Music Therapy with Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders


  • Victoria Policastro Vega Loyola University New Orleans



The purpose of this paper is to define addiction and co-occurring disorders, review the current music therapy literature with regard to techniques and treatment goals and finally to accentuate gaps in research for future investigation. Mental health practitioners have been becoming increasing more aware that persons with addiction disorders have a high incidence of co-occurring mental health disorders. The term “comorbidity” is defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) as a person who exhibits more than one disorder or illness concurrently or sequentially, one after the other (NIH, 2011). The most common music therapy techniques is music songwriting and music improvisation. Most goals focus on the domains of education, social, emotion and behavior. The music therapy literature contains only seven studies, four quantitative, one case study and one descriptive study.  With the exception of one study, the research reflects finding in an eight-year time span with the most recent study being 3 years old. Future research needs to be reported with persons with addiction and co-occurring disorders.


Author Biography

Victoria Policastro Vega, Loyola University New Orleans

Associate Dean

College of Music & Fine Arts


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