Treating Addiction With Tunes: A Systematic Review of Music Therapy for the Treatment of Patients With Addictions

Kara L. Mays
David L. Clark
Adam J. Gordon


Music therapy is the use of musical interventions in a therapeutic setting to accomplish health-related goals. Descriptions of music therapy exist in the peer-reviewed literature and indicate potential use of music therapy in treatment of patients with addiction disorders. This systematic review describes and compares the types of music therapy demonstrated in the literature and evaluates the evidence that music therapy improves outcomes of patients with addictions. A search and critical review of all the existing published literature on music therapy for the treatment of addictions was conducted using online databases and secondary search strategies. Few studies quantitatively assess the use of music therapy in the treatment of patients with addictions. Music listening provided by music therapists is commonly studied. Music therapy sessions reported were additive, not independent, treatment modalities. In the literature, no consensus exists regarding of the efficacy of music therapy as treatment for patients with addictions.