Researchers have found that music therapy is a useful tool in treating people who are suffering from depression.
Experts believe music can help people to express their emotions and it also has a soothing affect on those living with depression.
A study found that people who were given a course of music therapy had fewer signs of depression at the end of the programme than those who received standard treatments.
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Seventy-nine patients were studied as part of the research. All were given ‘normal’ therapy treatments consisting of counselling, psychotherapy and medication, but 33 had 20 additional sessions with a qualified music therapist.
After three months worth of music sessions the patients had significantly improved scores in anxiety and depression.
However, it appears that music therapy acts as only a short-term treatment for depression, as there were no noticeable differences between the two sets of patients after six months.
The study was carried out at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. One of the researchers, Professor Christian Gold, said: “Our trial has shown that music therapy, when added to standard care helps people to improve their levels of depression and anxiety.
“Music therapy has specific qualities that allow people to express themselves and interact in a non-verbal way, even in situations when they cannot find the words to describe their inner experiences.”
Meanwhile, Dr Mike Crawford, a mental health specialist from Imperial College London, commented: “This is a high-quality randomised trial of music therapy specifically for depression and the results suggest it can improve the mood and general functioning of people with depression.”
He added: “Music-making is social, pleasurable and meaningful. It has been argued that music making engages people in ways that words may simply not be able to.”
The results of the research have been published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.