A Neurological Rationale for Music Therapy to Address Social Connectivity Among Individuals With Substance Use Disorders


The Arts in Psychotherapy






Millions of people in the United States seek treatment for substance use disorders (SUD) each year, highlighting the importance of effective treatments for this social dilemma. SUD are characterized by long-term neurological changes and continued consumption of substances despite negative consequences. We conducted a narrative review of research highlighting the intersections between addictive substances and SUD, social connectivity, and music interventions. We found that addiction, social connectivity, and music interventions all affect the mesocorticolimbic pathway and endogenous opioid system. However, there remains a dearth of published empirical literature providing a rationale for music therapy to address social connectivity as a primary clinical objective among people with SUD. Based on our review, we developed a neurologically-informed model of music therapy for social connectivity among people with SUD. Implications for clinical practice, limitations, and suggestions for future research are provided. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Music and Health Institute Terms

Engagement Level; Music Listening; Music Medicine; Psychological Outcomes; Recorded Music Listening; Substance Use, Abuse and Addiction

Study Type

Editorials, Opinions, Position Papers


Substance Abuse and Addiction

Document Type