Music therapy helps with anxiety

(ORDO NEWS) — A study by psychologists from Ryerson University in Toronto (Canada) showed that a therapy that combines listening to music and auditory neurostimulation helps to effectively deal with somatic and cognitive anxiety.

In the last 20-30 years, anxiety and anxiety disorders have become much more common, especially among adolescents and young adults. They caused damage not only to the well-being and happy life of people, but also to the economy, in the case of the United States, demanding from 42.3 to 46.6 billion dollars.

The coronavirus pandemic has also contributed : American adults were three times more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders in the spring of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

There are many treatments for anxiety, including drugs selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines as well as cognitive strategies, behavioral therapy, and so on.

However, anti-anxiety drugs do not always work, and many patients experience unpleasant side effects such as sexual dysfunction. Other methods are not available everywhere, and sometimes people who are prone to anxiety do not respond to treatment.

Therefore, scientists continue to look for alternative approaches. One of them is listening to music, which can reduce anxiety.

According to some studies, it may even be more effective than taking sedatives like midazolam . This is probably due to neurochemical effects leading to increased levels of endogenous opioids and dopamine. In addition, music reduces cortisol levels and prevents its growth.

The authors of the new work tested how music works in combination with ABS ( auditory beat stimulation ) – a non-invasive neuromodulator technique in which sound waves are used to create combined tones, binaural or monoaural rhythms in alpha (8-13 hertz), beta (14 -30 hertz), theta (four to eight hertz), gamma (30 to 50 hertz), or delta (one to four hertz) frequency bands. Combined tone signals can be generated by superimposing two sine waves of adjacent frequencies.

The participants were 163 people taking anxiolytics ( tranquilizers ). They were randomly assigned to four groups, according to the treatment method: the first group – combined (music and ABS), the second – only music, the third.

ABS, the fourth – control (listening to pink noise, a combination of sound waves with an intensity that decreases with increase in frequency).

All subjects completed questionnaires about their musical preferences, the abbreviated Eysenck Personality Inventory, and individual versions of the Cognitive and Somatic Anxiety State Inventory.

Music for each person was selected using artificial intelligence LUCID, based on the preferences and emotional state of the patient.

Auditory neurostimulation involved combinations of tones played in one or both ears and triggering changes in brain activity. All three groups of volunteers downloaded a special application on their smartphones, closed their eyes and listened to a 24-minute session.

Music therapy helps with anxietyThe response of patients with somatic anxiety (A) and cognitive anxiety (B) to three treatments (control group is marked in pink)

Among participants with moderate levels of anxiety, those who listened to both music and ABS, or those who listened to music only, showed the greatest reductions in physical symptoms compared to controls.

Cognitive anxiety (associated with thoughts and feelings) was most attenuated, again, in volunteers with a moderate degree of this condition who listened to both music and ABS. For people with severe anxiety, the maximum effect was in the group that listened exclusively to music.

“One of the reasons for such a strong effect may be the choice of a slow tempo of music. Slow tempo music is associated with a decrease in breathing rate, heart rate, sweating, body temperature, and muscle tension.

Interestingly, we found no significant difference in the reduction of somatic anxiety between ABS and pink noise in participants with moderate personality anxiety. This can be explained by the fact that pink noise enhances relaxation and improves the quality of sleep, ”the authors of the work said.

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