Adding music therapy to depression treatment improves outcomes

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Adding music therapy to conventional depression treatments could improve patient outcomes, according to a study published in Cochrane Library.

Individuals suffering from depression experience low interest and pleasure in daily life, but researchers believe music therapy could regulate moods and emotions in depressed patients. In this study, researchers examined the effect music therapy had on patients by comparing results with treatment as usual (TAU).

Data were collected from a variety of databases which included information on 421 patients from nine previous studies examining the effect of music therapy by itself or integrated with TAU. Results showed music therapy alone was able to improve short-term benefits and decrease anxiety. When music therapy was added to TAU, patients experienced a reduction in depressive symptoms.

“Future trials based on adequate design and larger samples of children and adolescents are needed to consolidate our findings,” conclude first author Sonja Aalbers of the University of Applied Sciences, Social Work and Arts Therapies. “Researchers should consider investigating mechanisms of music therapy for depression. It is important to clearly describe music therapy, TAU, the comparator condition, and the profession of the person who delivers the intervention, for reproducibility and comparison purposes.”