Study finds addition of music therapy can improve treatment for depression

The addition of music therapy can improve traditional depression treatments such as psychotherapy or medication, according to a research review published in the Cochrane Library.

Researchers gathered data from 421 people who participated in nine previously completed studies. The previously completed studies examined the benefits of music therapy by itself or music therapy integrated with traditional depression treatments.

The study found patients felt less depressed when music was added to their treatment routine. Music therapy also helped decrease anxiety levels and improve functioning in depressed patients.

Music therapy includes listening to music, playing an instrument, participating in a musical performance or a combination of these approaches.

"We can now be more confident that music therapy in fact improves patients' symptoms and functioning, and that this finding holds across a variety of settings, countries, types of patients and types of music therapy," said Christian Gold, PhD, senior study author researcher at Uni Research Health in Bergen, Norway.

"We still think that more research is needed," Dr. Gold told Reuters. "However, we feel that research on music therapy for depression can now turn to more specific questions, such as comparing different types of therapy to each other." 

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