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Music as Therapy for Depression and Mental Illness

            Music therapy is the art of using music to cope with symptoms of pain or to just make someone feel good during times of stress. It is defined as " a discipline whose professionals make use of clinical and evidence-based music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship" (7). Music has been shown to help those with mental diseases, help with pain and other physical symptoms, and can increase a baby's development.
             Music can help with many mental disorders, including Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease of the brain that can cause dementia, which can cause the person affected to lose their personality. Music is being used now to help cope with this crippling disease. According to www.alzfdn,org, "When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements" (6). This is because music needs no "mental processing," and the brain directly responds to the rhythmic cues that the patient hears (6). Alzheimer's disease does not seem to affect the patient being able to engage in music or singing because there is no cognitive function that is needed for success (6). It can be helpful if the patient has not heard the music before because they do not associate the music with any memories or emotions (6). This is good for teaching the patient new things such as relaxation or stress management (6). In late stage Alzheimer's, patients respond well to music they heard as a child (6). "Use music to create the mood you want. For example, a tranquil piece of music can help create a calm environment, while a faster paced song from someone's childhood may boost spirit and evoke happy memories" (8). This shows that music can be used as a tool for helping those with Alzheimer's by helping with mood, agitation, and stress.

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