Mental Health

Music As Medicine: Potential Cure For PTSD In Military, ADHD

Perhaps, you've found that exercising or cleaning the house is much easier when listening to catchy pop music? Or maybe the quality of reading and writing is higher when you have an orchestral instrumental playing in the background? It does appear to many of us that a certain soundtrack can ease the task at hand.

Music therapy has been proven to be effective in treating numerous medical disorders such as amnesia, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. The roots of music therapy can be traced back to the US Army, specifically in 1945 when music was used for reconditioning among recovering service members who were in Army hospitals.

"Music therapy is a dynamic treatment method for service members recovering from the invisible wounds of war," says Hannah Bronson, one of the authors of a new paper titled 'Music Therapy Treatment of Active Duty Military: An Overview of Intensive Outpatient and Longitudinal Care Programs'. Published in the journal Music Therapy Perspectives, the study highlights how music rebuilds damaged neural connections and aids the release of dopamine to help service members who suffer from traumatic brain injury and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

By significantly improving patient outcome and survival rates, music and other creative arts have become increasingly popular in recent years for the treatment of combat-related psychological injuries. Experts have also backed the power of rhythm in treating people with attention disorders. is an app that provides brain-stimulating music backed by scientific research and a patented AI engine. The software, in collaboration with music composers, offers different kinds of 'sessions' based on what listeners are looking for - Focus sessions, relaxation sessions or sleep sessions.

On 20 March 2018, the company announced that they have received a grant of $225,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). With recognition from the government, the company will conduct research to approve their Focus sessions as a therapeutic tool for those diagnosed with ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) or even those who don't meet the criteria but do suffer from inattention. 

In simple terms, ADDitude Magazine explains how music builds focus by providing a sense of structure to the mind. "Music is rhythm, rhythm is structure, and structure is soothing to an ADHD brain struggling to regulate itself to stay on a linear path," author Anni Layne Rodgers writes.

To investigate the link between brain oscillations and behavior, researchers from McGill University released a study based on audio entrainment, demonstrating how the brain's rhythmic activity could be manipulated to improve performance. The study titled 'Selective Entrainment of Theta Oscillations in the Dorsal Stream Causally Enhances Auditory Working Memory Performance' was published on 23 March 2017 in the scientific journal Cell.

This study is one among many from the science-backed research that is based on. The company expressed hope that the Focus sessions, which impact neural oscillations to aid sustained attention, could one day become a non-invasive replacement for ADHD medication.