Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a diagnosable mental health condition that is listed under the new category called Trauma- and Stressor- Related Disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It is characterized by “intrusive thoughts, nightmares and flashbacks of past traumatic events, avoidance of reminders of trauma, hypervigilance, and sleep disturbance, all of which lead to considerable social, occupational, and interpersonal dysfunction.” The Boston Children’s Hospital conducted a study that found sixty-one percent of young people (age 13 to 17) had been exposed to at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, and nineteen percent had experienced three or more traumatic events in their lifetime. There are a variety of treatment options for an adolescent struggling with PTSD. Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder generally requires a customized recovery plan for each teen that is comprised of one or more psychotherapeutic interventions.
Music therapy is an evidence-based therapy that, according to Cleveland Clinic, relies on “the clinical use of music to accomplish individualized goals such as reducing stress, improving mood and self-expression… [and] may include listening, singing, playing instruments, or composing music.” Rather than focusing on verbal articulation and communication, music therapy emphasizes listening to and creating music as a form of healing. Music therapy is administered by a board-certified music therapist. It may be conducted in an individual or group setting and can be used in conjunction with other therapeutic modalities or on its own. The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) illuminates various benefits of music therapy when used as a component of treatment for teenage PTSD, some of which include:
- Anxiety and stress reduction.
- Positive changes in mood and emotional states.
- Enhanced feelings of control, confidence, and empowerment.
- Positive physiological changes, such as lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate, and relaxed muscle tension.
- Emotional intimacy with peers, families, caregivers.
Music therapy provides an emotional release for traumatic instances. It helps to facilitate deep healing that is not contingent upon one’s ability to articulate verbally, which can not only promote long-term recovery but ultimately improve one’s mental health, emotional well-being, and quality of life.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.
Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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