiencing precisely the same issues. Our singular goal is to help you get your life back, free you from your addiction, and help you find happiness.
Treating the whole person
Our treatment programs are based on treating the whole person, not just the underlying addiction. In many cases, there are co-occurring issues that have either led to the addiction or exacerbate the situation. Without treating these aspects, we would only be masking the problem, making recovery much more difficult.
While many addiction programs focus strongly on detox and only provide support for the first two or three months beyond that, we have found greater success when extending treatment for an indeterminate period.
Recovery is an ongoing process
Returning to normal life and sober living is often difficult, especially when the addiction has taken up the better part of your life. For this reason, our addiction treatment doesn’t stop at three months or even six months. The challenges may last a lifetime, and it is our goal to give you the tools and intervention strategies you need to stay the course and never have to return to that dark place.
Everybody is different
How we approach your recovery depends on you, your situation, and your goals. Some of our patients are re-entering life from incarceration, and some need to mend a lot of broken fences on the road back to their family and friends. Some are mature, some are very young, but each has their own set of challenges as well as hopes and dreams for the future.
Ultimately, we want to ensure you achieve the freedom from addiction you seek. It may not always be easy, but the rewards are so great. Through it all, our doctors, counselors, therapists, and alumni will be here to support your success, every step of the way.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, it is critical that you seek help as soon as possible. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help.
Throughout time, employees struggling with addiction and other mental health issues have been unfairly targeted and mistreated by employers. But as the discussion around these issues becomes more informed and industries understand it is not a sign of weakness or a moral flaw, employers, unions, and other work-based resources like EAPs are becoming more commonly available both in the U.S. and around the world. Aside from creating a supportive and nurturing workplace that bodes well to productivity, employers have a responsibility to provide services to those who are struggling with these issues.
Employee Assistance Programs
The rise of Employee Assistance Programs, or EAPs for short, has spread across federal, state, and local government jobs and is now more commonly available in the private sector. Although they’re not new in concept, modern EAPs are now more focused on employees’ health and mental wellbeing than ever before, and they’ve come a long way from simply sending a worker to a quick psychological assessment before bringing them back into the field.
In addition to the family and workplace counseling they’re often known to provide, EAPs sometimes cover short-term and outpatient treatment for issues ranging from substance abuse and addiction to anxiety and trauma. Although their roles are still technically to assist in resolving issues that are affecting the employees’ ability to work, they’ve come a long way from the days in which employers believed that their workers would be able to leave their “personal issues” at home.
Many EAPs help organize health fairs, implement wellness programs to improve employee self-care, and educate their employees about their rights through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Family Medical Leave of Absence (FMLA). The management of EAPs varies from business to business, but many EAP professionals are Licensed Clinical Social Workers or have a background in counseling. Their experience and primary role make them a valuable resource for anyone struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues.
In addition to EAPs, some of the largest proponents of improved mental health and appropriate treatment for the workforce have been labor unions. Seeing as it is within their realm of responsibility to take care of their members, unions have started to make a shift from sweeping these issues under the rug to bringing them to the forefront. Like the EAPs, many unions now have drug and alcohol programs, and many even offer peer advocacy programs to educate their members about common addiction and mental health issues along with helping to identify and find appropriate treatment.
In the Long Beach area, for example, the ILWU-PMA offers the Alcohol and Drug Recovery Program, or ADRP. The ADRP provides its members with counseling and resources to help them find treatment and support them throughout the recovery process. ILWU members, many of whom find themselves injured in the workplace and develop a dependence on prescription pills, or are struggling with other issues, have found the ADRP program to be extremely supportive and beneficial for them as they go through treatment.
At Roots Through Recovery, we understand the challenges that addiction and mental health issues can create in one’s life, both personally and professionally. That’s why one of our goals is to help people get their lives back on track, regardless of what their journey has been thus far. We regularly work with EAPs and unions to help them provide better care for their employees, and we are encouraged by the current trend of incorporating more whole-person wellness programs in the workplace.
Although not every employer or industry is required to offer coverage for substance abuse and other mental health issues, it can certainly be worth investigating what options and benefits are available to you should you decide to explore support beyond what is offered by your employer.
In 2015, Michael Botticelli, the director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy stated:
“Medication-assisted treatment saves lives while increasing the chances a person will remain in treatment and learn the skills and build the networks necessary for long-term recovery.”
So why is it that the use of medication-assisted treatment remains staggering and access is limited for those who need it?
When it comes to medication-assisted treatment, there is a whole host of misinformation and confusion surrounding its use and purpose, which leaves it rejected or ignored by the vast majority of treatment centers. Medication-assisted treatment is the use of legal, FDA-approved medications in combination with counseling and behavioral services provided by treatment professionals and family and peer support (Source: SAMHSA).
But for those who don’t understand the benefits or its place in treatment, it can seem simply as replacing one drug with another. Of course, that’s not the case for any accredited medication-assisted treatment programs, which is often the best option for some people looking to achieve long-term sobriety.
Here are a few of the debunked myths surrounding medication-assisted treatment.
MYTH: If you take medications like Suboxone, you aren’t really sober.
TRUTH: While it’s true that opioid replacements, such as Suboxone which contains Buprenorphine and Naloxone, act on the same receptors as heroin or an opioid, the medication attaches to these receptors but does not activate them, and also blocks other opioids from these receptors. The combination of these two mechanisms helps control cravings in a person who is physically dependent on opiates without getting the person high.
MYTH: Medication-assisted treatment is for people who aren’t serious about their recovery.
TRUTH: In certain cases, even the most intensive counseling and behavioral treatments just aren’t enough to achieve sobriety and prevent relapses in the future. For these situations—particularly when opioids or severe alcohol use is involved—using medication-assisted treatment to neutralize the physiological effects may help someone attain this critical first step of recovery, allowing them to focus on the underlying issues and move forward in their recovery.
MYTH: It’s always better to just get people off of all drugs.
TRUTH: Although going “cold turkey” and just outright stopping the use of any substances is the ideal scenario for many, using medication-assisted treatment to ease the body away from its previous addiction can be both easier and medically necessary in some situations. “Ripping the bandage off” may seem preferable at the time, but it can also lead to complications, permanent damage, and even death if a person’s health is too fragile to handle the severity of the physiological repercussions.
MYTH: Medication-assisted treatment is just taking the easy way out.
TRUTH: If one accepts that addiction is a chronic disease, like diabetes or hypertension, then the use of medication should be understood to be a critical component of treatment in some cases. Like hypertension, if someone is able to address their condition by changing their lifestyle, such as their diet and physical activity, that is ideal; however, for some, that isn’t enough. We wouldn’t shame someone with hypertension for taking Beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors, and addiction should be treated with the same understanding and compassion.
MYTH: People using medication-assisted treatment are less likely to stay sober.
TRUTH: When utilized correctly, medication-assisted treatment carries with it lower risk, and higher probability of success than solely doing counseling and behavioral services for many people looking to address their addiction, stay in treatment, and remain sober for the long-term. One study found that patients who were still on an opioid agonist 18 months post-treatment, were twice as likely to be sober from opioid pain killers than those who were not (80% versus 36.6%).
Figure Below. Abstinence Rate Exceeds 60 Percent in Long-Term Follow-Up of Medication-Assisted Therapy for Dependence on Opioid Pain Relievers Dependence on pain relievers dropped below 20 percent at 18 months, and below 10 percent at 42 months, after patients were stabilized on, and then tapered off, Bp/Nx. At all three follow-up points, patients who were currently engaged in opioid agonist therapy had markedly higher odds of positive outcomes. (Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse)
Like any form of treatment, medication-assisted treatment isn’t for everyone, and the decision to start these medications is made after consultation with a treatment team, and a thorough assessment is completed. If you’ve struggled with relapse and traditional treatment hasn’t worked for you, contact Roots Through Recovery or another certified provider to consult on whether it would be an appropriate course of action.