Music Affects Traumatic Brain Injuries
Music is able to help the military and veterans overcome different scenarios that they have witnessed in their time of serving. It can help calm children, as they are getting ready for rest time, it helps calm their bodies. Also, it helps people that have Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), they also receive several benefits from music therapy. Also, it can help college students as they are cramming for a final.
Music Therapy Helping Veterans
So, what is music therapy? The American Music Therapy Association defines music therapy as that it is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional. This definition may sound unclear, but to put it into better terms, music therapy is just using music to help people mentally and emotionally make it through complications in their lives. As mentioned before, music therapy can help the military and veterans through tough times. We all know that the military go through some hard and difficult times when they are serving. It is even harder for them to recuperate whenever they come back from war. When they come back, not only listening to music, but also playing music can help them get through the hard memories and they are able to recover from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD. Staff Sergeant Paul Delacerda came back from Iraq with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a Traumatic Brain Injury which caused him to have anxiety, loss of sleep and muscle pain.
Paul Delacerda’s Case
Before Delacerda went to war he knew how to play the drums, but when he came back, he had forgotten how. As he was relearning how to play the drums, he did not only enjoy it, but it was therapeutic for him. Delacerda said, “Music was what drove me to where I’m at today. Actually, it’s the reason I’m still around.” Music and relearning how to play again helped him get through his PTSD and TBI. According to the American Association of Music Therapy, music helps to improve motor, language, and social skills, it creates better balance, helps with managing stress and pain, and with breathing support. The impact of music therapy on the military and veterans has become more familiar over the past couple of years. Paul Delacerda started a music therapy charity for wounded veterans in Houston so he can show other veterans how music can help them just like it helped him. Veterans can come to Houston and they can do almost anything. Anywhere from playing music to managing a band.
Improving Mental Health in Traumatic Brain Injury Cases
Music does not only help our military and veterans, but it also helps those with a Traumatic Brain Injury. People with a Traumatic Brain Injury suffer from having disabilities in the physical, mental and social parts of their everyday lives. Even though music therapists and researchers still have a long way to go, music therapy is still able to help them significantly, and it is still able to make a difference in their lives. According to Dr. Shantala Hegde of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, “music therapy helps with all three areas that people with traumatic brain injuries have trouble with. Music therapy helps to rehabilitate sensorimotor functioning which involves mobility, strength, and coordination. It also helps develop speech and language functioning. Cognitive functioning, which involves attention span, memory, and psychological skills, is also improved by music therapy.” After considering this, I wondered how does music helps with the development of their sensorimotor, speech and cognitive functioning. Music helps these three functions by the different pitches and rhythms in music, these involve attentional networks and executive functions, when put together. Music is proven to involve all cognitive processes. In Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI’s it is shown that when listening to music, the whole brain lights up.
Effect of Music on Stressed Students
After viewing how music helps veterans and people that are suffering from a traumatic brain injury, college students also benefit from music. Even listening to music for a short period of time, helps reduce stress in students. There are positive effects on students that listen to music for a short period, as little as six minutes. In this short time frame of listening to music, serum hormone levels are lowered and stress can be reduced according to studies done by Rico Mockel, a scientist at the Institute of Neuroinformatics. For both college students and high school students, who are stressed every day, listening to music is a seamless way to relieve stress. It is also one less stress because it is free, and accessible to almost all of us. When I listen to instrumentals, it helps me feel more relaxed and less stressed. Music does not only help college and high school students, but also those in stress. There was a study done by colleagues of the School of Kinesiology on rats that had increased corticosterone levels. This is a chemical that causes stress, then the rats were exposed to music. Once the rats heard the music, their levels of corticosterone went back down to normal. If it helped lower the rats’ corticosterone levels; just think how much it can help a college or high school student, or anyone with high stress levels.
Conclusion: Benefits of Music
Music therapy, or even just listening to music can have positive effects on the mind and body. While listening to music, we now know that it helps veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, people who suffer with Traumatic Brain Injuries, and how it helps them improve their everyday functions. We also know now how it can help college and high school students reduce stress levels and just people in general. So, the next time that you are listening to music, whether that be when you are getting ready, in the car, or having a study session, just remember how much music can really do.